February 2014

The State of Arkansas partners with Fast Enterprises to bring its computer system into the 21st century


As part of its partnership with Fast Enterprises, LLC, the State of Arkansas has introduced a new computer system to handle its driver and vehicle services records. This solution grew out of Fast Enterprises’ implementation of the Arkansas Integrated Revenue System (AIRS), which in 2004 replaced Arkansas’ previous expensive and out-of-date tax computer system for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA).

The new computer system serves 135 revenue offices throughout Arkansas, and the number of users totals almost 1,000 and includes users from third-party external systems like law enforcement and AAMVA. The first statewide rollout of the Arkansas Integrated Revenue System – Driver Services Motor Vehicle (AIRS-DSMV), as the drivers and vehicle services part of the system is known, began in September 2012 with driver services. The second rollout, which occurred in September 2013, covered vehicle services.

The technology put in place, which is based on Fast Enterprises’ commercial FastDS-VS software, is a substantial improvement compared to the state’s previous system. “We had a 40-year-old COBOL-based system, and the developers were all retiring,” says Tonie Shields, administrator of the Office of Driver Services for the Arkansas DFA. “So we were at a point where we had to do something.”

In addition to new features like facial recognition that can help combat fraud, the system is also significantly easier to use than its predecessor. The new technology is web-based and has a graphical user interface that clearly guides users through the various processes the system performs. “We worked hard to make the screens as obvious and the user experience as consistent [as we could] so transactions happen the same way in every office,” says David Alderson, associate partner at Fast Enterprises.

“You can bring up the actual photos, and as you’re typing in data it will build the driver’s license, and you see the fields populate,” adds Ken Williams, administrator of the Office of Information Services for the Arkansas DFA, emphasizing how the visual nature of the system makes employees’ work more efficient. “It’s very intuitive and easy to work with. It’s much easier to program, too, which helps with cost savings.”

The new system is also well integrated across the various offices and agencies that use it. This helps make the court process easier both for ticketed drivers and court employees. “Courts that would normally send in their tickets or suspensions for state employees to put on the record can now interface [with the system]. [The court] employee can enter the suspension or ticket so that it’s on a driving record much more quickly,” says Shields. “A driver’s license can even be reinstated at the court level once that person has paid a fine. So it really increases efficiency.”