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Saturday, May 27, 2017

NIC- The People Behind the Government-Nomad Aries reporting...





  NIC is a company that designs, implements, streamlines and manages electronic business solutions for local, state and the federal governments of the United States of America. The CEO and chairman of the board is Harry Herington.  NIC describes their business as that of public servants because they enable governments to be more accessible and user friendly to their constituents.  NIC's  slogan is “ Making Good Governments Better”.

 Often, the complaints about government processes are;  they are too slow, tedious , generate reams of paperwork and are too complicated for the average person to negotiate.  NIC aims to streamline government processes to reduce wait times, travel to different agencies, time constrictions, reduction in  volumes of paperwork and make business with the government more user friendly and accessible.
Everyone in business knows time is money and streamlining these processes saves money for the government and the people. NIC does not use public money or money generated by taxes to provide any of their solutions, it is a private company that was listed in Forbes magazine as one of the top 100 successful small businesses in 2014.
 Technology has changed the way people and businesses act with government agencies. NIC has taken advantage of technology by integrating government processes so anyone can access government portals from their computer or phone in real time. 
One example of the type of integration of government forms can be found in the Arkansas Scholarship portal.  A person can use their computer to access the portal and once there, they will be prompted to enter certain information about their qualifications. After entering the information the site brings up all scholarships that match the information and gives you only the ones you qualify for. You do not have to be tech savvy to use the portals, they are user friendly.  Arkansas has found that more people can attend college because they now can easily access the scholarship programs that apply to their particular needs.

How Do the Use of the Government Portals Improve the Average Person's Business with Government?

  Through government portals a person can access their local, state or federal governments. All someone has to do is enter the information they need into a search bar or click on a topic. You will be directed to the web page and you can begin entering your information, depending on your need, you will be able to ; fill out government forms,register to vote in an election,  pay property taxes, pay traffic fines, car tag fees and even fill out the required documents to start a new business.

The new business start up page is a Onestop application that combines all the different forms from the five agencies needed and you can pay the fees right away.  Onestop has reduced the wait times for new business approval from a ten week waiting period , down to two days. Utah, has a wizard approach on their new business app that recognizes the key forms necessary for certain businesses so it will bring up all the necessary forms to be filled out. New businesses generate income for the state and hire workers. Making it easier to start new businesses has helped boost local and state economies.

 The list of available services will vary from state to state . All are available online but currently only some are available on mobile application to your phone.  NIC is working to get all apps available on all phones in the future and applications , once available are free. 



  In the state of Indiana , Law Enforcement is using an app for temporary plates on vehicles. In the past, there was no way for an officer to know from the temporary plate on a vehicle, if it was stolen from a dealership or involved in any crime.  With the Temporary Plate Check App they are able to access all information on the vehicle with the temporary plates and know if they are approaching a dangerous situation.  All officers in Indiana are equipped with a laptop inside their vehicles.

There is also a mobile bus safety inspection application available to police officers.  An officer can inspect buses transporting school children.  Should an officer find an infraction they report it with the application and also check to make sure the repair has been made. This has resulted in fewer buses breaking down and buses are being repaired more quickly ensuring greater safety for school children.


NIC in SecondLife

NIC is located in SecondLife at NIC - http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/eGov/130/129/23 .
 The sim is comprised of three main buildings; The Corporate Head Quarters, The Hall of States and the Innovation Building. 

  Corporate Headquarters
In this building you will find the Lobby ,The auditorium , gift shop and corporate offices. The auditorium is used for shareholder meetings and company meetings. The offices are for sales and monitoring state portals.  The building resembles the NIC building in real life.





The Hall of States


The Hall of States is where you can find the portals.  Inside this building there are huge interactive maps of the United States and on those maps are the states.  You can click on a state and your web browser will open to that State's webpage.  The webpage will either be a search bar asking what you wish to find or tabs to click on to , for instance, pay a property tax bill or get tags for your vehicle. It will prompt you as to what county you reside in .  You can also pay traffic fines from these portals.
As previously mentioned ,the services available depend on the state .You can apply for hunting licenses in states like Arkansas and Mississippi and regardless of all the forms needed you only have to fill out the information once.



Is it Safe to use the online portals for money transactions?
 Yes it is as safe as it can be. NIC handles government money and accounts, for this reason they have a full department of accountants and lawyers to constantly check transactions. They are trained to look for fraud or scams and monitor sites constantly. When a portal is set up for an agency this team makes sure payments can be made across multiple channels, build custom check out pages, and check to make sure all portals are in compliance with convenience rules, security and the PCI council and report refunds and chargebacks.

Through these portals you can also see where money has been allotted through the state budget -where and how your tax dollars are being spent.
There is also another portal where you can click on any state and it will give you the population of that state. 






The Innovation Building


The Innovation building is where the “next best thing” is produced.  It is a place where like minded creative thinkers come up with the next application and how to apply it across all media.  This is where the bugs get fixed and all apps must work in all media before they are adopted and put into practice at NIC.
 Inside this building are conference rooms, group huddles and labs to discuss and test new information.
This is a recreation of the real life group in production at NIC. These are the people who come up with a way to integrate more features into their existing apps along with new ones to reach more people .  Essentially NIC is doing on SL exactly what they do in real life and all other media . NIC using all media , facebook, twitter and youtube for all their apps.  The virtual world is just another medium that NIC is using to make government more accessible to more people at all age ranges. 









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