2022 Biennial Performance Report

Advancing the Next Generation of Technology in Texas

Agency Highlights

Goal 1: Secure IT Service Delivery

The following examples of agency accomplishments demonstrate how implementing a cloud security strategy, a zero-trust environment, and regional approaches to security services and incident response enable the public sector to keep Texans’ sensitive information and data secure.
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) – Cloud Security Strategy
The THECB security team established a robust and reliable cloud security strategy to protect the privacy and security of confidential data pertaining to higher education. The strategy consists of three main work streams including developing a roadmap with actionable steps toward zero-trust security, enhancing security modernization by migrating to a secure cloud platform, and adopting a cloud-native security information and event management solution.
Texas Department of Banking (DOB) – Zero-Trust Implementation
In December of 2020, DOB implemented cloud services in a zero-trust environment for all utility, file, and virtual private network (VPN) services. Zero-trust is a cybersecurity paradigm that focuses on users, data, and assets, rather than a network or perimeter-based approach. Establishing a zero-trust environment has strengthened the agency’s security posture and resulted in improved redundancy, increased availability, and performance improvements of public-facing services.
Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) and Angelo State University – Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC)
In April 2022, DIR selected Angelo State University as the Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC) pilot program to provide security services and incident response to public-sector entities in the region. The RSOC will offer network security infrastructure that local governments can utilize and give university students hands-on experience to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.
The RSOC may also provide real-time network security monitoring; network security alerts; incident response; and cybersecurity educational services. Eligible customers include counties, local governments, school districts, water districts, hospital districts, and regional state agency offices.
Government Code Section 2059.204 directs DIR to partner with a Texas public institution of higher education to establish this first RSOC as a pilot program. Long-term, it authorizes DIR to partner with additional public universities to establish RSOCs throughout the state to serve local entities and assist in protecting the state from cyber threats.

Goal 2: Advanced Data Management

Texas government entities are making progress toward data management goals and objectives. The following examples of agency accomplishments demonstrate how hyperconverged infrastructures, modern data management platforms, and utilizing the Texas Open Data Portal are helping state agencies to excel in providing innovative delivery of government services.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) – Hyperconverged Infrastructure Implementation
UTSA’s University's Technology Solutions delivered a hyperconverged infrastructure for research to transform and empower the university’s research community and innovation ecosystem. This platform provides scientific gateways to researchers, educators, and students, and arises from the new comprehensive cybersecurity data management plan that serves as the foundation for all research produced at UTSA. This comprehensive, resilient, flexible, and efficient IT infrastructure platform meets or exceeds standards set by federal agencies and serves one main goal: to reduce the time it takes to conduct and present research.
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) – State Health and Analytical Reporting System
DSHS established the State Health Analytics and Reporting Platform (SHARP), a single unified enterprise platform for DSHS public health analytics, reporting, data management, data exchange, and data sharing. The improved capabilities provided by the SHARP platform include infrastructure capacity capable of scaling to address long-term analytical and reporting; the ability to securely share COVID-19 data with local health entities; significantly improved performance of statistical analysis; and a way to monitor and secure the movement of sensitive data within and outside the platform. Additionally, the SHARP platform provides enough capacity to address the known near-term and long-term data management and data processing needs of the agency. It provides standards-based data exchange capability that enables real-time data exchange between various point-of-care facilities and DSHS.
Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) – Use of the Open Data Portal
TDA joined multiple state and local governments in adding their most requested data to the Texas Open Data Portal (ODP). These datasets are accessible to the public on the data.texas.gov home page and exportable to Excel-compatible files. Groups participating in federally funded nutrition assistance programs provide TDA with required information using the Texas Unified Nutrition Program System. TDA provides a dashboard that displays the number of meals and snacks approved for reimbursement for the current program year for school nutrition programs, child and adult care food programs, and summer meal programs. The dashboard is updated daily and based on meal reimbursement datasets published on the ODP.

Goal 3: Strategic Digital Transformation

Texas government is making progress toward the goals and objectives for strategic digital transformation. The following examples of agency accomplishments demonstrate how state agencies can improve the customer experience and reduce costs by understanding customer needs and expectations at the beginning of the transformation journey.
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) – Registration Renewal in Texas by Texas (TxT)
TxDMV recently partnered with DIR to implement vehicle registration renewal services in the TxT application. TxDMV has a presence in both the TxT web and mobile applications and offers Texans the ability to renew their vehicle registration from the convenience of a mobile-friendly web application or mobile app. Since November 2021, over 1.3 million Texans have linked their vehicle to their TxT account and approximately 950,000 of those linked vehicles have been registered using the TxT application.
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) – Secure Share Application Implementation
The 87th Legislature tasked TCOLE with developing and implementing an electronic process for agencies to share licensed peace officers’ employment files for background investigation purposes. In response to Senate Bill 24, the agency launched the TCOLE Secure Share application on March 1, 2022. The application facilitates the secure electronic file sharing of personnel files and records to inform law enforcement agencies across the state in hiring decisions.
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) – Geospatial Portal Implementation
The TxDOT geospatial portal reduces outdated data capture and entry processes. Because applications were driven by the user community, users who were expected to utilize the applications in their day-to-day workflows approved the functionality. The vision for the functionality was motivated and adjusted by the users along every step of the development path, promoting long-term buy-in and achieving improved safety, increased efficiency in data collection, higher data quality, and built-in quality controls.

Goal 4: Proactive Approach to Emerging Technologies

The following examples of agency accomplishments demonstrate how applying rapid application development, using an automated virtual assistant, and investing in upskilling the next generation of workers is helping state agencies fulfill their mission.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) – Utilization of Rapid Application Development
To make it easier for families to complete Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) application forms, TEA built and deployed a new application system using rapid application development, an adaptive software development approach. The system processes SSES applications using Public Education Information Management Systems (PEIMS) codes and Free or Reduced Lunch (FRL) status to determine a family’s eligibility and economic status to ensure low socioeconomic families receive prioritization. This system has resulted in a cost savings of $3.8 million and a 381% increase in the number of applications received.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) – Maya Chatbot
In November 2021, HHSC began using an automated virtual assistant, Maya the chatbot, to communicate with Spanish-speaking Texans about the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services available to new mothers and families with young children. Spanish is the primary language in more than 35% of Texas households receiving WIC services. Chatbot translation is one of the latest efforts to improve the experience of people seeking information about Texas WIC services.
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) – IT Software Engineer Apprenticeship Program
TWC developed a registered IT software engineer apprenticeship program to build skills for the workforce of the future. Using funding already allocated for these positions, TWC was able to pilot a state agency apprenticeship program using ten vacant programmer positions at no additional cost. The two-year program, approved by the Department of Labor (DOL), allowed TWC to attract staff with a passion for coding who may not have the necessary experience. During the two years, apprentices will receive 144 hours of training and have 2,000 hours of work assignments each year under the supervision of an assigned coach. TWC was able to swiftly fill ten vacancies using this approach, and the new apprentices are excited to earn while they learn. Now that TWC is a DOL-approved apprenticeship employer, the agency can quickly add new job classifications for apprentices in areas such as infrastructure, cloud technologies, project management, and more. More information about this apprenticeship program is available by contacting cio@twc.texas.gov.