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Ontario Business Connect

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Project Impacts
The time required to do a business name search, which was initially four weeks, is now five minutes, while the time to register a name shrunk from eight weeks to 20 minutes. This gain is especially beneficial for future businesses. Regarding the business name, a renewal is required after five years. However, it is estimated that about 12,500 businesses do not follow this rule. It will be a benefit to the Government when OBC starts sending reminding letters. Other new sources of revenue are expected, such as the sale of non-confidential information by the government.

A survey conducted with users (clients-citizens) in 1999 revealed a very high overall satisfaction rate (95 percent). However, the way in which the survey was administered was not explained and the survey was not given to non-users and people who started but did not go through the process. The survey revealed that people appreciate the possibility of filling out forms online because they are more accessible and time-efficient. However, the interfaces need to be improved to make them more user-friendly. A survey question also revealed that respondents are divided regarding the advantage of using these services through a private company.

The results are very good at the conceptual and logistical level, but the implementation is more complicated, especially at the interorganizational level. The learning curve is very steep and the implementation results are less than excellent. OBC does not implement as much as it could, because of the need for an infrastructure that will take time to build. The current conclusion of government leaders is that OBC successfully delivered the IT structure for the services centers, but since then it offers nothing further. Several IT developments are currently being considered to establish links with ministries' systems. However, results must be shown in the next few months. Otherwise, the current functioning mode could be put in question.

Beyond these crucial elements, the most important goal is to make the Ontario government the electronic administration best connected to its citizens. By recognizing that the design and conceptualization of a real integrated service-delivery architecture requires a long term investment, the Ontario government is finally taking the lead over other administrations on this journey without seeking the involvement of all the stakeholders in the community, public as well as private.