Thought Leadership Profile | NIC

A N atural State
NIC helps Arkansas eGovernment
                                                                      the ...
Still in K ansas
                                                                                      The original eGover...
The M aine Idea
The Pine Tree State has deep
eGovernment roots.

    W h at do lobsters a n d Ste p h e n K in g h ave in ...
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Back To Their Roots -- eGovernment at Work


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NIC helps agencies get back to serving constituents in an effective way. Read more about how NIC teams with states to deliver value-added online services.

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Back To Their Roots -- eGovernment at Work

  1. 1. Thought Leadership Profile | NIC “There is nothing you do on paper with the government that can’t be done faster online.” Jeff Fraser Chief Executive Officer NIC Senior care centers, schools and daycare providers can now screen employees online with Arkansas’ electronic background check system, which reduces paperwork and allows caregivers to spend more time with their residents and students. Back to Their Roots NIC helps agencies get back to serving constituents in an effective way. O ver the past decade, the letter “e” became ubiquitous. eGovernment’s purpose is to create a portal for more con- Just about every industry attached the letter to its venient constituent access. Of course, prior to the Web, the name at some point to illustrate the availability of Internet primarily was inhabited by researchers, professors electronic services. and scientists. But even before the Web, one company was It may surprise many people that government was one of developing eGovernment strategies. Kansas-based NIC began the first to add the letter “e.” In fact, eGovernment has been managing eGovernment services in 1991 by offering data around longer than the World Wide Web. The origins of hosting and text-based portals for Internet-savvy citizens. eGovernment harken back to the days of Bulletin Boards, 300 The advent of the graphical user interface made the baud modems and blocky green text. Internet — and eGovernment — much more accessible to Advertising Supplement
  2. 2. A N atural State NIC helps Arkansas eGovernment the citizenry. Now with 17 states already onboard, NIC is become second nature. proving that states can build a custom-made electronic bridge to reach their constituents — all while saving money, gener- D oug Elkins, chief inform ation officer of Ark a nsas, ating revenue and improving overall service. is a believer in eGovern m ent, a nd his state is proving how effective a nd innovative it ca n be. Leveraging Modern Convenience powerful tools from NIC h as propelled Ark a nsas onto As in government, people today are being asked to do more the cutting edge of eGovern m ent by reconnecting with less. For citizens and businesses, this usually means getting with citizens a nd businesses in a m ea ningful a nd more done in ever-shrinking windows of time.When the need useful w ay. to interact with government arises, many of these constituents “ O ur initial concept w as to offer a lot of citizen are too busy to stand in line at a service counter. tra nsactions, but we’ve seen a big m arket in the busi- In Maine, the lobster capital of the world, those who n ess-to-govern m e nt tra nsa ctions. B usin esses are harvest lobster for a living once could spend all day renewing required to file a lot of things with the govern m ent professional licenses at the Department of Marine Resources — so th at’s w here we see a large m ajority of our online taking time out of their demanding schedules.Thanks to a part- tra nsactions,” said Elkins. nership with NIC’s Maine subsidiary, commercial fishermen of A nd with som e of these tra nsactions, a sm all state- all kinds now instantly renew professional licenses online. approved fee is applied. This is NIC ’s self-funded In Tennessee, where the state partnered with NIC’s Tennessee m od el, w hic h h elps govern m e nts p ut in-d e m a n d subsidiary, citizens can skip the line at the Department of Motor services online at no upfront cost to taxpayers. For Vehicles and go online for such services as driver’s license exa m ple, Ark a nsas businesses ca n access a n online renewals, changes of address and duplicate license requests. crimin al background check application before hiring Not only do constituents gain from eGovernment, but agen- a n individu al. For hiring m a n agers, this inform ation is cies themselves benefit tremendously as well, said NIC Chief well worth the sm all fee ch arged for the service. Executive Officer Jeff Fraser.