Digital transformation is now an imperative for the public sector. Local government must do more with less, so becoming more innovative is essential to eliminate repetitive, low-value tasks.
In November 2021, Forrester predicted that ten percent of government administrative tasks will be automated in 2022. Yet in such a short timeframe that is a vast number of systems to overhaul and not all public-sector implementations go smoothly – in most organizations two out of three transformational initiatives fail.
Most organizations encounter the same challenges and basic underlying narratives that destroy their transformation efforts. Successful introduction of new technology and systems into the complex public sector, requires an effective blend of technical capabilities, leadership, and good organizational skills.
Transformation is inevitable and even with the right capabilities it takes time, yet citizens services must continue while change occurs. So how can governments achieve this while using legacy processes to carry on with business as usual?
Spread success with champions
Champions are champions not because they do anything extraordinary but because they do the ordinary things better than others. Innovation is a complex, company-wide endeavour, so having the advice of innovation leaders can be hugely beneficial.
When bringing in new technology, interacting with industry peers offers a creative and insightful way to understand the problem, solution, and get impartial advice. By speaking to industry peers who have undertaken then same challenge, local governments can confidently embrace new opportunities, with clarity. There is not a ‘one size fit all’ solution. But utilizing the industry experts you are able to develop coalitions for the best chance of succeeding.
Recently we shared a stage with Jared Gerber, Assistant Community Development Director, Sandy City, UT. He offered government agencies insight into a 12-year digitalization program, and how they updated and standardized their internal processes to enhance department communications and visibility on projects. They moved from their legacy permitting system to a new system that would be utilized by all the different departments, allowing for better planning tracking, permit tracking, and later electronic plan review.
Presenting his perspective on the situation allowed other agencies to understand how to prevent potential problems, such as internal resourcing, so they were able to have the bandwidth to carry on with normal day-to-day activities. They also demonstrated the pros of implementing both Cityworks PLL and DigEplan electronic plan review simultaneously to reduce disruption. Learn more about their journey.
Implementation: Work smarter not harder
Implementing new technology whilst operating business-as-usual can be daunting. There is the added pressure of risk and uncertainty that accompanies testing innovations in real-time with participants, all while being responsible for keeping existing operations alive. The uncertain aspects of this endeavor feel all the more acute under the pressure of deadlines and the eyes of evaluators.
For ease, start thinking about the implementation process during the exploration and research stages. In addition to speaking to champions about their experience, with software, there are different types of integrations and implementation processes that can impact the speed and ease of deployment.
Avolve Software has tight integration with over twenty government platforms and is second-to-none. The seamless integration removes complexities, such as plugins and additional processes, improving on the traditional lift and shift approach. You can find out more about integration types here.
Our network has a broad range of expertise to help with enhancing plan review processes with minimized disruptions.
Training and retaining
Employees are an organization’s most important asset, so implementing the new solution is just the start of the journey. To retain talent and see long-term success, employees need to be able to use the solution effectively, therefore quality training and education for employees is essential.
This should be considered as early as the research phase, understanding the complexity of the software, and matching to the skillset of the users. Ask yourself; does the solution have an intuitive user interface, or will my employees need months of training? Each solution will be different, take some time to weigh it up. Employees must see a clear benefit to both the citizen experience and their workload.
The right solution will add intelligence to processes, Avolve Software’s electronic plan review solutions provides transparency, efficiency, and ease with its rich functionality. For example, it helps with low-value tasks, such as moving paper plans from office-to-office and multiple versions of plan sets to look through or identifying issues for the applicant to resolve at the point of plan submission.
With an easy-to-use interface, Avolve Software provides planning and building officials full visibility of the planning process, with compare and overlay for any changes and real-time comments.
Jared from Sandy City shares, “Staff were continuously impressed with the ease and intuition. The overall design and ease of use were phenomenal, especially the help menu.”
