The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division challenge
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The Arizona Motor Vehicles Department wanted to increase productivity and improve customer service without sacrificing accuracy or increasing costs.

The resolution was to replace teller-based processes by creating a Website with dial-in services for automobile registration.

The Arizona MVD provides numerous vehicle-related services to the state’s residents, including vehicle registrations for individuals and businesses, drivers’ licenses and license plates, and access to vehicle and driving records. Last year alone, the MVD processed 2.6 million vehicle registrations, and that number is increasing 13% annually.

Visiting a MVD office to renew a car, truck or motorcycle registration can be frustrating and time-consuming. As lines of customers inch slowly toward the service windows, a task that should take minutes can stretch into an hour-long ordeal. This teller-based registration process not only wastes the customers’ time; it places a heavy burden on the MVD’s staff. The challenge for the Arizona MVD was to improve customer service without sacrificing accuracy or increasing costs.

Recently, Arizona residents were freed from waiting in line by a new system called ServiceArizona. The service includes a Web site for vehicle owners with Internet access, as well as a dial-in registration service.

The ServiceArizona Web site gives residents an easy, five-step process for renewing vehicle registrations. They start by logging on to the site and submitting a renewal request. The request is routed from the Web server to Arizona MVD’s data processing center over AAMVAnet, a nationwide motor vehicle telecommunications network that helps all government agencies share vital and time-sensitive motor vehicle information.

The information is confirmed and displayed back to the requester, along with the fees for one-and two-year renewal periods. The user then chooses the renewal option, pays the fee by credit card and can view and print a receipt. Users also have the option to provide feedback on the service by completing a short survey.

Credit card authorizations are verified online, as are various renewal prerequisites, such as passage of the emissions tests. This ensures that all the conditions for renewal have been met prior to MVD approving the request. Online verification also enables the vehicle records in the MVD’s central database to be updated in real time, thus providing residents with immediate proof of registration renewal and ensuring that local law enforcement agencies obtain the actual registration status of any vehicle they inquire about.

In addition to renewing registrations for single vehicles, businesses can perform fleet registration renewals through ServiceArizona. Residents can also use the service to request specialty license plates.

ServiceArizona leverages a wide range of IBM software, hardware and services.

At the IBM Global Industries data center, an IBM RS/6000 server is dedicated for phone-in renewals, with IBM DirectTalk providing interactive voice response in both English and Spanish. A second RS/6000 system functions as a Web server, while IBM e-network Firewall runs on the third RS/6000 server, protecting the back-end systems from unauthorized entry and ensuring the integrity of the packets containing registration and financial information. An IBM RS/6000 SPTM server is used to route information to both the MVD data center over the AAMVAnet and to the vehicle owner’s financial institution for credit card processing. Ongoing support from IBM Global Industries ensures that all IBM hardware and software used in this application operate seamlessly.

For people who have waited until the last minute, ServiceArizona is a salvation. Because the renewal takes effect as soon as the transaction is completed, ServiceArizona saves procrastinators the $8 late fee charged by the MVD – as long as they registered by midnight on the due date.

“ServiceArizona is popular with our residents,” says Arizona MVD director Russell Pearce, “because it gives them a convenient method for renewing their vehicle registrations. It also costs us less. Processing an online request costs only $1.60, compared to $6.60 for an over-the-counter transaction – a saving of 76%.”

In ServiceArizona’s first year of operation, the service was used by approximately five per cent of the state’s residents, who gave it a 99% positive rating. The number of users is expected to increase by approximately 500% over the next year as more residents become aware of the service. If this projection is correct, Arizona MVD will realize an annual saving of approximately $1.2 million.

“Once people understand that renewing their vehicle registration over the Internet is convenient, safe and immediate, we predict that it will become the most popular way to register a vehicle,” explains Jim Douglas, assistant division director for strategic planning and special projects at the Arizona MVD.

Arizona MVD is working with IBM to enable online ordering of duplicate driver’s licenses, and plans are in the works to allow recording of sold vehicle notices as well as access to motor vehicle and driving records. The MVD predicts that once these services are easier to obtain, the volume of requests will increase – further reducing wait times and generating additional revenue for the state.

With the growing popularity of ServiceArizona, the MVD is confident its IBM infrastructure can meet the challenge. Craig Stender, director of the special projects group for the Arizona MVD, pointed out, “IBM’s integration of the Web site with our back-end systems has automated much of the vehicle renewal process. So we can support a growing number of online transactions with the same staff size. We currently process 25,000 online transactions per month, but we could easily handle many times that number.”

Since 1993, Arizona MVD has successfully partnered with private entities to offer value-added services to the public, especially when these services involve simple, routine, repeat transactions. In this application, the Arizona MVD required a third-party partner that could not only develop and manage the Web application, but also provide interactive voice response (IVR) telephone renewal services and develop stand-alone renewal kiosks for placement in MVD offices and other locations.

According to Douglas, IBM was the only company with the technical capability and inclination to fulfil all three requirements. “IBM won the contract with Arizona,” Douglas noted, “because they were willing to evaluate several different electronic mediums, make the necessary investment to establish electronic service delivery channels at no cost to the MVD and participate in the marketing and advertising costs.”

Penny Martucci, assistant division director in charge of the Competitive Government Partnership Program, added, “IBM offered a wide variety of services and went out of its way to build a solid working relationship. In the last 25 years, I’ve worked with many contractors, both large and small – none offered the high level of personal attention that we received from IBM.”

Because of positive recommendations from the state of Arizona, IBM was recently awarded contracts to manage similar projects for the states of Arkansas and Louisiana. ServiceArizona has also drawn national attention from federal and state agencies hoping to repeat the logistical and financial success of the partnership between IBM and the Arizona MVD.

Douglas concluded, “Because of IBM, people now look at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division as being more advanced, an agency that gives choices to its customers.”


Arizona Motor Vehicles Department



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