The Idaho Business Review reports that "A Boise software company that helped the state of Idaho build it's new $7 million unemployment insurance computer system is now trying to sell part of that service to other states. Last September [Idaho] switched over to a [browser]-based system called iUS. Department of Labor Director Ken Edmunds says the new system is the envy of some other states that need to update their own antiquated unemployment systems.
"Edmunds credits the computer system's success in part to Isaac Barrett, a former Labor staffer who now is a software architec with Netacent in Boise. 'Isaac is an architectural genius,' Edmunds said, adding that Barrett and Netacent's role was essential to developping iUS."
Building on this success, Netacent Inc. announced the completion of the first phase of their ICON Data Station product. ICON stands for Interstate Connection Network, the network that allows states to communicate unemployment insurance information to and from other states. The Netacent ICON Data Station is a softeware product that sits on top of this network, providing a rich set of functionality to hide the underlying complexity of ICON and allow users and state system to interact with the data in a much simpler, easy-to-digest format.
Architect Isaac Barrett explained the need for this system by saying, "It's a really important part of UI, but it's a really small part. Idaho's ICON services handle just 3 percent of jobless claims, but made up about 25 percent of the development effort for Idaho. Nationally [ICON has] been kind of a disaster for modernization efforts."
The ICON Data Station leverages the experience of Quinn Watt, the mastermind behind the successful Idaho ICON implementation in Idaho. Before becoming ICON Data Station Product Owner, Watt spent years working with Interstate at both the local level in Idaho and in Washington DC with USDOL. Watt is well known and respected in these circles.
Watt said, "During my time at USDOL, I saw the whole spectrum of how states do interstate communication – the good, the bad, and the ugly! During that time I developed my vision for what interstate UI could become. I knew that we could use technology to revolutionize the way states and Federal agencies do business with each other. As successful as the Idaho system was, I want something that all states can leverage. It is very important to me that this solution be something that a state can just drop in, regardless of what Tax or Benefits system that state may be using. They must be able to just hook it up and have it working without a whole bunch of drama and fuss. The ICON Data Station makes this vision a reality! The ICON Data Station is an automated, configurable, turn-key solution for states that handles the Federal and interstate obligations for states. They hook it up and it just works. Period."
Unlike the Idaho product, which is specific to that state, the ICON Data Station will be deployed using the Software As a Service (SAAS) model. Netacent President Gregg Tahmisian said, "The SAAS model will allow states to plug into the service and start using it very quickly. It is great for states no matter where they are in the modernization process. If they are on a mainframe, the ICON Data Station can connect to that and deliver value right out of the box. If states want to modernize, then ICON is a great first step along that path. If states already have modernized, but their ICON system isn't what they want it to be, our product can plug right in and their modernization investment just got better."
Future product updates as well as whitepapers can be found on the Netacent website under ICON Data Station.