Software ecosystem for the integration of community development services – GCN

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Software ecosystem for the integration of community development services

Jurisdictions need a modular end-to-end software system that can automate and streamline land management processes and community development services such as permits, an expert said.

It should also be able to integrate with other systems, said Jon Lipsitz, change management consultant at Viva Civic, which automates project and document workflows, during a recent national ISAC webinar.

“We’re talking about this from the entire lifecycle of a project, from the start, the preliminary designs, all the way through to permits issued, to final approvals, everything,” Lipsitz said. A system should also be able to handle post-project work, including preserving data for compliance, future enforcement issues, and community engagement, he said.

These next-generation solutions integrate planning, design, permits and licenses, inspections, construction management and related activities while enabling efficient and effective collaboration and communication between all stakeholders in the private and public sectors. .

Agencies in the market to upgrade their processes should look for a solution with a three-tier architecture that relies on data stores; various layers such as the web, application programming interfaces (APIs) and authorization and authentication with systems such as charting and finance within them; and user interfaces at the top, Lipsitz said.

Best practices for selecting a system architecture include platform independence, support for cloud-based and on-premises deployment, high availability and scalability, and a responsive design to keep everything accessible. on any device, Lipsitz said. In addition, he must be able to link the projects together.

For example, “under a comprehensive building permit, you could have electricity, mechanics, plumbing … but you have to maintain the relationship between all of these,” he said. . An end-to-end software system “makes data management a lot easier. It makes project management a lot easier. This facilitates the authorization process.

A comprehensive audit trail is also crucial, as is a search capability that makes it easier to find items, rather than searching for them.

Implementing a software solution is a great time for agencies to take stock of what already exists, determine where the bottlenecks are occurring, and add enhancements, such as new capabilities. analysis, said Lipsitz.

Agencies can also rethink their APIs, both in terms of the systems they integrate with and how others integrate the agency.

“We are a data consumer, so we could take advantage of [geographic information systems] … But we are also a data provider. Many companies that we work with… could consume our data through an API, so you have to think about it holistically from your suppliers, from your customers, ”said Lipsitz.

But while providing information to external and internal clients is crucial, he cautioned that limiting what is shared is just as important. That’s why agencies need to be able to create dashboards and reports based on users, roles, and personas. This contributes to data security because it ensures that data that shouldn’t be shared is not.

“You really, really want to only deliver the right information to the right person at the right time so you don’t overwhelm them,” Lipsitz said. “It’s important to have the information you need to do your job, but it’s almost as important not to have too much information. “

Other elements of a software system to consider include integration with GIS and mapping to alert the public of road closures or route inspectors, as well as automation and workflows that meet the needs. current and future. Features to watch out for include the ability to model complex processes, easily modify and make configuration changes, and automate document processing, management and billing.

An integrated solution for land management and community development “improves the time and responsiveness of returning to our customers internally or externally, and improves satisfaction, both of external customers and internal employees,” said Lipsitz .

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in Northern Virginia.


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