Government agencies are taking a cue from the private sector and recognizing the power of the cloud to streamline processes and connect with their citizens. Government vendors have been rushing to fill this space with new solutions, and one such option has been launched by Accela – the Civic Cloud enables government agencies both large and small to automate and streamline core civic processes and extend them directly to businesses and citizens with civic engagement applications on leading mobile devices.
The Civic Cloud is a platform powered by Accela solutions that also includes new apps for government business processes as well as citizen facing civic engagement. At its core, the Civic Cloud helps government to automate some of its core functions including land management, licensing and case management, asset management, public health and safety.
Around those core functions, Accela and some third-party partners like SeeClickFix and CityGovApp will be developing additional applications and tailored solutions for all levels of government. The applications are focused on offering more engaging ways to handle sort of boring services like permits and potholes. The company has developed its own app, called CivicHero. CivicHero builds on some of the concepts already floating around the civic app space, by letting users snap photos of problems like blight, or graffiti and send reports to the appropriate government office.
According to Jeff Stiles, VP of Marketing, Accela, the app is currently in a two month beta with some 40 agencies and offices nationwide. “We had some early users and from that feedback, we made adjustments before launching the beta. We will be responding to feedback from current users in the same way,” he tells CivSource. “Ultimately we want to invest in this and make sure we get the process right.”
Accela is also offering its suite of core applications designed to help government workers handle code enforcement, inspections, or work orders. For the other apps, Accela partnered with SeeClickFix, to offer a version of its popular application on the Civic Cloud. SeeClickFix also relies on citizen reporting of non-emergency issues like potholes, and also lets government update citizens on the status of non-emergency response. Other applications come from CityGovApp which already works with cities to manage branded mobile applications for city services like garage sale permitting, or 311 services.
Stiles says that Accela plans to continue its quarterly update cycle for the apps it provides and for users that opt-into third-party supplied apps like those from CityGovApp any updates will come from the providers themselves. The company is offering tiered pricing for governments interested in joining the platform and will also be working on tailored solutions driven by business need.