Implementing New Technology to Break Down Silos and Increase Savings, and How to Ease the Transition
Temecula, California, is a charming city with wooden boardwalks and hot air balloons, located in the heart of Southern California’s wine country. From Old Town Temecula, full of antique shops and western-era architecture to the city’s five breweries and numerous festivals, Temecula is the perfect mix of history and modernity. But there’s nothing historical about the software systems the city government relies on to keep Temecula up and running.
Temecula has 140 city employees serving its 110,000 citizens. Using state-of-the-art systems that open lines of communication across departments while cutting down processing time is crucial.
Finding a Solution
Temecula has been using Tyler Technologies’ Eden™ software for human resources and financials since 1997. When it was time to update its civic services solution, Temecula looked to Tyler’s GIS-enabled EnerGov™ software as a means to automate and centrally connect their community development processes.
“It was the best of breed for that type of software, and…we knew that we wanted to partner with Tyler,” said Sara Seng, a senior IT specialist who has dedicated the past six years to the City of Temecula IT Department.
Temecula went live with EnerGov in late 2014.
“It’s nice because everyone is utilizing the same software the same way,” Seng said. “They understand the system, the way it works — and it’s similar across departments.”
Making the Switch
One hundred of Temecula’s 140 staff members actively use EnerGov. Temecula was meticulous in their approach to training those employees to run the new system, and Tyler was standing by to help when needed. Temecula decided to pursue ongoing training as well to keep everyone up to date with current processes.
“We’re EnerGov Assist clients,” said Seng. “We use training and virtual labs that is provided to us by EnerGov Assist. Our users think it is great!”
By taking a thorough approach to implementing the software and providing the appropriate training, Temecula turned its staff into raving fans of the new software.
“They love it. It’s a total 180,” said Seng. “If you ask anybody, the first thing they’ll say is, ‘We wouldn’t go back.’ They talk about how easy it is, their processes are smoother, and their citizens are happy.”
Thanks to Temecula’s efforts and forward-thinking approach, everyone in the permitting process saves time and effort: citizens, developers, executives, and others.
Seng said, “Permit approvals used to take someone one-to-two days to route a paper form for a sign off. We are now electronic, and it eliminates that step.”
The entire process has been shortened: from the time the citizen submits the permit request to the time it is approved. As the adage goes, time is money, so this is a financial win for the municipality as well. But being a well-rounded local government means caring about more than the bottom line, which Temecula knows. The city cares about the hassle saved for citizens and employees as much as the savings it experiences internally.
Temecula puts a lot of effort into ensuring its citizens are happy. The city understands that its success is directly tied to the community it creates, so it employs all kinds of tools — from a city app to a YouTube channel — to keep residents connected to each other and the local government. Because citizens are such a priority for Temecula, the city makes sure its use of technology makes residents’ lives easier.
“Our citizens used to wait an hour to get simple things done, and now they’re in and out of here in 15 minutes. It’s nice that the service times are shorter and they don’t have to wait an hour for staff to speak to them,” Seng said of citizens making requests and reporting issues.
The city has seen a vast improvement in the time it takes to issue a permit as well.
“Miscellaneous/simple permits…used to take about 45 minutes to an hour to process. The counter staff can [now] enter the data, process the payment, and print the building permit in less than 15 minutes,” said Seng.
Not only can Temecula staff now enter permits in the system much faster, but the city uses a paperless workflow to make the approval process faster as well.
“Our building techs do not have to chase down approvals to issue building permits. Approvals are in the system before the customer comes in to get their permit,” said Seng.
Consider how many steps are involved in the permitting process — from back office setup, to citizen submission, to all the tasks involved in review and approval before issuance. If Temecula is saving 30-45 minutes to process just miscellanoues permits and is saving time on the approval phase as well, think how much time is being saved overall. Then consider how that time savings bleeds into monetary and resource savings as well. Finally, expand that savings beyond the municipality’s payroll. Through the city’s implementation of EnerGov, Temecula ensures citizens, contractors, and developers all experience savings. Temecula is certainly seeing positive ROI from its EnerGov implementation — from quantifiable to intangible — ensuring the decision to invest in the software was a good one.
A Connected Community
Temecula is using EnerGov and other technology to create a digital infrastructure that supports its government operations and its citizens’ needs. This digital infrastructure that connects the city to its residents is key in creating a thriving community, which is the goal of any municipality. Tyler Technologies is proud to partner with the City of Temecula, California, as they foster the growth of a connected community by breaking down silos and reducing processing time internally, leading to increased citizen engagement externally.