This ultimately speeds up the permitting process boosting employee morale and citizen experience. Based on a McKinsey report speed, simplicity and efficiency are key elements of the interaction process with government which pays for overall citizen satisfaction.
“Excellent customer service has always been a priority. We consistently achieve our plan review goals of under 10 days for commercial plans and under five days for residential plans.” Nidia Logan Robinson, Deputy Division Director, Division of Planning and Development, Memphis and Shelby County, TN. Read about their five-year road map to digital success.
Over the next few years, forward-looking governments will focus on finding solutions that truly enhance citizen and employee experience.
For a deep dive into Avolve Software’s electronic plan review solutions, contact our team for a live demonstration. To learn more about the new ‘Citizen Era’ read our blog.
UI & UX central to Avolve Software’s development
Digital enhancements have soared over recent years as the public sector grappled with the need to continue to service citizens and improve efficiencies. A much-needed change for the sector, yet it should not just be about productivity and process requirements. The user experience, for both citizens and employees, is fundamental to adoption and success.
By 2025, Gartner predicts that over 50% of government agencies will have modernized critical core legacy applications to improve resilience and agility. This will allow jurisdictions to tap into data to drive customer experience and employee experience initiatives. However, training on systems to retain talent, due to the rapid acceleration of digital transformation, is one of the top concerns for local governments (GovTech).
So how can governments balance the citizen experience and efficient process, alongside inspiring employee loyalty?
Employee retention – the technology impact
With digital transformation revolutionizing jurisdiction processes, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the key to employee retention lies in the technology. If employees feel competent and can do their role proficiently, they feel less frustrated and know they add value. New technology should always include effective employee onboarding, but it should not just be about training.
The selection criteria for new technology should not just be based on functionality and price – sure they are significant factors, but they are wider considerations in the mix. Outdated technology will cost you. It is often slow, involves 10 more steps than is necessary, and have cumbersome processes.
On top of that, it simply creates frustrated employees. The truth is your company needs to implement new technology that is modern and intuitive.
The solution chosen must have direct benefit to the employees: Is this going to save time? Is it easy to use? Employees should see potential and long-term success; they will expect the technology to automate the daily grind of tedious tasks and streamline processes, overall improving their job.
This can be considered as early as the research phase, understanding the complexity of the software, and matching to the skillset of the users. Critically – Does the solution have an intuitive user interface, or will my employees need months of training?
User interface – driving employee satisfaction
Why consider user interface and user experience when choosing software? The experience that your employees, and indeed your citizens, have in using your agency tools, plays a vital role in their satisfaction.
The usability of the software and visual appearance, influences employee behaviors. This includes the look and design of the application for every screen, button, and page. If it’s engaging, clear and easy-to-use, employees will quickly adopt the technology.
At Avolve, we consider user experience and user interface to be a core component of the electronic plan review solution. Avolve electronic plan review solutions alleviates frequent pain points in usability, and we remove mundane administrative tasks with automation within the permitting process. Importantly, the easy-to-use interface ensures employees require very little training and resources.
“If your staff has used desktop PDF mark-up tools, they will know how to use the same basic functions. Our staff learned very quickly, which enabled us to swiftly provide the plan review service to citizens without losing much time.” Scott Wise, Chief Plans Examiner at Oklahoma City
“Staff were continuously impressed with the ease and intuition of DigEplan. The overall design and ease of use was phenomenal, especially the help menu.” Jared Gerber, Assistant Community Development Director, Sandy City
Quantifying the user needs: user experience
The right solution needs to understand the processes and workflows of various internal users. It’s crucial to define the user, such as planning, building officials, engineering, support administrators, etc., so the solution meets their specific needs.
At Avolve we have taken the time to understand technical constraints, such as integration (you can read more here) as well as the business objectives, such as enhanced citizen experience and efficiency, as well as the user’s needs, and reduced administrative tasks. We know this also changes over time, so our team continually evaluates and improves to maximize the overall experience for all users.
