A press release issued Jan. 17 by the Governor's Office:
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State of Connecticut’s official — www.ct.gov — which operates as a portal to every agency in state government, will soon undergo a major modernization process under a self-funded plan that will increase usability, customer service, transparency and access for its visitors.
“The state’s official website was created almost 20 years ago,” Malloy said. “Since that time, many best practices have been established and new technologies that dramatically increase usability have been created. By utilizing this self-funded plan, we are going to modernize the way state government interacts with its citizens and put a process in place that will ensure the state’s online presence continues to keep up with technological advances.”
The CT.gov homepage – re-designed to function on computers, tablets and mobile devices – will be streamlined and organized towards specific users’ needs.
The plan is to modify each state agency’s website by creating new interactive services previously unavailable on the state’s portal. With this innovation, Connecticut residents may soon be able to use the portal for a number of possibilities, such as submitting a smart phone picture to document an unsafe condition, taking a mobile practice driver’s license exam, applying for a fishing license, finding the nearest government office or polling place, renewing a business license, or even quickly accessing needed information from government databases.
The possibilities include any interaction that a member of the public may have with any state office.
Through a competitive bid process, the state has signed an agreement with Connecticut Interactive, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NIC, Inc., to design and manage the web portal.
This unique public-private partnership allows the portal to be developed and operated without tax dollars. Funding for the program is generated through modest efficiency fees that are applied to a small subset of the online services, specifically those that fulfill specialized requests by bulk purchasers of government information, such as motor vehicle driver histories. This type of structure is used in over half the states in the nation to satisfy the growing demand for online services.
The Governor said that the website will be specifically developed with an eye toward making the user-experience for businesses in the state easier and more interactive. A top priority is to launch a new Connecticut Business Portal that consolidates the various business-related solutions provided by different state agencies and introduces many new services that make it easier for the private sector to form, operate and expand businesses in Connecticut.
“There is a wealth of important public information housed in many different state agencies,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Connecticut’s Chief Business Registrar. “Anything we can do to centralize the information we have in state government and make it more accessible online to the public, and more importantly to the entrepreneurs who start businesses and create jobs in Connecticut, is something we should all support. This major upgrade of our online presence will truly take e-government in Connecticut into the 21st Century.”
Mark Raymond, the state’s Chief Information Officer, said, “This agreement increases our focus on the businesses and citizens of the state, making it possible to conveniently do business with the state on whatever device you have and at whatever time of day you wish.”
Launch of the project will occur in stages throughout the year, with the Business Portal being a top priority.
“The business portal will be a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate resource for companies, site selectors, economic development professionals and anyone else interested in doing business in Connecticut,” said Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith. “Our primary focus will be to design the portal from the perspective of the user. We want visitors to find what they need, even if they are not exactly sure what they are looking for.”
NIC is the nation’s leading provider of official government websites, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. It has successfully provided services to over 30 states in the nation, including Maryland, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine and Utah.
The company will open an office in Hartford and expects to hire 10 to 12 technology, marketing, and project management professionals with many coming from the local market.