North Dakota team wins Microsoft Hackfest

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BISMARCK, N.D. - A team of state government and private sector workers won a multi-state "hackfest" a competition to solve IT problems. The team is working on a community dashboard that will serve as a hub for cities.

Three state agencies and four people from Nexus Innovations competed in a Microsoft "hackfest." The competition had teams fix a technological problem. For the competition, The North Dakota team worked on a community dashboard that's part of Gov. Doug Burgum's Main Street Initiative.

"We want to add some additional data to the dashboard and we want to allow community leaders the chance to upload and edit their own data within the dashboard,” said Sarah Lee, a project manager with the Information Technology Department.

That dashboard will serve as a data hub for local government leaders.

"What kind of revenue is coming in from mills, what's the tax base, how many roadway miles are they maintaining? Things that a community leader could use to help make sound fiscal decision,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Commerce Sandy McMerty.

Lee says consolidating the data into one place will give leaders an advantage.

"It does actually allow you to see the successes and the challenges that your community is facing in black and white,” said Lee.

The North Dakota team beat six other teams from Texas, Minnesota and Indiana. The state's first place finish gives them two days with Microsoft specialists who will continue working on the dashboard.