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C-Suite Insight

Job Service North Dakota is a cabinet-level agency that distributes heavily regulated state and federal payments. North Dakota is one of the smallest states by population has unique challenges. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the agency had to contend with an exploding population of newly unemployed citizens who needed state unemployment and federal FFCRA and CARES Act payments.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we need to be more agile than ever in developing and deploying new applications to deliver benefits to citizens in immediate need,” said Pat Kelly, IT Director at JSND. But many of the state’s staff were close to retirement. So not only was the agency facing a historic challenge requiring months of overtime, it had to contend with fewer resources to do the work.

Unisys stepped up for our longtime customer. North Dakota earned praise for the speed of its transformation. A Unisys team now operates the system, and our developers are working to extend the platform’s capabilities, taking guidance from JSND leadership to build innovative new features.

Continuity in a crisis

Unemployment agencies exist in an environment controlled by complex, interrelated state and federal regulations. JSND’s existing mission-critical applications and reporting capabilities needed to remain intact during the cloud migration process. Moving to the cloud also created an opportunity to reduce capital equipment and maintenance costs. Unisys ClearPath® MCP Software Series simplified application development, enabling the organization to use existing services in support of cloud applications without recoding or expensive back-end reconfigurations.

Results and benefits

Moving to the cloud provided JSND a variety of benefits and improved performance, including:

  • Created opportunities to reduce capital equipment and maintenance costs
  • Reduced recovery time from two weeks to a few minutes
  • Extended the life span of custom applications on the agency’s ClearPath MCP Software Series platform by migrating from a physical data center to Microsoft Azure
  • Lowered capital equipment and maintenance costs by eliminating the physical data center footprint and tape backup system
  • Maintained all mission-critical applications during the move
  • Replaced a retiring IT staff with highly skilled Unisys resources available 24/7

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