Connecting state and local government leaders
The state launched the iKan app as a way to make it easier for residents to renew driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations. A state official said it also ended up generating new revenue.
When Kansas launched its statewide services app iKan in 2018, officials hoped it would save residents a few frustrating trips to the local Department of Motor Vehicles. But the app also became a new source of revenue, said Lee Allen, the state’s chief information technology officer.
Through the creation of a single customer profile and payment system, the state was able to ask Kansans who used iKan to renew driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations if they’d also like to purchase other state services—like passes to state parks.
Since the app launched in April 2018, the state has sold more than 35,000 state park passes through it, which added up to $500,000 in revenue, Allen said.
“It’s a digital wallet for citizens,” said Allen, speaking at the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Allen highlighted the app during a presentation at the AWS summit as a way to improve government outreach and interactions with citizens, as well as provide government services in a more efficient manner.
Kansas City, Missouri-based company PayIt designed the cloud-based mobile government and payment platform technology, which is hosted on Amazon’s GovCloud. The company has created similar apps for 14 states, said Mike Wons, PayIt’s chief client officer and Illinois’ former chief technology officer.
Many of the state governments that use the technology initially expressed interest in using it to improve DMV services, Wons said.
“The DMV is a sweet spot for us,” he said.
But after governments see the technology in action, they find new uses for it in other agencies, Wons said. Some governments have used it to streamline business licensing, property tax payments, and improve access to vital records such as birth and death certificates, Wons said.
Other state and local governments using the app technology include Jackson County, Missouri, which is using the technology for property tax payments; and Florida, which launched the My Florida app in 2017 for vehicle and vessel registration.
More than 350,000 Kansans have created accounts on the iKan app and the state is processing approximately 60,000 transactions a month, Allen said. Based on the growth since the app’s launch, the state plans to expand its service offerings.
The rollout of the technology was not without some controversy. The app hit a snag when it was discovered shortly after launch that a security flaw made it possible for users to lookup other residents’ information, the Kansas City Business Journal reported. The flaw was addressed through the addition of two-factor authentication.
Kansas plans to expand iKan services through the Kansas Department of Corrections and to create a way for residents to renew REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses, Allen said.
“What it looks like now on the iKan platform, it will look very different one year from now,” Allen said of the planned expansion of services.
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.