Utah’s push to put more government services online is saving more than trees, according to a recent University of Utah study that shows $46 million in cost savings to the state over a period of five years. Impressively, these savings were determined by studying only nine government services Utahns can take advantage of online.
The University of Utah’s Center for Public Policy and Administration examined cost avoidance in nine government services out of more than 1,000 government services that residents can do online instead of filling out in-person forms or through the mail. The services examined by U researches included high-volume ones like real-estate-license renewals, business registrations, tax payments, vehicle-license renewals and others. On average, researchers found that the cost per transaction to provide a service online was $3.91, compared to $17.11 to provide that same service offline.
For researcher Dianne Meppen, the study validates the assertion that more online services mean more savings to the state.
“In terms of potential, we know for nine services [$46 million] was the cost avoided by the state, so if it took into account all the services, we would expect great cost savings,” Meppen says.
Meppen and her fellow researchers were unable to examine some services since their online forms didn’t fall in the study time frame or some agencies have not been tracking cost avoidances.
Mark Van Orden, director of the Utah Department of Technology Services, says Utah has been ahead of the curve on putting more services online and getting more Utahns online to interact with their government.
“We’re far ahead of any other state,” Van Orden says. “We have 55 percent of our motor-vehicle registrations online, where the next highest state as far as we know is only 10 or 15 percent.”
To learn more about the study, visit the U's Center for Public Policy and Administration's site here.