WaTech Innovation and Modernization Fund

The Washington state Legislature in 2023 provided partial funding for a new program that enables WaTech to provide grants to agencies looking for innovative ways to modernize their systems.

The IT Investment Board throughout the year has invited agencies to pitch their proposals that are aimed at modernizing antiquated systems and processes at state agencies.

Ten agencies have received funding to date. For example, the Department of Ecology received funds to automate its current paper-based system to process several hundred water rights each year. Ecology's paper system will be replaced with a user-friendly customer portal to access applications, apply and pay the fee(s) online, and check the status.

All of the projects being funded are "shovel ready," so to speak, and expected to be completed before the end of the current fiscal year. All of the projects will have WaTech oversight.

The Technology Services Board is the approving authority for all proposed projects recommended by the IT Investment Board. The board intends to recommend projects for funding at the November TSB meeting.

If you have questions about this program, please contact improgram@watech.wa.gov. Or visit the WaTech Innovation and Modernization Program webpage

Here's a current list of agencies that have received Innovation and Modernization funding:

  • Health Care Authority: $255,013 to deploy an electronic consent management solution that facilitates patient-authorized exchange of sensitive data and is scalable, secure, sustainable and meets provider needs.
  • Department of Ecology: $152,700 for a water resources online customer portal to authenticate users, view applications, review requirements for online application submission and submit applications online.
  • Secretary of State's Office: $150,000 to purchase a solution that replaces antiquated, legacy technology generating high volume of problem tickets and manual reconciliation work for the agency.
  • Eastern Washington State Historical Society: $108,000 to replace a collection management system with new software to support the museum's objects and archive/special collections. The project automates manual processes and expands access to its collection database.
  • Washington State Patrol: $250,000 to adopt ServiceNow and migrate legacy applications to the platform.
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife: $380,000 to deploy a digital workflow automation solution that will modernize outdated systems, eliminate manual paper processes and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their permitting processes.
  • Office of Financial Management: $6,000 to Implement a candidate relationship management tool to integrate and supplement Washington's current Application Tracking System. This solution will contribute to the state's ability to better attract and source job seekers for IT-related positions.
  • Washington State Arts Commission: $80,670 to migrate the museum's collection database from an existing legacy solution with limited business capabilities to a modern solution that provides new functionality expected with a modern-day solution. This will allow the museum to improve citizen and staff access to museum collections with secure, mobile-ready features. (The image featured on the webpage for this story is from the Arts Commission website, Artwork copyright Alfredo Arreguín)
  • Department of Transportation: $25,000 to implement a solution to measure and optimize employee engagement experiences in a more holistic approach that allows real-time data into employee satisfaction, retention and the ability to serve Washington citizens. Leverage survey capabilities to engage employees more frequently and act on feedback more often.