Governor’s Innovation Center Saves Taxpayers $5 Million in IT Upgrades for N.C. Fisheries
Thanks to the “try before you buy” approach at North Carolina’s Innovation Center (iCenter), the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will soon have a new computer system that is $5 million less expensive than estimates for similar systems. The iCenter was established by Governor Pat McCrory in 2013 as a proving ground for technology solutions before the state invests in them.
“This is exactly the type of success story I hoped for and envisioned when we opened the Innovation Center,” said Governor McCrory. “Through the iCenter, we are identifying challenges, creating solutions and transforming the way state government delivers products and services to the citizens of North Carolina. North Carolina state government is learning to do more with less.”
The Fisheries Information Network is the current in-house computer system that allows the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries to sell commercial fishing licenses and issue permits. It is also where commercial harvest statistics are stored, as well as Marine Patrol warnings, citations, shellfish leases and many other records. It was put in place in 1999 with an estimated seven-year lifespan and currently runs on an outdated platform. The division began looking at new options several years ago, but it was only through the iCenter that more cost-effective technologies were identified.
“Without the exposure to different options through the iCenter, we may have spent more than necessary or the project wouldn’t have gotten off the ground,” said N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Project Manager Tim Ladd.
The new system is currently under development at the division’s Morehead City headquarters and is expected to be up and running later this year.