Avolve works with existing clients to enhance functionality, understand workflows and processes, and simply improve our offering. This ensures jurisdictions are investing in a partner that supports their choices and empowers them to work more productively. Now just imagine how that would shape the employee experience. Learn how our user-focused functionality has helped governments across the globe.
Technology is crucial in transforming a business and becoming a place where employees want to work and would like to stay. Invest in your employees and give them the best tools to get their work done efficiently. Learn more about how Avolve’s Electronic Plan Review helps improve administrative tasks for employees and enhances the permitting process. Contact us.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, July 1, 2022 – Avolve Software, the global leader in electronic plan review, appoints Lance Clark as Chief Executive Officer to take the company into its next generation of growth. In March 2022, Avolve Software and DigEplan merged to create the largest plan review company in the sector, unique in its ability to provide jurisdictions of all sizes with the flexibility to access best-in-class ePlan review solutions that fit their size and budget. Clark now takes post following the end of the integration period.
Backed by the private equity firm Polaris Growth Fund, Avolve Software leads the plan review sector with the largest global customer base, advanced suite of electronic plan review solutions, and dedicated research and development investment. Having held executive positions in technology-driven companies, Clark brings a wealth of GovTech leadership experience to his new position as Avolve enters the next stage in its growth journey.
“Technology used to be an afterthought, but today it plays an integral role in local governments’ economic growth and customer service. Avolve Software is at the forefront of this transformation, with a suite of flexible, best-in-class plan review solutions that can scale to meet your jurisdiction’s demands, both now and into the future. Our vision and passion to challenge ourselves will ensure we continue to meet customers’ needs as they evolve.
“While at Spillman, I witnessed first-hand the power of technology to transform public safety in municipalities. Avolve is on a similar trajectory and is at the cusp of significantly enhancing economic development for jurisdictions globally. I am excited to be part of this movement,” said Clark.
Current CEO Gary Heath has led Avolve Software to be a leading player in the permitting sector, having been at the helm for five years. Heath oversaw Avolve’s substantial growth and successfully managed the merger of Avolve and DigEplan, which brought together complementary technologies to create an unparalleled electronic plan review offering. Gary remains on the board of directors and DigEplan CEO Jason Matthews has moved into the Chief Channel Officer position.
“Having accomplished our goal of creating stability for our customers and partners through this industry-changing merger, I now can pass the reins over to Lance who is exceptionally qualified to lead Avolve in its next stage of growth. Lance and the team will continue to champion our commitment to customer service, and suite of leading plan review solutions,” said Heath.
Clark will oversee Avolve Software’s global footprint, which supports more than 250 customers in five countries. “Avolve’s satisfaction scores showed that 98% of customers would recommend us to other jurisdictions, which speaks volumes about the value that Avolve brings to its global customer base. Digitalization is vital in the current economic climate. Electronic plan review is a critical function and its transformation creates efficiency that drives corporate investment and revenue streams. No matter where you are on your digital journey for plan review, Avolve has the solution to optimize and be your partner of choice for years to come,” added Clark.
For more information visit avolvesoftware.com
DigEplan, a global leader in a cloud-based, fully integrated electronic plan review, is pleased to announce the setup of Canadian infrastructure. With the increasing importance of data sovereignty, data residency, and security, this expansion supports customers within the region with data privacy, holding the data within the nation’s boundaries.
DigEplan utilizes Google Public Sector, the most sustainable cloud provider and with locations across the globe, it offers a highly secure platform for local government customers and technology platform providers. This Canadian infrastructure provides advanced security and certified compliance standards to SOC2, SOC3, ISO/IEC 27001, PIPEDA (Canada) amongst many others.
“As more agencies are making the move towards the cloud and digitalizing their entire permitting processes, we are proud to announce a Canadian infrastructure, to support our growing customer base in Canada maximize their resources,” Drew McPayne, Head of Product and Operations, DigEplan by Avolve Software.
