OESC begins transformation of digital infrastructure

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After a tumultuous six months during the coronavirus pandemic, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says it is planning to transform its digital infrastructure.

“Every single thing that goes, payments, claims, every single thing that we do for claimants has to go through this 40-year-old mainframe,” OESC executive director Shelley Zumwalt said. “And when I say that, I think people are really tired off hearing it, I know, I’m tired of it, too.”

The OESC announced an 18-month rollout plan for transformation to their digital infrastructure to help the organization run more efficiently.

“Considering the constraints that come with 40-year-old technology, we are incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish during this pandemic,” said Zumwalt, executive director of OESC. “We have made significant progress in streamlining the processes now, but there is much more work to be done. This digital transformation project will help OESC process claims quickly and help get Oklahomans the money they need.”

Officials say the process will become faster and will prioritize users’ experience.

OESC began working on some of their digital transformation initiatives this quarter and they plan to complete all of them by the end of the first quarter in 2022.

“We are focused on people first,” Zumwalt said. “That’s why we’ll be working hard over the next several months to ensure our systems and processes are up-to-date and meet the demands we’re seeing today. This plan is ambitious and aggressive, but way overdue. The previous technology modernization plan, the 5/39 Plan, was created pre-pandemic and did not anticipate the needs that arose with the pandemic. We’re looking at this transformation and its requirements from the viewpoint of what we have learned from the past six months and we have reworked the previous technology plan to meet the greater need of the state’s citizens for OESC services.”

For the remainder of 2020, OESC will prioritize helping claimants through automation.

Individuals will be automatically prompted to renew their unemployment benefits and will have some of their data pre-filled to help speed up the process. With these technological improvements, OESC expects to receive fewer calls as individuals will find the information they need through the self-service and user-friendly online options. 

“Our goal for our digital systems is to create something that is sustainable, supportable, scalable, standardized, and user-friendly,” Zumwalt said. “We want to build something to last.”

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