County portal builds on Net success
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 29, 2002
Building on its successes of creating a high-speed, fiber-optic network
and providing free Internet access to its cities, townships and villages,
Oakland County, Mich., today launched a new enterprise portal that promises
to be more citizen-centric.
Officials said the portal (www.co.oakland.mi.us)
eventually will have a common look and feel for the county's 75 agencies,
and that site navigation will be easier. Users also will be able to search
content by subject, services or departments, they said, adding that county
employees also will be able to update information daily.
"We had been developing the Web [site] in an ad hoc way," said Phil
Bertolini, the county's information technology director. "All agencies looked
a little different [and] some had different logos on their Web pages."
The project began more than a year ago, when the county hired a firm
to determine the county's needs. The company conducted about 120 interviews
from the public and private sectors and among county agencies. That effort
resulted in a strategic direction for the Web site, Bertolini said.
Last spring, the county board of commissioners lent its support to the
initiative through a $980,000 appropriation, he said. Interwoven Inc., an
enterprise content management firm, was picked to build the portal following
a competitive bidding process.
Jim Taylor, the county's technical services chief, said Oakland County
also looked at 50 to 60 sites nationally and internationally and gauged
their strengths and weaknesses.
He said a top priority was for agency employees to be able to manage
content without having to go through the IT department. Because many of
the workers aren't Web-savvy, he said the technology and software had to
County employees, while having to be more diligent about keeping Web
content current, ultimately will benefit by having to handle fewer calls
from the public, he said. And with information updated frequently, the public
is more apt to revisit the portal, Bertolini said.
The agreement with Interwoven will enable the county to share the content
management technology with its cities, townships and villages at no cost
to them, he said. The technology also would be extended to the county's
Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System, the information-sharing
network of a consortium of law enforcement agencies in southeast Michigan,
so it can provide public information quickly.
The county also plans to integrate the content management software with
its PeopleSoft Inc. financials and human resources system. That way, the
county's intranet has a similar look and feel to the portal and employees
can get updated news and information about payroll and personnel matters.
The county's philosophy, Bertolini said, is "build it once, pay for
it once, and everybody benefits."
Early last year after building a countywide, fiber-optic network
the county offered its 61 cities, villages and townships free Internet
service and free e-mail accounts. About half the municipalities use the