Record Activity: How Local Governments Served Their Communities and Economies in 2020
Despite closures and work limitations, local and state governments processed hundreds of thousands of applications (called “records”) last year using OpenGov’s Citizen Services suite.
Many of our customers reported an uptick in residential permitting last year, and the data shows that 51% of records were completed by building, planning and zoning, and code enforcement departments. The other half of record activity represents the incredible effort by local leaders to keep their governments open for business and protect local economies.
In a year requiring innovation just to maintain the status quo, we’ve seen government departments get creative with our workflow technology. Health and fire departments used OpenGov to manage inspections to reopen restaurants (sometimes based on cocktail napkin sketches) and get their local economies humming again. We’ve seen local governments and state agencies adopt elegant workflows to distribute grants to provide economic relief.
In the OpenGov Citizen Services product suite, a “record” can represent a citizen’s application for a building permit to remodel their home, a restaurant owner’s plan for outdoor dining, or an entrepreneur’s registration to list their home as a short-term rental to take advantage of the “work from anywhere” movement.
Each OpenGov record is the beginning of a digital communication between a citizen and the key department staff, a workflow that ensures that community and economic development activities are safe, that they meet regulatory requirements, and that citizens have sufficient operational support from subject matter experts within the government.
What has enabled this tremendous work by our customers is leadership and collaboration across departments, a shared focus on the health and economic wellbeing of their communities, and a single software solution in the cloud.
Without cloud-based technology, paper- or desktop-based workflows stall even under the best of circumstances. “[Cloud] is something that allows multiple devices to access the system from different locations. It is web-based and doesn’t require someone working in the background to keep it going,” describes Bharat Gami, Chief Building Official for the City of Stamford, CT.
Cloud also makes software scalable and configurable, but more simply put it enables flexibility: “We can expand the platform to support other initiatives — distributing additional funding or more straightforward planning and permitting processes,” explains John A. Pulomena, County Administrator for Middlesex County, NJ.
Perhaps one of the lessons of 2020 was that cloud cover has a silver lining.
This spirit of making governments easy to do business with is a theme we’ll explore further in our next webinar on February 17, 2021, with Tammy Havard, CFO from the Town of Zionsville, Indiana, and James Farrell, CIO from the Village of Bolingbrook, Illinois. Click here to register for the event.