State government is seeing increased citizen usage of its Web site and online transactions
Since Mississippi debuted its revamped portal a year ago and added several
online transactions this summer, the state government is seeing a return
on investment through increased citizen usage.
Per month, the portal is averaging about 1.2 million page views and
about 142,000 individual user sessions, according to Craig Orgeron, emerging
technology coordinator for the state's Information Technology Services (ITS)
department. That's not bad for a state that has about 2.8 million residents,
There's even better news for the portal's first online applications.
So far, the state has processed about 2,700 driver's license renewals and
3,500 hunting and fishing licenses via online applications. And while there
are only about 1,500 architects and landscape architects in the whole state,
the portal has processed about 560 professional licenses for its Board of
Architecture, he said.
The portal — which did not have any online transactional services before
this summer — also offers online voting registration, permit applications
for the Department of Environmental Quality and a link to purchase motor
Mississippi officials are trying to get the word out about the portal
and online services, conducting a strategic outreach by speaking at organizations,
presenting sessions at high-tech conferences and even setting up a booth
at a state fair.
Orgeron said a statewide broadband network — which connects all libraries,
schools and government agencies — is helping this initiative, but the digital
divide remains a serious concern.
"One of the things we're looking at heavily is the use of interactive
voice response [IVR] technology because the latest report I saw on the Internet
showed that 90 percent of households have telephones," Orgeron said. "If
you can leverage that to provide access to government, you'd be much more
inclusive. I feel like there's going to be a big interest in IVR."
With the e-government infrastructure already in place, he said the state
needs an IVR strategic plan. Next week, the ITS department is meeting with
several agencies interested in using such a solution.
And despite grappling with revenue shortfalls, Mississippi officials
are planning to develop more applications, such as allowing employees to
view their W-2 forms and pay stubs online. Orgeron also predicted that there
would be collaboration with local governments on future e-government projects.
IBM Corp. developed the state's e-government infrastructure, which included
front-end Web-based applications linked to the state's legacy systems, for
the $5.4 million portal project. The project included redesigning the site,
developing five pilot applications and implementing IBM's Tivoli monitoring
and security software, Siebel Systems Inc.'s help desk software, and EzGov
Inc.'s payment engine software, integrated with the state's finance and
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