In early 2009, a series of Apple commercials for the iPhone 3G featured the tag line, “There’s an app for that.” No matter what you wanted to do, it seemed, there was an app for it. It was a clever way of demonstrating the breadth of apps available.
After just a few weeks as the Director of Enterprise Applications for the State of Colorado, I’ve started using the tag line with my wife. When we drop our son off at KinderCare, I mention that there’s an app that manages the licensing of daycare facilities. When we drive over a bridge, I mention that there’s an app that collects data for bridge inspections. When we see a state patrol car, I mention that there’s an app that looks up criminal history and motor vehicle records. That glitch that shut down DMV offices last week? Yep, there’s an app for that too. One that needs a little tuning, apparently.
We encounter a handful of State apps just on the way to work. In the course of a week, at least three dozen. The more I learn about my job, the more I realize how broad it is in terms of its everyday impact on the citizens of Colorado. Unemployment insurance claims? Yep. Child welfare benefits? Yep. Noxious weeds, traffic cameras and prison fights? Yep. Fleet management, hunting licenses and infectious diseases? Sure. Across 17 agencies from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety, the State has over 1,200 apps and counting.
As a State citizen, it’s impressive. As a State employee, it’s intensely challenging! How do you organize a staff of 350 to manage 1,200 applications that range from a simple file extract for financial reporting to a huge benefits management system? I’ll let you know when I figure it out!