Accela Cloud Solutions Help U.S. Cities and Counties Pivot Quickly to Continue Service Delivery
Baltimore County, MD; Charlotte, NC; and Rochester, MN leverage govtech leader’s agile cloud technology to easily transition essential processes online, enable remote work for staff and safely manage the process of reopening businesses
Accela, the leading provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced a growing number of cities and counties are leveraging its highly configurable SaaS solutions to rapidly adapt to the evolving needs of the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Baltimore County, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Rochester, Minnesota are among the jurisdictions leveraging Accela’s robust and flexible platform to keep critical government services running remotely — both for citizens and employees, safely allow nonessential businesses to resume operations, and protect their communities during the next phase of the pandemic response and beyond.
“We are honored to continue partnering with our agency customers across the country — in response to their increased demand — to provide state, city and county leaders with technology solutions they can implement or configure to their specific needs quickly as they assess the reopening and recovery stages of COVID-19,” said Jonathon (JK) Knight, Chief Customer Officer at Accela. “Today’s announcement reflects how governments are innovating and reimagining how they leverage technology to best serve their citizens and help get their communities back on their feet, maintain revenue streams, and protect all. Accela is committed to providing our state and local government customers with the most effective and agile SaaS technology available to adapt to changing regulations together as the ‘next normal’ evolves.”
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State and local governments are now charged with fueling economic growth while enacting the steps necessary to ensure public safety. Powered by Microsoft Azure, Accela’s agile cloud-based platform enables agencies to more effectively manage complex processes such as re-opening businesses, empowering a remote workforce, and keeping communities safe during these unprecedented times. As agencies across the country grapple with projected record budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, streamlining essential processes can also help close budget gaps by bringing in more revenue.
In Maryland, Baltimore County rapidly transitioned to Accela’s solutions to create an online payments system and process outdoor dining permits to enable restaurants to safely begin resuming services. The solutions were implemented in just four days and one day, respectively, to adapt to changing conditions during the pandemic. Baltimore County’s online payment system processes anywhere between 100 to 500 transactions daily to keep important community development projects moving forward without compromising staff or citizen health. By completing all permitting and payments digitally, Baltimore County was able to successfully transition from 200 employees working from home at the start of Maryland’s “stay-at-home” order to 3,500 remote employees within just three weeks.
“Like our counterparts throughout the country and across the world, we have been on the frontlines of local government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly overnight we saw an exponential influx of emergency requests to put critical processes like payment processing and permitting online,” said Rob O’Connor, Director of Information and Technology for Baltimore County. “Having the tools in our toolkit and the enterprise system in place made it easy to look at the business requirements and build something out of the box to meet our needs in a matter of days—not weeks. We were glad to see that our expert teams, end users, and our constituents agreed that this process was simple and allowed us to move faster than many other jurisdictions.“
The fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation, Charlotte, North Carolina, needed to improve customer experience and quickly overcome the physical challenges presented by COVID-19. With the help of Accela, Charlotte had moved its entire planning process online in 2008, which enabled a seamless transition into remote work for office staff when “shelter-in-place” orders went into effect. By offering digital citizen services, the city could continue providing quality service to citizens remotely during a time when traditional methods would have been impeded or stopped project owners in their tracks.
“The City, being an early adopter of Accela, and using the product, has made what could have been a horrible experience almost seamless,” said Nan Peterson, Business Relationship Manager, for the City of Charlotte. “We basically walked out the door that Tuesday night, and by Wednesday people were back to work at their home office wherever that might be, working seamlessly.”
Rochester, Minnesota had seen a seven percent year-after-year increase in permitting requests in recent years, necessitating a new solution to manage planning and building functions. With Accela, Rochester was able to move previously manual paper-based processes online. This transition cut processing time for trade permits in half, saved staff from excessive phone inquiries and faxes, enabled workers to prioritize more strategic tasks, and improved data-backed decision-making.
“Rochester takes pride in providing the highest level of service we can. Utilizing Accela’s solutions have allowed us to continue to provide that quality service through streamlined permitting, mobile inspections, digital payment processing, and more, particularly during these unprecedented times,” says Rob Ronnenberg, Office Services Coordinator – Building Safety. “We’ve been very impressed with how quickly Accela was able to provide solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Today’s announcement reinforces Accela’s commitment to delivering modern digital tools to help build thriving communities, now and in the future. Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San Diego, California; and Shelby County, Tennessee are among other jurisdictions leveraging Accela to maintain resilience in the face of an evolving public health landscape. More than 80 percent of Accela’s new customers purchased solutions in the cloud, and 66 percent of all Accela customers are now in the cloud. Accela recently announced its Civic Application for Fire Prevention, the latest in its suite of out-of-the-box SaaS solutions designed to help fire departments increase their inspection capacity and effectiveness for fire prevention, ensuring they have the resources to address emergencies. The new Civic Application comes on the heels of Accela’s COVID-19 Response Solutions, which were developed in response to customer demand for digital service capabilities to address the biggest challenges of the pandemic.
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