eGovernment in Action
- Offer online services to citizens
- Improve employee productivity
- Streamline communications
- Reduce operating costs
This county governs a population of over 1.3 million, and the County Executive oversees a government of over 40 individual departments and over 8,500 employees and faces the challenge of turning this county, the nation's first mature suburban community, into a model of smart growth and sustainable development for the future.
Although citizens were able to access information on static Web sites hosted by each of the county’s 47 individual departments, each site lacked a consistent look and feel and offered very limited online functionality for its citizens. Since changes to all the sites were handled by a single department, publishing updates became a bottlenecked process. In addition, many of the county’s internal processes were manual and paper-driven requiring a large number of county staff to find and key information into databases, process orders, log payments, and man phones to answer payment questions.
The county administration wanted to improve services for its 1.3 million citizens, improve its own business processes, and reduce operating costs. With its redesign organized around the citizen’s needs, the administration delivered a unified, personalized eGovernment portal, with services including payment of parking tickets, filing complaints for home contractors, purchasing public safety permits, investigating Medicaid eligibility, purchasing leisure passes, reserving golf tee times, applying for DPW permits, receiving automatic bid notifications, searching County bids, appealing property taxes, signing up for exams and submitting complaints.
Prolifics experts first assisted with a proof of concept and then helped with the design and development of the underlying eGovernment infrastructure that housed the various services and integrated the legacy applications. In partnership with a government services specialist, Prolifics completed the implementation effort and conducted a skills transfer program to enable county employees to support the system. Prolifics’ project roles included overall project management, high-level architecture and design, general system administration, content management and portal development.
The project included setup of development, testing and production environments, as well as use of a structured project methodology to provide milestones, acceptance events and ensure successful timely deliverables. The development and testing phase applied the principles of the Rational Unified Process (RUP) to ensure effective project management and source code management, as well as use of IBM Rational Application Developer for increased productivity. Through the use of IBM WebSphere Portal, IBM Lotus Web Workplace Content Management, IBM Tivoli and IBM Rational products, the project ensures a robust infrastructure with the necessary capabilities including content management, systems monitoring, collaboration, and security to support its value-add services. By moving from a legacy IIS and Microsoft NT server file-based environment to an open J2EE architecture, the county gained an open, standardized infrastructure while achieving maximum usability of existing assets.
The transaction-rich portal demonstrates that the county is a thought leader in eGovernment and an example of an administration that is on the forefront of exemplary practices in providing citizen services.