ERP Best Practices in a Pandemic

June 29, 2020 by Allie VanNest

Tyler clients discuss best practices in a pandemic.

ERP Best Practices in a Pandemic

Tyler Technologies is exceedingly familiar with the impact stay-at-home orders have on federal, state, and local government operations. In addition to providing ERP solutions that empower the public sector, we’re also actively looking for new ways to bring our clients together. Right now, that means connecting with peers virtually to share information and best practices.

On June 17, we facilitated a client panel on the ways public sector and school organizations are supporting community members and employees. Participants included:

  • Scott Borror, director of finance, village of Glen Carbon, Illinois, a bedroom community near downtown St. Louis with a population of 13,000 people — a combination of young university students and older residents

  • Nancy Tolbert, director of financial services special projects, Cobb County School District (CCSD), Georgia, the second largest school district in the state comprised of 120,000 students, 12 schools, and 18,000 employees

  • Jason Jaurigue, director of information services, city of Rancho Mirage, California, a popular tourist destination outside of Palm Springs with a city operating budget of $28 million

  • Jill Cunningham, database staff support manager, city of Auburn, Maine, which boasts a population of 23,000 and a $90 million operating budget split evenly between local government and schools

Together, our panelists discussed their immediate and long-term responses to government closures in the midst of a global pandemic.

Responding to a Global Crisis

After receiving word that their offices would be closed for an indefinite period of time, many of our panelists immediately directed their attention to logistics — how would they keep financial operations up and running while they worked from home? How could they ensure employees were able to enter their timesheets remotely? Would citizens retain access to important government services?

Despite staying home, our panelists continued to show up to work every day — in many cases implementing best practices to benefit both their employees and their communities.

Think about a virtual implementation. For the last five years, 35% of Tyler’s implementation services have been delivered remotely, with some projects delivered 100% virtually. The city of Rancho Mirage virtually implemented EnerGov, Tyler’s solution for enterprise workflow and process regulation, and Jaurigue shared it “went great.”

Continue to refine work processes. As a member of Tyler’s Planned Annual Continuing Education (PACE) program, Jaurigue received ongoing education designed to provide the city of Rancho Mirage with up-to-date training on new features and functions. He said, “The PACE program is a great way to revisit the modules your team has already been using to help you get additional training you might need and to streamline and refine your work process.”

Provide internal resources and training. CCSD stood up an internal resource center for employees using its ERP system remotely. Tolbert credits Office 365 and Microsoft Teams for enabling virtual trainings and providing a repository for helpful product information.

Track COVID-19 costs. Jaurigue mentioned working from home presented a host of new considerations. From deploying new computers, to setting up new conference lines and increasing bandwidth, his team has remained extremely busy. But he was sure to track these COVID-19-related costs using special pay codes — which came in handy when his finance department started requiring them.

Stay connected. Cunningham pointed to Tyler Community as a helpful resource for the city of Auburn to answer questions and troubleshoot issues through online relationships with public sector peers. Staying connected enabled her to easily set up pay types, tracking codes, and accruals for reporting purposes. She said, “It’s so helpful to NOT have to recreate the wheel.”

Be flexible. Borror mentioned the importance of taking advantage of product features in his ERP system that were previously underutilized and using this functionality to be flexible with the community he serves. For example, his team was able to extend a grace period to constituents, waiving cut-off fees and transitioning cut-off processes for outstanding utility accounts during the pandemic.

Above all, the panelists conceded that this time has not been easy. But working together and staying connected — to each other and the communities we serve — has made all the difference.

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