Ky. portal will pay for itself

Commonwealth of Kentucky

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Kentucky has turned to an NIC Inc. subsidiary to build and manage the commonwealth's portal, which will be funded by transaction fees.

Under the two-year agreement, which has renewal options through 2013, the subsidiary, Kentucky Interactive, will host the state's 130 existing interactive applications and integrate current and future services into the new portal. The new portal will have personalization and customization features as well as a more common design across agency sites.

"We're hoping this will be a standard for us in the future," said Chris Neff, NIC's director of integrated marketing, referring to the length of the contract. "Kentucky has a very advanced government platform, and they have done a great job promoting enterprisewide government."

Kentucky is using a self-funded model in developing the portal, which is expected to be unveiled later this spring. That means NIC will pay for its development and recoup its investment by charging convenience fees for transactional applications.

Because many states are experiencing significant budget shortfalls, interest in using a self-funded approach or a hybrid model has increased. Within the industry, some agreements even include a revenue-sharing model.

Neff said the state's existing applications will not be part of the self-funding model, but they are targeting about 10 new applications within the year. "We're still working with them to identify all the available services that can be converted to self-funding," he said.

The state initiated a competitive bidding process last fall. Officials finalized their choice earlier this year, with NIC beating out IBM Corp., BearingPoint Inc. and Quilogy Inc., he added.

Kentucky becomes the 18th state portal the company will manage. NIC also operates enterprise portals for nine local governments.

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