Dona Ana County, N.M. -- Named after Doña Ana Robledo -- has a history of Spanish exploration and settlement going back to 1536. People later crossed the region as they traveled between Mexico City and Santa Fe.
The county has in recent years embraced information technology to provide up-to-date efficiency and service to its 230,000 residents and to meet some substantial economic challenges, including 8 percent across-the-board funding cuts, a three-year salary freeze, elimination of all non-mandated travel and training.
As testimony to the idea that difficult times often produce innovation, here are some highlights of the county's improvements and changes which garnered a top finish in the 2010 Digital Counties Survey:
- To supplement IT funding from decreasing revenues, IT has collaborated with key departments who have volunteered to help fund high-value IT projects from their budgets.
- The county has implemented VoIP phone and server virtualization and is migrating back-end systems to open source. In addition, the county is using source code from open source projects to help accelerate internal development programs.
- Applicant tracking and indigent healthcare tracking will be hosted via SaaS which will generate savings through the elimination of server purchase, management and user support.
- The county has also embarked on a three-year project to digitize county records. Currently implemented in five departments, the systems will replace paper files as the official legal record. In addition, the county has implemented an OCR server to speed document retrieval.
- The county has added a new general ledger and enterprise time clock systems as well as upgrading customer utility billing and tracking of staff training and certification materials.
- Dona Ana County has implemented a system to automatically feed traffic citation data into a regional dispatch records management system. which has eliminated manual data entry and increased the number of traffic citations.
- County Sheriff's officers now wirelessly upload their in-car videos at the substations, saving travel to the central office.
- The county also developed the software necessary to track and manage DWI vehicle forfeiture cases electronically.