IT modernization

Nevada DMV preps for full systems overhaul

A system modernization underway at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles aims to increase flexibility, reduce redundancy and prepare the department for future technology needs.

“We have a system that is mainframe-based, COBOL-based, and it’s pretty much…been in production for the last 20 years,” said Izzy Hernandez, program manager responsible for the system modernization (SysMod) project. “So what we’re looking at is to replace the entire infrastructure architecture and our processes to make it more efficient, much more streamlined and be able to provide that better customer service.”

For help, the DMV awarded a $70 million, five-year contract to digital transformation specialist Tech Mahindra. The company’s Motor Vehicle Enterprise System will provide the foundation for SysMod.

For the modernization, the DMV is moving off of the mainframe and onto an Oracle technology stack, replacing all back-end hardware. On the front end, DMV employees will use a new application and the department will also get a new website.

“The entire current application that all of our staff uses is going to be replaced -- all the screens all the transactions, how we process everything is going to change,” said Kevin Malone, public information officer at the department.  The technology should also help the DMV better serve customers and will “integrate with other systems that we currently have, such as our call center and kiosk products,” he said.

The newer technology will drive more transactions online, said Arvind Malhotra, senior vice president at Tech Mahindra. Additionally, one login will enable access to all functionalities.

“The backbone we have now works fine -- we do offer online more than 20 transactions,” Malone said. “We’re also building the backbone for future online services that we can’t even think of right now. … We’ll be able to take advantage of the latest developments in web technology as they come about.”

Streamlining transactions and process is a key goal of SysMod. For example, some transactions currently require the same data to be entered on multiple screens. That redundancy will be eliminated with the new system, Hernandez said.

The project will roll out in three phases, starting with core business programs and followed by vehicle programs and credentialing. The target end date is no later than December 2020, Hernandez said, adding that the complexity of the department contributes to the length of the project.

“Nevada DMV is not like every DMV out there. This Nevada DMV is kind of like the department of everything,” he said.  Besides driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations and permits and titles, the DMV is “also responsible for our motor carrier and motor fuel aspects…. We also issue medical marijuana cards. We’re pretty much doing a lot of things outside of what you term a DMV.”

A little more than a year ago, Tech Mahindra began working on a similar, but smaller-scale, project built on Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM, or customer relationship management, platform in New Hampshire. To date, it has completed the requirements gathering, configuration and data conversion. The system should be cut over in the fall, Malhotra said.

The company has applied lessons learned from New Hampshire to Nevada.

“One is that we underestimated the financial complexity of a DMV system,” he said.  “On the surface it looks simple: You go into a DMV agency, you get in line for a title and you’re done, but the backend is pretty interesting.” For instance, people also pay for tickets or contest them, which means a hearing must be scheduled.

Another lesson is that involving DMV employees in the modernization effort from the get-go helps the acceptance rate. Tech Mahindra ran “day in the life” testing in which workers would come in after hours to test transactions using the new system. “I think that helped them a lot because they were able to see the system as it was being developed,” Malhotra said.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.


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