INTEGRATING BEST-OF-BREED SOLUTIONS TO UNLEASH THE FULL POTENTIAL OF CITYWORKS PLL
Many of us today connect to the world through our mobile devices. We can see what’s happening at our front door even when we’re not at home. With just a few screen taps, we can purchase goods that are delivered the next day. Countless apps and services provide us near real-time updates on everything from weather alerts and sports scores to our daily routines and interactive hobbies.
Understandably, people also expect similar levels of service from their local governments. The most effective way for a municipality to meet this demand is through an integrated enterprise solution that engages residents, shares and collects information, and supports collaboration across departments. The City of Escondido implemented one such solution for its business licensing division and is in the process of implementing it in other departments.
Fueled by a strong economy, Escondido has experienced an influx of revitalization construction and new development. However, with roughly 2,000 new permits each year and 10,500 existing business licenses on an annual renewal cycle, city staff were struggling to keep up.
For years, Escondido has used Cityworks AMS and Esri’s ArcGIS as an end-to-end solution for asset management, with CitySourced as their customer-facing service request and community engagement solution. The city needed a similarly integrated solution for land management, community development, business licensing, permitting, inspections, and more. They also needed the solution to be GIS-centric.
“Our philosophy is to implement technology solutions that address the end-to-end workflows and customer-to-staff processing that produce information for data-driven decisions by leadership,” said Rob Van De Hey, Escondido’s director of information systems.
ENGAGING THE PUBLIC
Ultimately, the city decided to expand their current system—keeping ArcGIS as the foundation and using Cityworks AMS and PLL for work management and data tracking.
One of Escondido’s primary goals was to improve the efficiency of their customer interactions. To achieve this, they implemented Timmons Group PLL Portal, a public-facing portal that leverages Cityworks PLL and extended APIs and can be customized to meet an organization’s specific business needs.
The integrated enterprise system will ultimately allow for seamless communication across several different divisions: operations and maintenance, engineering, facilities, fire, planning, code enforcement, permitting, plan review, and business licensing.
It also puts the power of data entry and communication into the hands—and digital devices—of the public. Instead of calling or physically traveling to a city office, customers will be able to use the Timmons Group PLL Portal to submit applications, upload and download documents and plans, apply and renew business licenses, schedule appointments, and make payments.
The city expects to see an increase in compliance as a result of the easy-to-use customer portal.
“In the seven months since we launched the new platform, we’ve seen a 30 percent adoption rate among our customers,” said Van De Hey. “The data collected from the new system is already leading to increased efficiency, and it’s driving other improvements across the organization.”
The integrated solution will also incorporate Hyland OnBase for electronic plan review and document management. Hyland’s Electronic Plan Review (EPR) allows customers to submit plans electronically through the Timmons Group PLL Portal. Once the plans are received by the city, the Cityworks PLL workflow tracks the plan review process as multiple departments and reviewers work collaboratively on a single electronic version of the plan sets.
Comments, status changes, and notifications will be provided to the customer either through comments on the plans themselves or through standardized electronic communications—emails, text messages, Timmons Group PLL Portal updates, and CitySourced app notifications.
The collaborative workflow will drastically reduce plan review times. It will also eliminate confusion caused by multiple plan sets and will help keep applicants informed on the status of their project.
Because the integrated solution is built on the foundation of ArcGIS, city staff will be able to make fact-based decisions much more quickly and effectively. For example, city code requires that establishments applying for a liquor license be at least 1,000 feet away from any school. Thanks to GIS data, validating this requirement on a new application would take just seconds.
City staff will also benefit from mobile functionality available in Cityworks Respond 2.0 and the Cityworks mobile native apps.
“We wanted to give our employees effective tools for doing work when and where they need to,” explained Van De Hey. “Our field staff will be able to spend 20 to 30 percent more time out in the field completing inspections, working code enforcement cases, and interacting with customers electronically. We’ve already been able to handle higher workload volumes with existing staffing levels thanks to the efficiencies of the integrated system.”
Together, each of these best-of-breed solutions helps Escondido enhance its levels of service, increase efficiencies, and improve communication. By putting the right technologies into the hands of their employees and residents, the City of Escondido is connecting people and processes to build a vibrant, growing community.
Lou Garcia is a project director at Timmons Group. Contact him at email@example.com