N.C. putting e-services on fast track

INDIANAPOLIS -- North Carolina aims to puts its agencies on a fast track to deliver Internet-based services by developing a multipronged strategy the incorporates security, World Wide Web portals and other key components of electronic commerce on a statewide basis.

The e-commerce infrastructure, which will be rolled out during the next 12 months, was designed to address both the ease and speed of access to government services, said North Carolina chief information officer Rick Webb, speaking here at the National Association of State Information Resouce's 1999 annual conference.

Webb said he believes agencies will move more quickly to develop those applications for citizens and businesses if they do not have to develop the technical framework on their own.

"We really want to begin to do this in a planned process so people can begin to see and understand how electronic commerce can improve the operations of government," Webb said.

A key component of the new framework is the development of Web portals serving individual citizens, businesses and state employees. The portals will provide centralized points of entry where customers can access all online government services available to them.

Individual agencies will be able to plug their specific applications into the central portals while taking advantage of a common set of services the state will provide.

These services include the following:

A personalization capability, so customers can design a Web page that includes just the services they need to access.

Public-key infrastructure-based security, to protect transactions from tampering and ensure confidentiality.

Support for credit card processing.

Support for electronic forms, including digital signatures so the digital documents can be legally binding.

Use of electronic data interchange for defining the data format for digital transactions such as purchase orders and invoices.

Reusable code for common functions such as cataloging and billing.

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