To make the creation and operation of businesses more efficient and digital, Arizona has launched a platform designed to provide a one-stop shop for permits, applications, tax documents and other business-critical tasks.
The new online portal, called Arizona Business One Stop, reflects a broader move by governments to combine many businesses under one digital roof. The idea here is to bring different business functions (e.g. trademarks and tax ID numbers, etc.) into one centralized location, eliminating the often frustrating practice of sending users to other sites through pages full of links.
This means allowing portal users to use a single login for multiple sessions, even if they leave and return. The portal also offers what the state calls a “simplified application process” and a cost estimator, all through a single interface. It’s not just for new entrepreneurs, but for existing business owners who need access to information for business expansion, etc.
The effort so far has involved state agencies such as the Executive Department — credited with launching “one-stop commerce” — as well as the Secretary of State, the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Tax Department and the Arizona Department of Commerce.
“The vision is how to create an end-to-end digital experience,” JR Sloan, CIO of Arizona, told government technology. “We can guide you through the entire application process.”
The cloud-based platform, built in-house with a responsive design, is the same one Arizona uses for motor vehicle services, he said.
“We want to set the standard for the rest of the state’s work,” he said.
Sloan expects between 500 and 1,000 users per day to access the portal on particularly busy days, adding that with so many business-related permits and permits, the next phase over the next two years will include “contacting local municipalities” votes of these bodies.
The overall effort also includes what he calls a “white glove call center” where “guides are always ready to interact with users”.
Work on the portal began before the pandemic, including a 2018 feasibility study and McKinsey consultation, as well as journey-mapping efforts, he said. In the process, proponents of the project enlisted the support of various managers and departments, whose expertise and data were crucial.
Then came COVID-19, which brought the portal’s budget process to a standstill, ultimately costing supporters a year.
During the de facto hiatus, however, project proponents turned to the design experts at US Digital Response, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides public agencies with grant tracking, procurement evaluation, data analysis, and other free, Volunteer-driven service. In fact, a growing number of public agency technology leaders are looking to such groups to help with other digital projects.
“They helped us refine the model,” Sloan said of US Digital Response.
As for the lessons learned so far, he said the technical part was relatively easy compared to the management work.
“You’re stepping into someone’s backyard, into their territory,” Sloan said.
As for what he would have done differently, the answer came quickly.
“I will eliminate this epidemic.”
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