Utah Department of Transportation: Modernizing how contractors engage

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is responsible for managing the creation and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Utah. To create and maintain infrastructure across the state, UDOT manages complex data sources and business systems.

An important system that UDOT created was an online application called Project Explorer. It moved the project advertising and bid process for contractors from a paper format to digital. It was advanced at the time it launched, but eventually the technology stack it was built on had trouble scaling to handle the volume of traffic and the size of files being shared on the application. It created an unpleasant user experience for UDOT staff and the contractors who relied on the application. UDOT turned to the team at Egen for help to create a more modernized, scalable application.

UDOT’s top priority was to make the project advertising experience better for UDOT and the contractor community. It also wanted to add features including single sign-on and build the application in the cloud to make sure it would run smoothly and scale, no matter the quantity of construction projects being listed. UDOT needed to ensure data continuity and interoperability with its other business systems, too.

Egen shared a vision for how to improve and streamline Project Explorer, and the Contractor Zone application was born. Using an agile Pod approach, Egen teams rapidly worked to deliver on UDOT’s priorities. The Pod approach allowed UDOT to continually iterate on project requirements for greater flexibility in how it worked with Egen as compared to a standard model.

With Egen’s help, Contractor Zone became the first core business system UDOT reimagined in the cloud. It is a user-friendly web application for contractors to track their activity with UDOT, whether they are applying to become a contractor or bidding on specific projects. The user interface is simple to navigate, bringing the most relevant information into a convenient dashboard.

For companies using Contractor Zone, they can build profiles featuring their skills, services, and the geographic areas in Utah where they prefer to work. This helps the companies set up alerts when new projects are promoted in their areas of interest. Companies can easily create lists of projects they are interested in, which generates a list of important dates and milestones such as project meetings and bid deadlines. For companies completing a project, a new payment report dashboard shows them when to expect payments from UDOT.

Egen connected the Utah state government’s identity program, UtahID, to make sign-on and authentication simple in Contractor Zone, so contractors can use the same credentials as for other state services. Contractors can manage users and roles for employees of their company, too, streamlining access control.

Contractor Zone is built on Google Cloud Platform, ensuring easy integration with other UDOT applications and a responsive user experience no matter how many projects are advertised. The system no longer struggles with slow downloads and application timeouts. Searches that used to take several complex database queries and a bit of luck are now fast and accurate thanks to using Google Cloud BigQuery for the data repository.

UDOT values its relationship with the contractor community. By working with Egen to create Contractor Zone, UDOT improved the contractor experience to do business with the state, ultimately saving time and money for the contractor companies and taxpayers as well as unlocking greater efficiencies for UDOT.

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