State Division Wins Award for Online Filing Application

The division’s eForms Online application uses a platform provided by SimpliGov that allows businesses to submit their PDF document filings online to the secretary of state’s office. Before the application was rolled out, businesses had to submit the documents in person or via mail.

A division of the California Secretary of State’s Office has won a merit award for a new application that allows businesses to perform more transactions online.

The Business Programs Division of the secretary of state’s office (SOS) won the award last week from the International Association of Commercial Administrators, which held its annual conference May 12-14.

“I am extremely proud of this recognition,” said Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber. “During the pandemic, eForms Online has created a faster and safer submission alternative for businesses.”

The division’s eForms Online application uses a platform provided by SimpliGov that allows businesses to submit their PDF document filings online. Before the application was rolled out on SimpliGov’s platform, businesses had to submit the documents in person or via mail.

“I am very proud of our creative and talented team and honored to have been recognized by IACA this year,” said Betsy Bogart, chief of the Business Programs Division.

Gary Leikin, CEO of SimpliGov, said the award reflects state government’s commitment to improvement.

“Winning the IACA merit award for the eForms Online service highlights the California secretary of state’s leadership in continually providing more digital services for the citizens of California,” Leikin told Techwire.

Bogart said the remote-filing application was the result of a “very high” need created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of many in-person functions of state government.

“The SOS team developed eForms Online while exclusively teleworking, utilizing Microsoft Teams to collaborate and train staff,” Bogart explained in an email. “Given the experience the SOS team had developing the other Business Entities and Trademark online filings using the SimpliGov platform, this configuration went relatively quickly and smoothly. User acceptance testing was extensive,” involving about 200 staff members, 70 different forms and multiple workflow variations.

Development of eForms Online took about six months, Bogart said.

“There was process re-engineering and training the 200 staff to process filing submissions in a new way while continuing to meet businesses' expectations for high-level customer service,” she said. “Staff also had to learn Adobe Pro to add the required file stamps and other stamps to the PDF uploaded filings like those used on paper documents.”

In addition to SimpliGov and Adobe, the project included Elavon, a secure-payment processor.

Bogart said she was pleased on behalf of herself and her team.

“We are honored to have been recognized by the International Association of Commercial Administrators and chosen as a 2021 Merit Award recipient for our eForms Online application,” she said.
Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.