The system will also enhance report formatting, in which each report can cover specific periods, automatically compare data, and present the information in textual and graphical format, among other attributes.

These reports will help managers more easily find critical information, such as the 20 busiest hours over an 18-month period or whether 911 calls get answered in 10 seconds or less.

"This new system will give us one reporting system to make it a lot easier for our consultants to evaluate data and make better decisions in terms of funding," Nielsen said. "It really does improve efficiency for the state."

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of General Services, states would need to pay an installation fee and a monthly fee, Michanie said. The costs depend on the size and scale of the implementation, he said, but it works much like a telephone bill. Along with California, Oregon and Florida have been exploring the ECaTS solution.

"California was really a pioneer," he said. "Now we're taking it out to the country -- and wherever I present, jaws open, kind of like, 'Where have you been all my life?'"


Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer