Seneca Systems, a provider of workflow solutions for government workers, has publicly launched its Romulus Constituent Services Platform. Romulus is designed to bring all constituent communications together in a single workflow. The idea is to give government workers visibility into how constituents are communicating and working with their cities and towns regardless of where they submit that communication.
The platform is already deployed in several large cities including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Oakland.
“The boundary between city government and constituents is very fluid,” explains Seneca Systems Maggie Henry, in an interview with CivSource. “What we want to do is provide a solution to help workers get a handle on constituent interactions so that they can track what residents need and improve service delivery.”
Romulus’ public launch is backed by $3.5 million seed round led by Initialized Capital, with participation from Cowboy Ventures, Govtech Fund, and Y Combinator. With the funding, Seneca hopes to bring Romulus to scale with municipal governments from across the US. The company also plans to grow its field and engineering teams in order to expand its unstructured data management capabilities and add features to the platform.
Industry analysts differ on the total size of the nascent constituent services market, but they agree that with more than 35,000 municipalities in the United States alone, it’s significant and growing rapidly. Service requests arrive via an ever-increasing number of channels, from social media, email, web forms, forums, apps, phone, walk-ins, to SMS. Managing communications and delivering on the services requested is a huge task for government workers, who are under increasing pressure to act quickly despite no significant increase in resources and support.
Some software, such as customer relationship management (CRMs), have been shoehorned to help government workers find relief, but since these technologies were built for fundamentally different workflows, they end up requiring significant up-front resources to make them work for government. “What we see from a lot of tech right now is an effort to change user behavior. In government, that means you’re making constituents change how they’d report something in order to fit the technology. We think it should be the other way around,” Henry says. “We don’t need to reinvent local government, we just need to listen to what government workers want.”
As of the launch, Romulus will be available to state and local government users for $80 per seat, per month. Governments users can sign up and cancel at any time. The company says it can fully onboard a city within 48 hours including a 90-minute training session. Later this year, Seneca Systems is expecting to roll out new mobile functionality to support field workers.