Fla. preps massive 'one-stop shop'

In what seems to be the largest state implementation of an online "one-stop

shop," Florida has developed a Web portal that eventually will enable more

than 900,000 professionals and businesses to register and pay for licenses

and permits over the Internet.

Its formal opening is scheduled for August.

The portal is the most visible part of a complete re-engineering of

Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) that

will create the same kinds of customer relationship management practices

that are becoming the norm in service-oriented companies.

The DBPR has more than 250 phone numbers for people to call to ask about

licenses and permits, according to Kim Binkley-Seyer, who heads the agency.

There are also 78 different "old and outmoded" software systems that process

applications. That leads to a confusing and frustrating time for citizens

and government employees, she said.

"With the online system, we expect that most people will never have

to contact the department to apply for and receive their licenses and permits,"

she said. "If they do, there will be a single number to call, and the goal

is for that call to be forwarded no more than twice before people get their

questions answered."

The system also provides mobile tools for the large numbers of the department's

1,800 employees who are in the field. With the new system, those inspectors

will not have to drive all the way back to the office to log their reports,

Binkley-Seyer said.

The Florida system could act as a template for states that want to implement

similar solutions, said Paul Shackelford, a partner with Accenture, the

consulting company that provided the DBPR system. The Web-based front end

and reporting features are the only customized parts of the system, he said,

while the extensive back-end functions tend to be the same for all agencies.

The DBPR system is expected to take two years to roll out agencywide,

after the introduction in the fall of the first real estate application.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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