Kentucky brings revenue system online

In an effort to extend the life of its legacy systems, the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet has Web-enabled its accounts receivable system and is also updating two other systems.

Before the cabinet replaces its entire system in about 10 years with a modern, completely Web-enabled system, the department needed more life out of its current Compliance and Accounts Receivable System. CARS, which is the cabinet's newest system at only five years old, handles $7 billion annually.

"We're trying to make sure we don't lose our investment," said Carla Hawkins, information systems manager of the Division of Systems Planning and Development, Department of Information Technology. "We want to leverage as much time as we can instead of starting from scratch."

The old system was difficult to navigate because workers had to memorize codes to perform functions. "To get from point A to point B, you'd have to go through C, D and F to get there," Hawkins said.

No off-the-shelf product met Kentucky's need for a graphic user interface. Instead, the state spent $250,000 on Jacada for Java, a product that allows the existing system to be brought online. The fee included support and other services. State programmers customized the product with help from Jacada Ltd. consultants.

The new Web-enabled system — which was set up at the end of April — is easier to log on to using an intranet, and it allows simpler navigation by combining many screens into one and providing codes (with explanations) in pull-down menus.

Jacada for Java presents the interface for workers and communicates with the mainframe. With it, productivity has increased and time spent training new workers has decreased, Hawkins said.

Now the department wants to improve its online system for the collection of accounts receivable and general voucher systems. The department hopes to bring those online in the fall, also using Jacada.

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