Georgia portal driven by Sun

Georgia officials recently signed a $7.3 million contract with Sun Microsystems Inc. to develop an enterprise portal that uses a Web services architecture that will mean greater interoperability among state agencies and integration of current applications.

Sun's Web services architecture allows use of XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), enabling the state to integrate and link its legacy systems, rather than replace them. The platform also allows the state to use new standards-based products and emerging technologies from other vendors.

As is the trend among portals, Georgia's will be intentions-based for residents and businesses — meaning it will be organized around services and information that users want — rather than agency-based.

Several Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety applications are being developed in conjunction with the portal. A projected 400,000 residents are expected to use driver's license renewal applications — online and via interactive voice response channels — slated for a July launch.

Other DMV applications include being able to take a written driver's test, renew tags and check traffic conditions. Sun selected Atlanta-based EzGov Inc., which specializes in technology for governments, to provide the motor vehicle applications.

"We're trying to demonstrate how the portal can change the way average people do business with state government," said Michael Clark, spokesman for the Georgia Technology Authority (www.gagta.com), which awarded the bid. "And because of the frustration that's been voiced in newspapers and in television reports about the long lines at driver's license offices, that was an almost obvious first step for it."

Through a complex bidding process that had 38 bidders competing in 21 categories, Sun emerged the winner with the highest technical score in 16 of the 17 categories in which it competed. The contract includes $5.6 million for integration services and $1.7 million for 11 Sun software products.

In a second phase, GTA has requested $8.7 million to help caseworkers from state and local governments and nonprofit agencies better deliver children and family services through a seamless system, according to a press release.

In other state portal news, Gwinnett County (www.co.gwinnett.ga.us) in Georgia launched a new site, developed by BroadVision Inc., as part of a five-year IT initiative to deliver more e-government services to its residents.

New Mexico (www.state.nm.us) recently selected Vignette Corp., in collaboration with IBM Global Services, to develop a constituent-centered portal that will be rolled out in several phases. The state also will develop an open platform.

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