Convenience for the city's residents and businesses is the government's main concern
In phases during the next six to eight months, Chicago will develop a Web
portal to better serve the city's 3 million residents.
Planning started about two years ago when the city conducted a survey
about electronic government. Angela Ball, the city's deputy chief information
officer, said responses showed that developing a portal was highest among
While efficient government and cost reductions are benefits that most
governments seek, Ball said convenience for the city's residents and businesses
was the government's main concern. "Our top priority is really not on our
end, behind the scenes...but to the user community," she said. "That's what's
really driving much of this."
With the purchase of software from BroadVision Inc. and the help of
a third-party integrator, Chicago-based Electronic Knowledge Interchange,
city officials will create an enterprisewide electronic permitting and online
bill payment systems. California also used BroadVision software as a flexible
and scalable platform for online transactions and personalization for its
Chicago residents currently can pay parking tickets online, and that
application will be folded into the new system. But Ball said the new system
will enable residents to not only make payments but also look up various
types of debt.
The city also will develop an online "permitting wizard" guide to help
citizens, or those who normally don't apply for permits routinely, understand
what they need to get for a particular service. Ball said the guide will
be available for all permits whether or not that permit is available online.
"The permitting process for even some simple tasks is confusing for
the user community," she said. "We will develop an online interactive guide
that would walk the user through, explaining the process of requiring a
Ball said the city also is working with some independent, quasi-governmental
agencies, such as the Chicago Transit Authority, the city school district
and the parks district, to develop similar applications to benefit users.
Simon King, BroadVision's vice president of advanced strategy, said
the platform would enable the city to push content to wireless devices as
well as let users personalize the portal.
A challenge that cities face in developing a portal is governance, King
said. In Chicago's case, with its 42 administrative departments, one person
should be in charge of overseeing the implementation and development of
the portal by providing a common direction and goal, he said.
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