For local government, digital transformation starts with community development

Digital transformation may seem like just another IT trend that analysts like to discuss. The reality, though, is that digital transformation provides significant benefits to the first line of constituent service: local government.

Most importantly, it helps local governments meet the expectations of a connected constituent by supplying 24/7 access to online interactions, transactions and information available. This helps accomplish the real promise of digital transformation: making our day-to-day work more efficient and cost-effective. These expectations influence the IT roadmaps of governmental entities and drive the search for the best ways to use technology to improve the common transactions and interactions of everyday local government.

One of the most common areas of interaction is community development. With stakeholders that include homeowners, developers, business people, planners and residents, it is often one of the highest profile tasks your staff performs. And, with the potential for additional tax revenue, the need for additional infrastructure or the possibilities of additional jobs for the community, it’s a category of tasks that deserves tools that support staff and make the necessary approvals for projects convenient, efficient and transparent.

At times, we compete with other communities for new development (and the jobs and revenue development brings). Increasingly, a reputation for easy permitting, development and plan review can affect business location decisions. This can mean your community suffers if near neighbors have easier or more convenient processes to secure the necessary development approvals.

Quality development is a dream scenario for most communities. But putting together the pieces to create a seamless digital experience can be daunting and a minefield of potentially poor investments for communities with limited resources.

So how can you build a seamless community development experience?

The following list of tools can help deliver digital transformation to your community development:

  • An online presence – Having a website that allows users to apply for permits and licenses, pay fees and submit plans for review is essential to your transformation effort. Using tools like Cityworks and OnBase can be a quick way to secure these capabilities while leveraging their proven web-based tools.
  • A secure portal – An online gateway that allows users to authenticate, apply for permits and licenses and submit plans electronically.
  • Workflow and data – From information submitted via web, Cityworks and OnBase manage the data, content and workflows for these transactions. And because Cityworks PLL connects to OnBase Plan Review, data can be synced between the solutions, eliminating duplicative data entry and ensuring that permit and project status stays in sync regardless of which solution drives their daily tasks.
  • Content management – All correspondence, plans, photos, videos and other content is managed electronically, eliminating the paper that slows these processes down while securing content and project history. With digital document storage, you also keep this information available for the future whether that is for disaster recovery or for public safety and first responders.
  • Reporting – A key advantage of digital transformation and community development solutions is their ability to report on activity, provide insight into bottlenecks and ultimately report on work -in-progress in your community.
  • Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) – Seamlessly connecting the development effort to GIS solutions is another key way to report and analyze the effects and benefits of new and proposed developments in your community. To leverage the advantage of maps and their unique ability to tell a story, both Cityworks and OnBase integrate to Esri GIS solutions. This means your GIS solutions can ingest data and content managed by those solutions to form a more complete geospatial picture of your community. Mapping is essential technology for local government and the more data it can access, the more complete your mapping can be.

Transforming your community development effort should be driven by an online permitting and licensing platform that connects to the online submission of plans for review. This presents a convenient engagement option for your constituents and immediately offers a more efficient process for permitting licensing and plan review. This creates the potential for faster decisions and improved your customer service.

Unlike many web-based solutions, using Cityworks and OnBase means staff get the tools they need to manage data, processes and content all in one place. That eliminates low-value tasks that slow down processes and impact your customer service. And, because these solutions connect to Esri GIS, all of the data can be leveraged in different ways to help you manage the process and understand the development impacts.

The next time you hear “digital transformation” think transformed community development and use the potential of electronic and online solutions to drive the development of your community needs

Terri Jones

Terri Jones

Wondering what goes into a document management, ECM or content services deployment in government? Terri Jones, Hyland's government marketing portfolio manager, has your answer. In her 10-plus years in both state and local government, she's managed IT departments, implemented ECM strategies and written legislation and program policies. If that isn't enough to prove her IT expertise in government, she has also designed and implemented data systems and websites to manage compliance and funding in excess of $90 million annually. Have a question for her? Contact her at [email protected]

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