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DMV Head Details Modernization Progress

The California Department of Motor Vehicles continues working to improve service directly to residents as it simultaneously takes early steps on a larger, foundational IT update.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles – one of the state’s most visible entities to millions of residents – continues to progress on an IT modernization that is simultaneously updating public-facing transactions while preparing a large-scale rip-and-replace.

DMV has made a key contract award to empower its approaching large-scale IT modernization. The initiative is one of several that are underway, DMV Director Steve Gordon told Techwire recently, and the department will want to hear again from technology vendors next year in a Vendor Day event. Among the takeaways:

DMV Director Steve Gordon.
DMV Director Steve Gordon
  • DMV has awarded the first phase of the Digital eXperience Platform (DXP) contract to Deloitte as the systems integrator, “and to be based on an underlying Salesforce platform,” Gordon said. Ultimately, DXP will “update and replace software, hardware and programming languages for current legacy DMV core systems” in a multiyear project, according to a budget change proposal earlier this year. In DXP, officials will focus first on occupational licensing – an old system but also a smaller system, Gordon said, that will “allow us to get our feet wet on modernization and start reworking those processes.” He estimated the entire rip-and-replace is likely a three- to five-year project. The department is already underway on business process improvement, business process re-engineering and process mapping, the director said, describing other aspects as “kind of transactional and sort of mid-term stuff where we’re digitizing documents or we’re (doing) machine learning, machine vision and being able to extract data from various documents, getting things in digital form.” These, he said, are “strategies” that will enable customers to accomplish tasks remotely and let the department ingest data directly versus via data entry “a la 1960 or 1970.”
    “Those are the sorts of things that we have that are strategies, that until we get to a fully digital input and fully digital platform, we’re going to have to use as bridge strategies,” Gordon said.
  • The department hopes to go to pilot on the occupational licensing initiative in the spring or summer, the director said, calling it a “very, very fast first phase,” after which DMV will pivot to focus on vehicle registration – its largest source of income, with a roughly $8 billion revenue stream. The focus on occupational licensing, Gordon said, is intended to drive understanding of the creation process – “to see if we can get that working the way we want it to, get our teams to embrace the change. And, of course, make sure the platforms scale the way we expect them to scale, and make sure the systems' integrators and our team learn to work well together.”
  • COVID-19 has impacted the aggressiveness of DMV’s marketing of Real ID ahead of its May 3, 2023, adoption deadline. The federally securitized ID will be required to fly domestically and gain access to some federal facilities. More than 12 million Californians have Real ID, and officials believe that ultimately more than 70 percent of residents will be interested in getting one. The department, Gordon said, is being cautious about inviting residents to visit field offices during the pandemic, despite the ID’s final step currently requiring in-person document validations. Gordon said it’s likely that as more residents become vaccinated, DMV will be able to be “a bit more aggressive in inviting people to come in and meet the May 2023 deadline.”
  • Contracts with technology providers are intended, however, to assist DMV in meeting residents who want a Real ID or other services where they are. DMV recently spent $1 million with Avere Inc. for IT “technical and professional services” on Real ID document upload – enabling data extraction via AI and machine learning. This, the director, said, helps officials to continue to “refine the doc upload and doc recognition process,” as well as facilitating product management services. DMV spent $1 million with Verificient Technologies Inc. and will use its Proctor Track product to conduct remotely proctored exams and scale remote services. Proctor Track will enable officials to determine whether test-takers may be talking to others or using their cellphones during a test. The department spent $683,000 to retain Mergent Systems Inc. from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 for “Qmatic maintenance, repair and hosting services.” This, the director said, enables an expansion of “how we invite people in for service” – via remote check-ins to field office appointments, updates on places in line, as well as rescheduling appointments as needed. DMV is also in the process of acquiring a solution from Imprivata that will let field office agents achieve a single sign-on to multiple back-end systems via a new badge that “automatically authenticates them in multiple systems,” Gordon said. It’s similar to a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag and, per person, can save at least “a couple extra minutes” each hour that otherwise would be spent logging in.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.