MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
The Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) envisioned an eGovernment unlike any other. The agency’s forward-thinking approach culminated in the launch of the My Revenue service in 2017, an online platform that delivers hundreds of forms to citizens with an easy-to-navigate interface. The vision to provide multiple routes for citizens to access information ensures users of all technical abilities can connect with state government effortlessly. The My Revenue project team’s strategic concept extends beyond the front-end. With this new service, the DOR can self-serve, creating its own forms and content, saving tens of thousands of dollars annually in development costs.
The project team identified pain points, goals, and a minimum viable product. To bring the service to market more quickly, the group developed and implemented stakeholder-informed action plans. My Revenue was one of the first services built in partnership with Montana Interactive LLC (MI) that used the Agile Project Methodology during development. The project team met twice a week to identify requirements, prioritize the backlog, plan sprints, and complete development walkthroughs prior to user acceptance testing. Working in two-week sprints allowed the team to complete packages of code and testing while adjusting priorities as needed. This approach encouraged stakeholders and the project team to remain actively engaged, resulting in a product that addressed the agency’s biggest pain points and transformed government interaction for Montana citizens.
The project team identified core pain points occurring across divisions of the DOR, including:
A heavy reliance on paper forms.
Difficulty navigating the existing online library to find specific forms.
Citizens completing and submitting incorrect forms that were then manually processed by DOR staff.
The amount of time it was taking to build and publish online forms because of limited IT resources.
Goals were simple:
Create an intuitive service that provides citizens with a friendly user experience and directs them to the information they need as quickly as possible.
Develop a robust administrative site that creates efficiencies for DOR staff by reducing time spent processing paper forms and the technical knowledge required to create new web forms.
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNERS
DIRECTOR, MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
STATE OF MONTANA
PRESIDENT & GENERAL MANAGER
STATE OF MONTANA
The My Revenue project team selected three of the DOR’s most commonly used pdf forms with which citizens had frequent issues. The minimum viable product became the building of a service that would allow the problem forms to be converted to electronic forms citizens could submit online. To be successful, citizens had to be able to access the My Revenue website, DOR staff had to increase the number of forms available through My Revenue, and submissions had to continue to flow in electronically. Not one to sit idle, the project team continued to work closely with MI throughout 2018 to add functionality to the My Revenue service.
Now, instead of searching through a clunky website with little-to-no direction, citizens can use keyword and guided searches or an extensive form dictionary that can be filtered based on tags to identify the correct form in a catalog of more than 300 documents. Each form includes:
A summary page outlining the description and purpose of the form.
Links to current and previous versions of the form.
Qualifying questions to ensure citizens are completing the correct form.
Additional improvements include a single sign-on component allowing citizens to save progress, exit, return to drafts, and view past submissions.
The project team put the My Revenue service to the test after the Montana Senate passed a bill taxing medical marijuana providers. The law required the DOR to begin accepting tax payments, a mere five months after the release of the My Revenue form-creation enhancement. The agency successfully used the service to build the required tax forms and begin accepting payments by the mandated date. Through the service, medical marijuana providers access, complete, and submit the correct form, and select whether to conveniently pay taxes online or in-person with a voucher. In a sprawling state like Montana, paying online has clear benefits, especially since in-person payments for medical marijuana taxes are accepted only at a single location in the state capital. In the fall of 2017, roughly one-third of providers used the online service to complete a return, a strong adoption rate for the form's first quarter. More than 8,300 transactions were completed in the fourth quarter of 2018, however some of the 390 providers make partial payments, therefore the adoption statistics aren’t comparable to the first quarter of use.
Not only does My Revenue allow Montana government to better connect with citizens, but also frees up local government resources to address other areas and minimize technology costs. With the State slashing budgets to address expenses from a historic fire season in 2018, the cost savings are a welcome benefit.
The My Revenue project team transformed the citizen experience, creating measurable improvements in customer satisfaction: Users have accessed My Revenue more than 330,000 times since October 2017, submitting more than 11,000 electronic forms. Users primarily access the service on a desktop, but more than 15 percent use a mobile device or tablet – an indication that citizens are engaging with local government on the go.
My Revenue’s biggest innovation is found within the service’s administrative module. Developers implemented a form-creation platform, allowing DOR staff to convert paper applications to web forms at their own convenience. The capability eliminates the need for DOR staff to contact outside vendors to build forms, and updates to existing forms can be published within minutes rather than requiring a multi-week deployment. It’s also easy for DOR staff to configure web forms to integrate with Perceptive, the State’s preferred enterprise content management system.
Whether appealing a property tax appraisal, paying medical marijuana provider taxes, or requesting an examination of a DOR tax decision, Montana’s citizens and businesses expect government customer services to be efficient and intuitive, just like services from leading private-sector organizations. With its modern, streamlined, and responsive customer experience, My Revenue fits the bill.