With more than 69,000 square miles in the state, Oklahoma state employees have a lot of ground to cover to serve roughly 4 million residents. So, it's not surprising that agencies spend a fair bit of their budgets on travel. That's especially true for agencies like the Department of Human Services where employees must work in person with its clients.
Still, DHS and other agencies are utilizing technology to minimize travel and save taxpayer money while still effectively serving clients. DHS in particular has had success with their efforts as you'll see below, but first, an overall look at the state's travel spending.
What are colleges and universities spending on travel?
This bar graph shows the travel expenses among Higher Education agencies since 2015.
What are other agencies spending?
This bar graph illustrates the travel expenses of state agencies, excluding Higher Education since 2015.
Enterprise videoconferencing solution helps reduce travel costs for DHS
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services launched an IT Optimization initiative in July 2016 that uses a unified enterprise videoconferencing solution. The solution benefits statewide training, meetings and administrative court hearings by permitting DHS staff, Oklahoma judges and citizens to participate remotely. Since implementing the technology, DHS has operated with greater efficiency and effectiveness, saving time and money.
After successfully installing more than 50 locations throughout the state, not only are Child Support Services and DHS legal teams using the product for meetings, training and hearings, but Adult and Family Services and Child Welfare Services are scheduling training and meetings with the equipment as well.
The enterprise videoconferencing solution reduces the number of administrative judges needed at any given time, allowing them to focus resources elsewhere. Videoconferencing for meetings and training reduces staff travel time and the costs associated with mileage, per diem and lodging for DHS. Oklahoma citizens can use the technology to participate in administrative court hearings by attending from a PC or mobile phone from any location. Nearly one-third of all Oklahomans receive DHS services. The agency's primary focus is Oklahoma citizens in need and transforming the way business is done to emphasize greater efficiency for those citizens. The enterprise videoconferencing solution is a tool that supports this charge.