Oklahoma chooses NIC portal
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jun 29, 2001
Oklahoma has awarded NIC a five-year, $1.1 million contract to build and
manage the state's Web portal, but individual agencies will have to pay
the company more if they want specific applications built.
The state (www.state.ok.us) is NIC's 14th state
portal client, but the payment arrangement is a departure from the way NIC
usually negotiates contracts, said Chris Neff, the company's senior director
of marketing. States usually do not front any money for the e-government
company to build their portals.
Instead, the company strategy has been to recoup its investment through
convenience fees of $1 to $2 on transactions with citizens, such as paying
parking tickets or renewing driver's licenses. "In the past, that's how
the model has worked," Neff said. "Oklahoma wanted to work on a different
Shawn Ashley, spokesman for Oklahoma's Office of State Finance, said
NIC was chosen after a competitive bidding process and the contract reflected
statutory financial rules. State rules mandate that contracts list services
with associated costs "to arrive at a total dollar package rather than the
vendor provide the service and bill you over time," Ashley said. "There
are some limits involved on what we can and can't do." The $1.1 million
covers building the portal infrastructure and redesigning the Web site,
he said. The state would retain ownership of content, data and statutory
When the portal launches this fall, the state aims to have its first
interactive application a searchable, statewide business directory sponsored
by the Office of State Finance. State agencies that want NIC to build interactive
applications are expected to finance them from their own budgets. For example,
if the Secretary of State's office wanted an online filing application,
Neff said, it would pay NIC development costs to build the application.
The company then might charge a convenience fee on top of whatever statutory
fee is associated with that service.
The Oklahoma contract also marks the first time NIC will be partnering
with IBM Global Services Inc., which will provide the software and hardware,
he said. In the past, NIC has purchased equipment from IBM.
The announced deal is welcome news for NIC, which earlier this month
cut back 40 percent of the staff at NIC Commerce, its e-procurement subsidiary
based in Reston, Va. The parent company, which manages transactions for
hundreds of state and local agencies, has been posting net financial losses.