WLSB computerization project moves forward with integrated approach
“Our fully integrated computerization project is moving forward,” says Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) Director Leanne Correll. “We have released the request for proposals, and vendors will start their process of submitting proposals.”
The notion of computerizing the WLSB has been around for a number of years, since the late 80s according to several past board members.
In the beginning of computerizing the WLSB started with a piece-meal approach.
“We have moved past that and are now looking at it as a system approach that will provide functional data flow between units,” says Correll.
“The first money appropriated to the current computerization project was done with the money available on July 1, 2011,” she says. “It was money that was appropriated for a piece-meal approach.”
“We have bits and pieces of our agency computerized, but they aren’t integrated,” adds Correll. “They don’t talk to each other right now.”
For example, records that are held in brand recording are not available in the animal health or brand inspections.
“Sometimes we have an address in five or six places,” she adds, noting that at the completion of the current integrated computerization project, records will be correlated and consistent across all segments of the board.
Correll notes that with a new governor and the information technology department, known as Enterprise Technology Systems, as well as support from the legislature, an additional appropriation was made available July 1, 2012 to begin pursuing an integrated system.
“Now, we have the support of the Governor, Enterprise Technology Services, our board and the agency,” she says. “We are in line to make this happen, and we are going to make it happen.”
Project goals and benefits
“There are multiple facets to getting an integrated system,” Correll explains. “We are going to be coming into the 21st century with our technology.”
As a result of agency computerization, the WLSB plans to be able to add online capabilities to their recording and applications. For instance, when the process is complete, brand renewal, in-state range permit applications and other materials would be able to submitted online.
“Right now, we have so much paper that we have to track,” says Correll. “We are trying to capture all that electronically and have the accessibility.”
In working to trace records or find information, the current WLSB system is inefficient and difficult, requiring manual sorting through pages of data.
“With an electronic system, we will be able to quickly retrieve information,” she adds. “It also helps us to improve our ability for traceability.”
The deadline for the request for proposals is April 5, and the next steps involve selecting a vendor and implementing the programs.
“We have a committee made up of the experts in each unit, board representatives and field staff that will evaluate the request for proposals,” explains Correll.
After a vendor is selected, Correll notes that they hope to start contract negotiations by May 10. They are currently looking at a July 1 date to start working with the vendor to implement the program.
“When the vendor comes in, they will have to do assessments as far as what we are currently doing, how that will be converted to a new system and how we will need to proceed,” explains Correll.
She notes that the vendor will work through each of the units to understand the needs and requirements of each branch of the WLSB.
“We have hired a project manager who will serve as our liaison to the vendor, making sure the best interests of our state and agency are fulfilled,” adds Correll.
While things are moving forward, Correll emphasizes that the project is not going to be done overnight.
“This is going to take a while,” she explains. “After they start working on one area, our users will have to do data checking and make sure it meets our needs. It is going to be a lengthy process.”
“It is really exciting that we are finally getting there after a lot of work by a lot of different people,” comments Correll.