Minnesota preps services portal

By mid-March, the Minnesota state government is planning to unveil a customizable portal centered on services rather than departments and using an enterprise architecture approach.

That means laying down a comprehensive technology foundation that addresses various common and shared applications, such as a payment engine, as well as issues such as security and privacy.

In this way, state agencies can build upon a uniform platform rather than having to reinvent the wheel each time, said Reggie David, assistant commissioner for the state Department of Administration and head of the technology division. "We're building that on-ramp, getting the foundation in place and quickly adding to it as we get funding," she said.

Roundarch, which is spearheading the implementation, BroadVision Inc., which is supplying portal software, and Deloitte Consulting are jointly developing the portal (www.state.mn.us), which has a project budget of $1 million, David said.

Through citizen and small-business focus groups and phone surveys, the state identified 1,600 possible services it could offer electronically, she said. High on the list are information access, public health data, tourism and travel, registering to vote online, employment searches, online tax filing and all types of licensing, including driver, recreational and professional.

The state currently offers six online services, including tax filing. Although it has no plans to offer any new services with the portal launch, David said the state will have laid the foundation for its more than 100 agencies to continue to add services as funds become available.

Simon King, BroadVision's vice president for advanced strategy, said Minnesota's enterprise architecture approach is "very early thinking." Within the next five years, he said states will focus on becoming government service providers, meaning they will share services and applications with some nongovernment agencies and small businesses to become more efficient.

After Minnesota's portal is launched, King said the state would continue to solicit citizen feedback via the Web and possibly make further changes.

In other news, Vermont (www.state.vt.us), which signed a two-year deal with Chicago-based Anexsys LLC last fall, also will unveil an e-government Web portal soon. Internet tax filing will be one of its first major applications.

New Hampshire (www.state.nh.us), which announced an agreement with New England Interactive, a subsidiary of Overland Park, Kan.-based NIC, a month ago, will pilot two online licensing applications as a first step in launching more e-government services.

It's the first time NIC will become an application service provider, hosting the services from a data center. Estimated project cost is $425,000, and up to 18 additional license and renewal services could be developed on a fee-for-service basis.

The Rhode Island state government announced the launch of its customizable portal (www.RI.gov) Jan. 9, which also was jointly developed by New England Interactive. In the coming year, the state plans to add several online services, including registration renewals for motor vehicles, boats and snowmobiles; vanity plate availability searches; fishing licenses; and beach parking permits.

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