On Tuesday, August 15 the Ohio Business Gateway Steering Committee, chaired by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, held a pair of meetings related to the ongoing modernization of the Ohio Business Gateway (OBG). OBG is the primary source for business information, payment of a number of business taxes and other state services. The first meeting was comprised of business users and was coined as their opportunity to “kick the tires” of the new Gateway prior to it going live. This panel was able to demo the system and offer real-time feedback to developers. The second meeting was designated for the standing committee and other stakeholders to get a sneak peek. The modernization project began in September of 2015. Since that time, feedback from approximately 400 business user surveys was incorporated into the initial planning.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce was asked to provide a small business person to sit on the panel that was tasked with testing out some of the changes already in progress. Molly Bond, the Controller for Durable Corporation attended and “kicked the tires” of the newly modernized Gateway. After the two hour session Molly stated that, “I think it was unanimous among all the attendees that businesses and accounting firms are looking for minimal clicks and overall simplicity in the new website. It definitely looks like the project is headed in the right direction. The group leaders were great at answering our questions and very open to our input.”
The modernization of the OBG has been broken up into two distinct phases. The first phase, which is currently nearing completion, is dedicated to replacing the Gateway’s front-end. The front-end of the Gateway is what business users actually see. The primary element included in this phase is modernizing and improving the look and feel of the pages. The second phase, in which design sessions are set to begin this week, relates to replacing the back-end. The back-end of the Gateway is essentially the engine for the site as it controls how the system functions.
Here are a few ways in which the Gateway will be improved for business users:
- Wizards and tutorial videos will be accessible for assistance with the most common types of transactions
- Cases can be opened online rather than merely over-the-phone
- Administrators will be able to give specific access to other users with the organization
The Lt. Governor’s staff has been cautious to guarantee a date of completion, however, on Tuesday afternoon staff alluded to a likely late-November or early-December launch. It was also noted that businesses should start receiving readiness materials in the early fall. In the meantime, if businesses have thoughts, suggestions or feedback on the modernization project or wish to be part of a future business user feedback surveys please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.