Montana offers NIC room to operate
- By Eric Kulisch
- Nov 28, 2000
Montana technology officials propose to reduce the cost of new e-government
services by sharing resources with a contractor.
The state recently chose NIC to develop and operate online applications.
During contract talks set to begin this week, officials in Montana's Information
Services Division (ISD) will offer NIC space in the division's data center
to house equipment, said Jeff Brandt, ISD's manager for policy and planning
The space-sharing idea is a departure from normal NIC practice. The company's
standard procedure is to open a local office near the seat of state or local
government, said Chris Neff, NIC's marketing director. By renting space
from the state for servers and other equipment, the company can save on
telecommunications and support costs and avoid reconfiguring a separate
facility to meet its power and security needs, Brandt said.
Montana guaranteed NIC access to four databases that will anchor the first
wave of online services. "We had to do that so the vendors looking at this
could see that there is enough transaction volume" potential here, Brandt
said. NIC will be able to tie its front-end software into other databases
in the future.
The initial databases, scheduled to be available to the public on May 14,
include records on drivers, property appraisals, corporation filings, and
professional and occupational licensing. There may be a convenience fee
charged for these record searches, which predominantly benefit businesses,
A governing board will determine the fee structure, but citizens likely
will not pay extra for transactions such as renewing a driver's license,
he said. A portion of the fees will go toward enabling other government
services to make use of the Internet.
In addition, Montana unveiled its redesigned site Nov. 20, Discovering Montana, part of a yearlong effort to enhance its online presence.
The site is arranged according to broad categories of interest to make navigation