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Secretary of State’s office rolls out new business software

photo of sos software

The new portal to the business services portion of the Secretary of State’s website. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

Saying it would bring the business portion of his office into the 21st century, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced new business filing software.

“We’re ready for business at the speed of business,” he said.

photo of lawerence denney

Lawerence Denney, Idaho Secretary of State, announced on Oct. 9 that his office was implementing new business software. Photo by Sharon Fisher

The SOS Enterprise software, produced by Tecuity, in Hyde Park, Utah, had a soft launch on Oct. 1 to help the office find and iron out any wrinkles, Denney said.

“Previously, it was a very manual process,” with each document getting “touched” by a human up to 14 times and the entire process taking up to three weeks, he said. In addition, the business owner now enters the majority of the data, which improves security, efficiency and accuracy, he said.

Cleveland Corder, who was registering his new Garden City-based real estate business Team Corder, praised the new system, saying it was faster than the previous process, which he had used to register previous businesses. In particular, he liked being able to search online for other business names already in use to make sure his was unique, he said.

People who already have businesses registered in Idaho do have the additional step of having to create a login ID and associate it with their businesses, which caused some hiccups, Denney said. However, it increases security, which is important because business owners will now be able to pay fees online with credit cards, the office said.

Chad Houck, deputy secretary of state. Photo by Sharon Fisher.

The Secretary of State’s office was forced to upgrade because its existing software, which was largely custom written, was based on the Sybase database. Sybase was acquired by SAP in 2010. The office went through a requirements process and issued a request for proposal in 2016. It received five submissions, said Chad Houck, deputy secretary of state. Tecuity, at $2.2 million – which includes software support for four years – was the lowest bidder, but also met all the requirements, he said.

Good online support for businesses is important because the Secretary of State’s only office is in Boise, Denney said.

“It’s a benefit for those who live in Montpelier or Bonners Ferry,” he said.

Using the website, businesses can perform functions such as filing a new business, assuming a business, adding amendments, filing an annual report, and registering trademarks or service marks, he said. People who don’t want to fill out forms online can print out a form that contains a barcode, which the office can scan, he added.

The software uses the Structured Query Language database technology and stores data in the cloud using Microsoft Azure Government, which offers a higher level of security than Microsoft Azure, Houck said.

“The eventuality is we will move from a resident, in-house hardware-based system to a cloud-based virtualized system across the entire office,” he said.

The office will release a second phase of the software in late December to implement features such as Uniform Commercial Code, which lets the office handle liens, as well as national and international identity authentication, Houck said. In addition, it will handle other aspects managed by the Secretary of State’s office, such as the state will and healthcare directive registries, he added. The software is being released in two phases to make the implementation more manageable, he said.

Tecuity is one of the three major companies that provide software for Secretary of State offices, Houck said. It offers a number of modules, some of which are used by states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, according to the company’s website. PCC Technology Inc., based in Windsor, Connecticut, is used by a number of other states, including New Mexico and Washington. Idaho is using one of the most complete implementations of the Tecuity software, he said. The third company, Foster Moore, based in Auckland, New Zealand, is used in the U.S. by Montana, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as in a number of other countries.

The Secretary of State’s office is in a five-year, $4 million process of updating its election management software as well, with the vendor Tenex Software Solutions Inc. Tecuity also competed for that RFP but did not win it.

About Sharon Fisher