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With a population of 95,310 according to 2019 U.S. Census data, the City of Fishers is one of the fastest growing communities in Indiana. To keep up with growth and development, the City needed to update its obstinate permitting, licensing and code enforcement software. This meant transitioning to a software that was flexible and simple enough to configure across a variety of services.
Before adopting OpenGov, the City worked with a third-party vendor to customize a platform that allowed public users to submit permit applications, but Business Analyst for the City of Fishers Gerrod Franklin noted that what was lacking from their legacy system was “the ability to keep it updated and modern.” Franklin acknowledges that OpenGov provided the City a way to stay on top of various changes to meet the needs of both constituents and staff.
“OpenGov has been a terrific platform to support multiple elements of the City’s growth — from the health department, to permitting new development, to planning for new services like 5G — Permitting & Licensing helps us stay on top of the things that matter,” describes Franklin.
When the City of Fishers initially went about selecting a new solution to streamline its processes, specifically for planning & zoning, the team built a functional requirements document detailing the necessary attributes of a platform that could help its staff work effectively and efficiently, while improving the customer experience for constituents. Through this rigorous process, the team ultimately selected OpenGov Permitting & Licensing. After providing contractors educational sessions and speaking with them personally, the new platform was “very well received” both externally and internally because of its intuitive nature and a seamless transition from hard copy applications to online applications for residents and businesses.
Due to the overwhelming positive feedback and the efficiency gains on the backend in time savings, the City decided to expand the use of the OpenGov Permitting & Licensing suite. Today, eight departments utilize the platform, including the planning & zoning department, the permitting & inspections department, the police department, the fire department, the department of engineering, the department of public works, parks & recreation and, most recently, the health department.
“I would consider OpenGov a one stop shop for all things that need to be automated,” said Franklin. He continued, “as far as the different departments using the platform, the sky’s the limit. We already have interest from other departments and with the system being so flexible, we have opportunities right at our front door.”
Fishers Business Solutions Group Director Jennifer Pineda echoed Franklin’s enthusiasm for OpenGov’s flexibility saying, “we are excited to continue to leverage the OpenGov platform in unique ways for a variety of our City departments. We appreciate the ongoing enhancements, integrations and roadmap communication OpenGov makes available to its user community. It allows us to efficiently and innovatively solution workflows in ways that were not previously available.”
Integrating these various departments into the OpenGov platform has allowed for increased collaboration, cross-functionality and, most importantly, the aggregation of impactful data.
“We were able to provide monthly and weekly reports with all of the information we collected using OpenGov,” said Franklin.
Combining these data streams across multiple departments to create one source of truth was powerful for Fishers. It enabled the City to see inefficiencies, which raised meaningful questions, leading to quality conversations and, ultimately, positive changes and solutions.
“Having that insightful data helped us make more proactive decisions on the business side of things. For example: Do we need to hire another inspector or another plan reviewer?”
Gerrod Franklin, Business Analyst for the City of Fishers
When the City decided to form its own health department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was going to have to invent new processes and workflows to integrate health services on the local level, which meant executing the responsibilities formerly fulfilled on the county level, including but not limited to, food safety permitting, open waterway sampling and issuing vital records like birth and death certificates.
To build these various workflows from scratch, Fishers was able to leverage a solution it already had with OpenGov’sPermitting & Licensing suite. OpenGov’s cloud technology ensured that Fishers was constantly operating on the most recent version of the software without the need for in-person IT assistance.
Additionally, building new workflows and applications for the health department, while keeping them up-to-date with ever-changing rules and regulations due to COVID-19, was made simple via OpenGov’s easily configurable, drag-and-drop form builders.
Jennifer Roam, a business analyst and OpenGov system administrator for the City, was charged with formulating these new workflows and building out applications.
“One of the things that I love about OpenGov is that I can make changes very easily and tweak things to our needs and the needs of citizens without having to revamp an entire solution,” shared Roam.
For example, when limitations on gatherings were put into place because of the pandemic, the Health Department utilized OpenGov Permitting & Licensing to approve or deny event requests based on a set of criteria like number of people, plan of action and risk mitigation. Roam was able to seamlessly adjust application fields and requirements in correspondence with policy changes.
Because of the ease with which Roam and her colleagues were able to create workflows and share them with the public, she said that they “really didn’t have any stops in service.”
“[Constituents] can make requests, we can process them and then they can make payments without having face-to-face contact, which is just absolutely vital right now and going forward,” added Roam. “It creates greater efficiency for us. We’re able to service our community at a quicker rate instead of just filing paperwork.”
With this gained efficiency, OpenGov also afforded the City of Fishers time to reflect and modernize workflows on their own.
“The ability to streamline all of our workflows was an advantage to having OpenGov, but it actually helped us revamp and rethink our current workflows. In rebuilding the workflows in OpenGov it gave us the ability to strategically think about how our workflows should be. In return, we had the ability to make our lives easier on the working end and the customer service side.”
Gerrod Franklin, Business Analyst for the City of Fishers
Now, Fishers Health Department is fully operational and taking a tailored approach to providing health services at the most local level.
The City of Fishers is a suburb of Indianapolis, IN, located in Hamilton County. Under the leadership of Mayor Scott Fadness, Fishers is known as a smart, vibrant and entrepreneurial city through its neighborhood development, dedication to supporting high-growth companies and innovative city processes. With a population of 95,310 (2019), Fishers is one of the fastest growing communities in Indiana and has received national accolades for entrepreneurship, livability and safety.
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