Durham-based Intelligent Information Systems, a technology services company that focuses on government and private sector clients, is offering all 100 counties in North Carolina a free license to use its property tax tracking software.

Dennis Ellis, director of e-government solutions for IIS, says the software is a Web-based application that merges all of the property tax information kept by a county, and allows it to be retrieved by entering the name of a company or individual, an address or account number. It helps county workers keep better track of delinquent bills, current billings and other general information. County workers had been conducting most of their research via telephone before the IIS system was implemented, Ellis says.

“They say that since they installed the system in 1999, they have saved an equivalent of 9,000 man hours per year,” Ellis says. “And it has cut down on the amount of time government workers spend on the phone tracking down property tax information from about 140 seconds to 90 seconds.”

IIS views the offer as a way of giving something of value to the state where the company was created, Ellis says. But the move also is not entirely philanthropic. Counties that choose to use the application are only required to pay IIS fees for installing the software and for any future maintenance.

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, with the assistance of the North Carolina Institute of Government, is coordinating the effort between county governments and IIS.

Ron Aycock, executive director of the NCACC, says the collaboration will reduce the cost of administering property taxes across the state. “This initiative represents the true meaning of a partnership between the public sector and private enterprise,” he says. “It is unparalleled in all of my years in government.”

The first version of the system was developed specifically for Wake County, but throughout 2001 the counties of Bertie, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Catawba, Johnston, Madison, New Hanover and Wayne tested the application. The results of the eight-county pilot will be used to address the individual needs of any county that is interested in implementing the system.

ISS a growing firm at age 10

IIS has been operating in Durham below the radar of the media since 1992, but it has not gone unnoticed by the Triangle tech community. NCEITA recognized IIS as the top customer service company of 2001, and it made the North Carolina Fast 50, a list of the fastest growing technology companies across the state. Inc. Magazine also ranked IIS as of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S.

Founded 10 years ago by husband and wife team Shail and Sucheta Jain, both natives of India, the company claims to have a 100 percent success rate implementing its systems.

IIS employs 75 workers in Durham and another 60 in office located in India. The time differences between the two locations allowed IIS to virtually work on its property tax application 24 hours a day. The company has dedicated telephone lines and a network connection that directly link the two staffs, and they used video conferencing as the preferred method of communication, Ellis says.

“It made for some interesting communication issues,” Ellis says.