“DigEplan provides revolutionary integration and a rich set of plan review features, enhancing the permitting process. It removes wasted processing time and unnecessary desktop-based plan review inefficiencies and complexities.”
Partnering with over 20 leading government technology platforms across the globe, and over 120 customers across five countries, DigEplan is embedded in existing workflows. Governments can reduce planning and permitting administration ensuring faster time to decisions by embracing this fully integrated, cloud-based electronic plan review.
For more information about DigEplan contact us or your Avocette account manager.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, March 28, 2022 – Leading electronic plan review companies Avolve Software and DigEplan will merge, the companies announced Monday. The combined entity, operating under the Avolve Software brand, will draw upon extensive experience and an expanded product suite to become the global leader in electronic plan review. As part of the transaction, a strategic investment was provided by Polaris Growth Fund.
Avolve and DigEplan provide cities, counties, and other municipalities innovative software to manage their plan review processes as part of their permitting procedures. Each company offers a unique solution for digital, end-to-end plan review management, dramatically improving efficiency and creating a vastly better applicant experience compared to paper and legacy software.
Since its founding in 2008, Avolve has delivered industry-leading software with its ProjectDox platform, which automates the manual, paper-intensive, and frequently inefficient building plan review process. Together, Avolve and DigEplan will offer solutions for every city, county, and state, from small towns to large metropolitan areas, across a global market.
“The merger of Avolve and DigEplan, backed by Polaris’ resources and expertise, creates a superior market position for Avolve Software. Avolve and DigEplan have distinct and complementary strengths that will enable us to serve this entire market. Together, we will dramatically increase our reach and the value we deliver to our customers and business partners,” said Gary Heath, CEO of Avolve Software, who will assume the role of CEO at the combined company.
“This is not only an exciting time for Avolve and DigEplan’s customers, employees, and partners, but also for the plan review market as a whole. This merger reflects strong category growth and the need for solutions to modernize processes that are critical for community economic development. The combination of these two brands will enable us to deliver an unmatched product offering to address those needs,” added Gary.
Founded in 2011, DigEplan was created to address the limitations of paper-based reviews and the lack of integrated digital solutions to efficiently view, review, and approve permitting plans and documents.
“In joining forces with Avolve, we will continue to provide innovative solutions to help cities, counties, and municipalities to deliver efficient electronic plan review,” said Jason Matthews, CEO of DigEplan. “Our talented team remains focused on building integrated partnerships with permitting platforms. Outstanding customer service and category-leading electronic plan review solutions have always been at the heart of DigEplan, which is mirrored by the Avolve team, creating a company with strong, unrivaled expertise to enable customers to modernize and streamline permitting services.” Matthews will assume an executive role at Avolve Software, overseeing its international business.
Serving more than 250 jurisdictions in five countries, Avolve will continue to support and invest in the existing software platforms offered by the merged companies. Additionally, this transaction will unlock significant resources and efficiencies to strengthen the company’s ability to serve current customers, accelerate its reach to new customers, and expand the depth and breadth of its relationships with permitting software vendors and professional services providers.
About Polaris Growth Fund
Polaris Growth Fund is a software-focused, specialized affiliate fund of Polaris Partners, a Boston-based private investment firm with two decades of technology and healthcare investing experience. Polaris has offices in Boston, San Francisco and New York. For more information visit: www.polarisgrowthfund.com
About Avolve Software
Since 2008, Avolve Software has delivered the industry’s leading electronic plan review software, automating the manual, paper-intensive, and frequently inefficient building plan review process. Today, over 150 of North America’s city, county, and state governments use Avolve’s ProjectDox solution to transform their plan review processes. For more information visit: avolvesoftware.com
DigEplan offers a fully integrated, easy-to-use electronic plan review solution that automates and streamlines the permitting process. It serves customers in over 100 cities and counties across five countries, and has partnerships with more than 15 government platform vendors, including Accela, Infor, Centric, Cityworks, Salesforce, Clariti, and Municity Software. For more information visit: www.digeplan.com