• Customer Case
  • Government Success: The Alabama Department of Revenue Revolutionizes Vendor Interactions in Just Seven Weeks with HSO and the Microsoft Power Platform

Government Success: The Alabama Department of Revenue Revolutionizes Vendor Interactions in Just Seven Weeks with HSO and the Microsoft Power Platform

Learn how an innovative automation-focused solution transformed tax form processing


Focused on establishing a tax system that is fair, efficient, and promotes economic growth, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ALDOR) is responsible for collecting taxes, administering licenses, upholding tax collection laws, and equitably allocating all state taxes. By effectively administering the state's revenue statutes, ALDOR plays a critical role in funding various government services and contributing to the state's overall economic health.


ALDOR was burdened with the manual handling of numerous tax forms required from vendors, which were received via email, along with requests, inquiries, and questions. This approval process was cumbersome and lacked standardization.

This process involved extensive manual data comparisons, barcode scans, and repetitive communications for discrepancy resolutions, resulting in long approval times and increased chances for errors. This process consumed considerable staff time and resources and was not sustainable.

With a pressing deadline for vendors to submit their tax forms for the upcoming tax year, there was an urgent need for a streamlined, scalable, standardized solution that would provide a structured portal that integrates diverse workflows and processes into a single, unified system. The new solution would also need to appeal to vendors so they would adopt it quickly and use it effectively.

"We needed to ensure that we could still meet the tax season deadlines and that any solution we implemented was scalable."

Virginia Neslein IT Project Manager, Alabama Department of Revenue


ALDOR dedicated significant effort to their search for a solution by conducting extensive research, which did not yield a suitable off-the-shelf solution. ALDOR’s IT Director heard about a low-code solution built using Microsoft Power Platform that was being utilized successfully by another state agency, which led ALDOR to consider Power Platform as a viable option.

Microsoft engages…and brings in HSO

Robert Washington, a Power Platform Specialist at Microsoft, began the engagement by discussing ALDOR's goals and showcasing the capabilities of the Power Platform. Following these initial discussions, Microsoft rapidly constructed a demo based on the high-level requirements provided by ALDOR. This demonstration captured the commissioner's interest due to its potential to considerably meet every requirement of a new solution.

Microsoft brought in HSO, an award-winning partner known for their quick response, robust solution delivery, and experience working with state and local government agencies, to lead the project. HSO was ultimately selected by ALDOR after demonstrating expertise in low-code solutions, as well as their demonstrated capacity to meet ALDOR's stringent two-month deadline.

HSO took a comprehensive approach, with the Application Platform team engaging in detailed requirement gathering, solution design, development, and deployment. This effort was aimed at standardizing and automating the tax form submission process, leveraging a mix of Microsoft Power Platform tools, Azure services, and Encodian Flowr (a 3rd party tool) for document automation. Leveraging HSO's Power Platform Delivery Framework, the Application Platform team executed the project cost-effectively and within the critical timeline imposed by the upcoming tax season.

Success through the power of low code

Thanks to Power Platform’s low-code capabilities and the HSO Application Development team’s expertise, HSO defined the project scope and constructed a new solution—in addition to training ALDOR staff—in just seven weeks:

  • ALDOR’s Barcode Tax Form Reviews are archived in a centralized database, eliminating the need to sift through emails.​ Microsoft Power Automate, Azure, and Encodian Flowr were implemented for barcode scanning and processing of tax form PDFs while ensuring Government Community Cloud (GCC) compliance.
  • Manual and Excel-based processes are now handled by Power Apps, using Dataverse as the database and a model-driven app as the interface, coupled with SharePoint for storing all tax form PDFs.
  • Management of vendor test templates and form submissions have been streamlined for improved visibility and historical tracking. The system used barcode scanning technology to automatically extract data from tax forms, reducing manual data entry.
  • ALDOR now has the capability to instantly access a complete history and status of vendor submissions.​
  • Employees can leverage Power Platform for internal use, enabling them to streamline less complex processes and create applications through low-code solutions and in-house training.​

This innovative solution won a 2024 Federal Tax Administration (FTA) Award for Innovation and Excellence in Tax Administration.

An evolving solution

While the solution that was originally delivered met ALDOR’s criteria within the designated timeframe, there were more opportunities to be explored. The original solution allowed the ALDOR team to review tax form submissions and conduct testing. Since then, the solution has evolved to include deeper functionality, including the ability to scan uploaded files' barcodes to retrieve data for testing purposes and support for additional business processes beyond tax form submissions, including vendor interaction through a portal:

  • Previously, submissions came in via email, but vendors now access the portal for test information, important documents, and tax season timelines.
  • Processes like vendor registration and submission of letters of intent (LOI) that were previously manual via email and PDF are now integrated into the portal with a form wizard that automatically populates a database with responses.
  • The solution reviews submissions to approve or deny access requests and manages additional contacts' access levels within vendor organizations.
  • Approved submissions trigger email invitations to new contacts or updates for existing users to access the portal.

The new solution provides a one-stop shop for all vendors to access their tax testing information.

"This transformation has significantly reduced manual processing of tax forms. Previously, it could take one to three days to provide feedback to vendors, while today, that same process can take as little as a few hours."

Virginia Neslein IT Project Manager, Alabama Department of Revenue


The implementation of the Microsoft Power Platform-based solution has revolutionized ALDOR's tax form processing:

  • Significant time and savings of thousands of person-hours previously dedicated to manual tasks—for example, processing of forms that previously took one to two days to process now take three hours on average, while other simpler forms that previously took an hour are now processed in just a few minutes—has enabled staff to focus on more strategic activities
  • Increased accuracy and user satisfaction through fast, automated validation and error notifications
  • Enhanced visibility and ownership for vendors through the portal
  • Improved communication via robust messaging and notification systems.
  • Immediate access to test results, significantly reducing turnaround time
  • Centralized platform for support management and issue resolution

In addition, automated tracking of submissions and emails, generating reports, and the ability to reprocess submissions were incorporated into the new system.

“Without the low-code Microsoft Power Platform Solution, we would have never been able to correct the tax form challenges in time for our 2024 Tax Season."

Virginia Neslein IT Project Manager, Alabama Department of Revenue

Looking Forward

By embracing innovative technology and collaborative partnerships, ALDOR is poised to significantly enhance its service delivery, operational efficiency, and stakeholder engagement, enabling them to fulfill their mission of promoting economic growth and ensuring a fair and efficient tax system. The solution's design allows for scalability and adaptability, meaning ALDOR can continue to improve and expand capabilities to meet evolving needs and regulatory changes.

Self-Service Portals for State and Local Government Departments of Revenue

HSO's Portal Solution for State and Local Government Departments of Revenue revolutionizes the way you interact with your external stakeholders. With this powerful solution, you can greatly reduce or even eliminate clunky spreadsheets, overflowing email boxes, and time-consuming phone calls.

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