PROBLEM/SITUATION: Arizona's Motor Vehicles Division had 20-year old business practices and three separate databases.

SOLUTION: Reeingineered business processes and a single integrated database.

JURISDICTION: Arizona Motor Vehicles Division.

VENDORS: KnowledgeWare, IMS, IBM, Symbol Technologies Inc., CACI Inc., Lau Technologies, Intersolv.

USER CONTACT: Tim Wolfe, project director for the Enterprise Project of ADOT, 602/255-8966.


By David Aden

Contributing Writer

In 1990, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) of the Department of Transportation began to examine how it was doing business to find ways to provide smoother, faster service to its customers. Initially, the focus was on how to automate. But to intelligently design and implement automation, the agency first needed to review its existing 20-year old business processes. It didn't have to look too far to find problems. Each of the department's three areas of operation -- driver licensing, vehicle registration and revenue collection -- had its own computer system, none of which talked to the


"If you came in and got a new driver's license and updated your address, that was reflected on your driving record but not on your vehicle registration," said Tim Wolfe, project director for the Enterprise Project for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Examining the existing processes was not a small feat. In fact, MVD spent nearly a year building a formal business model. "The model was used for a formal reengineering," said Wolfe. "It had about 1,400 business processes documented. Often the same process was being done for all three areas. We looked at how we were doing business and how things could be done better."


The extensive modeling effort paid off. Staff identified nearly 2,000 improvements in the department's processes, which led to several major changes in how the agency operates. Although the modeling used KnowledgeWare's CASE tool, the MVD found KnowledgeWare inadequate when it came time for developing the applications, requiring a midstream move to Intersolv's CASE tool.

The first major change involved installation of new point-of-service systems. Previously, all daily balancing was done manually. MVD employees kept track of how many licenses and registrations they handled by making tick marks on a piece of paper. At the end of the day, they totaled the ticks and worked out how much money should be in the drawer.

The new system keeps track of how many customers were serviced and how much was received in cash, checks and other forms of payment and displays this information for easy balancing. Gone are the scraps of paper with tick marks.

The new system is expected to save or make the state money in several ways. For example, requiring frequent driver license renewals for drivers with good records -- who are the majority -- was a hassle. According to Wolfe, every time someone walked in to renew their license, it cost the state money. To help fix this, MVD moved to a system in which drivers can renew their licenses by mail after four years; after another four years they have to come in for the renewal. This helped, but didn't go far enough, so legislation was passed to make driver's license applications a one-time affair, unless the license is suspended or revoked for DUI or other offenses.

"In the past we tied driving privilege to the piece of paper in their pocket, which is a falsity," said Wolfe. "Now the driver's license is for ID purposes and the right to drive lasts until you're 60. If they're a good driver and don't have any problems, we don't want to mess with them and they don't want to be hassled by coming back to our office. At 60 we go back to a five-year license and eventually back to a one-year license. This change will make

David Aden  | 
David Aden is a writer from Washington, D.C.