Utah rolls out registration system

In about two weeks, Utah's Motor Vehicle Administration will finish implementing

a new system for its registration and titling services, a process that had

its roots nearly five years ago.

The new system, developed with American Management Systems Inc., eliminates

what was a paper-intensive process, reduces data-entry errors, and cuts

the time it takes to transfer or deliver a new vehicle title—which has

taken six to 12 weeks—down to five days.

Another benefit, said Viola Bodrero, the director of the state motor

vehicle department, is that law enforcement agencies can get up-to-date

information about registered vehicles. Previously, they had to wait until

information was input into the system from the paper-based process, she

said.

The state has 2.2 million vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks,

watercraft and off-highway vehicles, she said.

The state had operated a 1970s-era mainframe system that wasn't integrated

with the cashiering system, Bodrero said. Complicating matters was that

the agency, which is part of the Utah State Tax Commission, has 35 offices

throughout the state, some operated by counties. That meant paper forms

were mailed to the main Salt Lake City office to be processed. Those forms

moved through six stations until information was keyed in to the system.

"There were opportunities to introduce more errors," Bodrero said. Now,

customer information is keyed in to the system directly from the statewide

offices.

Five years ago, the state began looking for a better system. In 1997,

after a bidding process, Utah officials awarded AMS the contract. The state

has since paid the company about $14 million for the new system, which was

rolled out last April on an office-by-office basis. The last three offices

will be tied into the system in the next two weeks, she said.

Craig Lewis, a vice president with AMS' state and local division, said

that although other states have elaborate front-end systems, their back-end

systems are quite antiquated. He said integrating financial transactions

with the different offices and levels of government and converting the sheer

volume of historical data to a new system is quite complex.

Utah was quite "forward-thinking" in its approach compared with other

states, he said, adding that AMS and the state took about a year to understand

the business processes involved before creating the system.

Bodrero said the state has created a new unit for quality assurance,

transferring employees from the data-entry function. The state also plans

to test a limited version of the system at car dealerships and rental car

companies so that the vehicle registration process can begin even earlier.

Another application would be to send liens electronically to financial institutions

rather than on paper.

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