June 17, 2004 By Government Technology
located in close proximity to planned taxpayer visits.
Since they were acquired in October 2003, the Gateway Tablets have aided in the overall success of the Comptroller's wireless initiative begun six months earlier. Now, with portable Gateway Tablet PCs in hand, enforcement agents spend more time in the field and collect more revenue.
"As the result of an increase of 13.5 percent in field hours through March 2004, we've collected additional revenue of $13,100,975," said Perez. Those results helped the state recoup its technology investment in record time, Perez said.
"In April 2003, we collected an additional $1,342,847, and in May we collected an additional $1,196,263," Perez explained. "So within two months, we had already collected the $1.5 million we had invested."
That quick return on investment and astounding increase in productivity among field agents led the Enforcement Division to begin adding components to the wireless solution.
Soon, division officials will roll out a GPS mapping system that will allow field officers to automatically plot daily taxpayer visits on maps stored in their Gateway Tablet PCs.
"What used to take an hour or more now will take a matter of minutes," said Perez.
New mapping capabilities also will automate mileage reimbursement for agents who used to spend tedious hours recording odometer readings and completing travel vouchers in order to receive reimbursement for mileage.
"The GPS will track the agents as they go through their day," Perez said. "At the end of the day, they can synchronize with their tablet and upload the data to our back-end system, and a travel voucher will be systematically printed for them."
Adding GPS capabilities will push the division even closer to its goal of "streamlining and automating whatever we used to do manually," according to Perez.
Those efforts generate more revenue and make the lives of field agents easier -- even seeing them through some extraordinary circumstances.
In February 2003, the division's Denton field office was unexpectedly closed because of exten?sive water damage. Though the new wireless solution was not completely developed, agents already were equipped with tablets, so they temporarily relocated to the local courthouse.
"This allowed them to continue to provide taxpayer service while the office was repaired," said Perez.
Similarly, when the division's San Antonio office experienced a power outage in April 2003, agents with tablets continued to collect payments and provide taxpayers with needed information.
"With wireless cards, agents are able to connect to our Web site and pull up statutes and rulings on the various taxes we administer," explained Perez.
One field agent from San Antonio also shared this story. "I was assisting in a full seizure, and we had a mistake on the 'Property Seized' report. But thanks to my tablet, I was able to print out a corrected copy right on the spot."
Now, with the help of their newer Gateway Tablet PCs, such success stories are the norm for a department that used to be burdened by mas?sive amounts of paperwork; long, unproductive office hours; and troublesome mapping and record-keeping requirements.
"The tablet computers have been great, and Gateway has been very nice to work with," said Perez. "We've had excellent service with them. We've been very satisfied."
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