“eGovernment makes sense to our Ark a nsas a nd NIC also offer several innovative government partners because they are able to increase service tools th at better the citizen-govern m ent experience. levels to constituents while generating internal efficiencies by Recently, Elkins said, the state bega n allowing citi- reducing manual processes such as data entry. In addition, the zens to tra nsfer funds online to incarcerated loved self-funded model allows agencies to increase their statutory ones. “In the past, fa mily m e m bers deposited money revenue collection because it provides an easier way for busi- into accounts,” he said. “ This offering h as been unbe- nesses and citizens to interact with government.” lievably popular a nd adoption is very strong.” This strategy is central to NIC’s eGovernment solution. NIC’s The state also allows online child support pay- self-funded model is based on the premise that many people, m ents, said Elkins, adding th at the syste m provides especially businesses, are willing to pay a small transaction fee to convenience for both the person m a king the paym ent a nd the recipient. “A ll parties ca n check the status of paym ent a nd the bala nce of the account online,” he “Government agencies are sw said. “ This is the first tim e child support ca n be paid online in our state through the convenience of credit We allow agencies to go back cards a nd e-checks, a nd it allows both parties to be a participa nt in a n online com m unity.” do what it is they were designe With its NIC partnership, Ark a nsas is reaching out a nd m a king govern m ent accessible. Elkins is proud H arry H erington of w h at they’ve accom plished a nd said their efforts Chief Operating Officer h ave been recognized. NIC “In 2003, w e w ere in t h e C e n ter for D igit a l Govern m ent’s Top 5 B est of the Web,” he said. “ NIC avoid the hassles of physically going to a government building. states are consistently represented in the Top 10. NIC And by creating quality applications, the number of users — and is one of the best partners we h ave in this state. thus the statutory and transaction fees — increase, creating an They’re bringing us ideas, they’re looking at the m ar- eGovernment system that pays for itself instead of requiring tax ket, they’re finding opportunities a nd som etim es it’s dollars from the state’s general fund. the best we ca n do to keep up with the m.” The bottom line is that, in most cases, the only reason people go wait in line is because a law or regulation exists that Advertising Supplement
  3. 3. Still in K ansas The original eGovernment state proves compels them to do so.“People don’t tend to go to government offices unless they have to,” said Fraser.“There is nothing you do there’s no place like home. on paper with the government that can’t be done faster online.” The history between NIC a nd the state of K a nsas is A Tailor-Made Solution m arked by a partnership th at h as produced the para- Despite their similarities, states are unique and individual dig m for eGovern m ent initiatives. experiments in democracy. For this reason, a one-size-fits-all K a nsas worked with NIC to create a state Web site know n as access K a nsas, w hich is widely regarded as one of the best state govern m ent portals. In K a nsas, building a n eGovern m e nt solution c a m e from the belief th at govern m ent ought to reduce costs, increase efficiencies a nd generate high satis- faction levels from businesses a nd citizens. “ O ur first a pplic ation, ye ars a go, w as with th e u n ifor m c o m m erc i a l c o d e ( U C C ),” s a id K a n s a s S ecretary of State Ron Thornburgh. “ Th at w as a com monly used b a n king a pplic ation. We p artn ered with th e K a nsas B a n kers A ssociation a nd w e w ere a ble to turn a 10-d ay proc ess into a 10-m in ute process. N ow 90 perce nt of our filings a nd retrievals c a n be don e electronic ally.” O ne benefit of eGovern m ent is the sheer a mount of newly available tim e it creates. With more tim e avail- able, agencies ca n get more work done, foster new Constituents in Tennessee can now go online to obtain driver ’s license renewals, ideas a nd execute better strategies. changes of address and duplicate licenses from the Department of Motor Vehicles. “A ll of a sudde n, w e’ve cre ated hours a nd hours of freed-up tim e for our e m ployees,” Thornburgh said. solution may look good but ultimately will fail to address all “ We h a ve cre a t e d a n o p p ort u n ity for t h e m to of a state’s needs. NIC builds solutions designed specifically for do work oth er th a n filing p a pers. It’s a success th e each state government partner. consu m er is not going to see, but it h as a big im p a ct “We don’t just design applications,” said NIC Chief on my a ge ncy.” Operating Officer Harry Herington. “Most companies build a N e w busin esses c a n file th eir articles of incorpora- solution and then take the government’s money and leave. tion onlin e a nd com