Pa. eases business registry
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Apr 19, 2002
Hanging an "open for business" sign in Pennsylvania has become a little
The commonwealth is revamping a one-stop business registration Web site,
PA Open for Business (www.paopen4business.state.pa.us),
a service that automatically parcels information to the State, Revenue and
Labor, and Industry departments. Instead of a prospective business owner
filling out multiple forms multiple times with those agencies, site registrants
type in information once.
"We're the only state in the nation that interacts with three agencies
like that," said Marty Rupert, project manager. Since the site debuted in
September 2001, it has had more than 19 million hits and more than 2,500
Use of the site during normal work hours and nontraditional work hours
were "percentage points of being even," he said. "We nailed that part of
it: What constituents wanted access to government on their time frame."
Even with such success, Rupert said that commonwealth officials are
convening focus groups to improve the functionality and usability of the
site, which runs on Microsoft Corp.'s BizTalk Server 2000 and SQL Server.
Steven Halliwell, an enterprise strategy consultant with Microsoft Consulting
Services, said functionality would be added every three to six months. Planned
for early fall, the site will incorporate the company's .Net framework,
which would enable the application to run more securely, faster and with
fewer lines of code. "Users will definitely experience a big boost in the
efficiency of the site," he said.
Another feature will enable a customer to view and manage their records,
he said. For example, a registrant could change an office address, add additional
sales location, or apply online for a hazardous material permit. The state
also is investigating the participation of another dozen or so agencies
to share the same set of data, Halliwell said.
Other states are watching the site closely. Halliwell said several states
have asked to buy the source code so they could duplicate the service.