plete forms for th e D ep artm e nt NIC is focused on the long-term success of of Reve n u e, a nd th e state curre ntly is cre ating n e w eGovernment. We identify what a govern- electronic p aym e nt m ethods. Individu als c a n also amped. ment needs and create a solution around get various lice nses onlin e a nd register for a wide those needs — and we only get paid when ra nge of permits. and a service is successful and being used by Everything the state does on paper ca n be done citizens and businesses.” better, faster a nd cheaper online, said Thornburgh. ed for.” The result of such an approach is that NIC A nd the relationship with NIC h as been critical to the must be creative and nimble while building success of access K a nsas. NIC ’s business model is the best possible eGovernment solution. For w h at helped access K a nsas bring eGovern m ent into agencies burdened by a shortage of funds and reality. The self-funded model — which applies sm all demands for a higher level of service, a tailor- state-approved fees to certain transactions — allowed made NIC solution may be the answer. the state to build its leading-edge eGovern m ent portal “Government agencies are swamped,” said Herington. “We without relying on budget appropriations. allow agencies to go back and do what it is they were designed “This h as been a great partnership with NIC,” said for. Our centralized Web portals address the challenges of lega- Thornburgh, “a nd the self-funded model is the only cy systems. Our solutions improve customer satisfaction.They w ay this could h ave worked in the state of K a nsas. It save money and make money. NIC’s approach allows govern- fosters solutions th at are tailored to our needs. A nd ment employees to focus on each agency’s core mission and by creating a true partnership, we h ave m ade this provide quality service to the people.” thing successful.”
  4. 4. The M aine Idea The Pine Tree State has deep eGovernment roots. W h at do lobsters a n d Ste p h e n K in g h ave in co m- m on? B oth are fro m M ain e a n d h ave m illions of fa ns. B ut w hile K in g is prob a bly conte nt to d e al in p a p erwork, m a ny M ain e b usin esses, like lobsterin g, are turnin g to onlin e e Govern m e nt a pplic ations to m a n a g e a variety of tra dition ally p a p er-inte nsive tra nsa ctions. M a in e C hief Inform a tion O ffic er D ic k T ho m pson sa id th e sta te’s origin a l e Govern m e nt go a ls le nt th e m selves to th e self-fu n d e d m od el offere d by N I C . “ W e w a n t e d to provi d e a s e lf-s u p p orti n g e Govern m e nt porta l to th e citize ns of M a in e.” D e p art m e n t of A d m in istra tive a n d Fin a n ci a l S ervices C om missioner Rebecca Wyke a nd form er S e cret ar y of S t a te D a n G w a dosky pl a ye d l arg e roles in convincing the state Legislature th at a n Lobster harvesters and other fishermen in Maine no longer need to stand in line for eGovern m ent solution would not only save money their fishing licenses. but also im prove service for M aine residents. O nce e Govern m e nt le gislation w as in pla c e, th e state In return for coverin g th e infrastru cture a n d bega n pursuing com pa nies to participate. It soon develop m ent costs to m anage M aine’s state portal, beca m e clear NIC w as the leading contender. NIC received a sm all fee for certain transactions processed online. This allowed the state to avoid spending gen- “We have been very successful with eral fund money on the project. N ow, with an active and vibrant our portal, and it’s been highly ranked eGovern m ent portal, a variety of online transactions are gaining nationally for a long time.” popularity. From lobster fishing licenses to corporate filings, NIC — Dick Thompson, Chief Information Officer, Maine helps M aine im prove govern m ent services and save money. “ O n e of th e most popular serv- “ N I C s a w va l u e in t h e st a te of M a in e,” s a id ices we’ve put out is for businesses to file their annual Thom pson. “ They looked at our entrepreneurial spirit reports,” said Thom pson. “ Th e a doption rates are off a nd the legislation we h ad in place. They were by far th e ch arts. the most viable bidder. I’m not sure there was another “ N I C is a p artn er of ours. I a m a su p porter of th e m bidder we could h ave accepted.” a n d th eir w ork in M a in e. We h ave b e e n very su c- The self-funded model w as at the foundation of c essful with our porta l, a n d it’s b e e n hig hly ra n ke d M aine’s move to partner with NIC. n a tion a lly for a lon g ti m e.” To le arn how self-fu nding c a n work for you, conta ct Eliza beth Proudfit at 703-288-0980 or eproudfit @ Visit N IC at This G overnment Technology’s Public CI O Thought Leadership Profile was sponsored by NIC. Copyright © 2005 Public CI O . All rights reserved. Printed in USA. Advertising Supplement