Transformation for the Road Ahead

January 04, 2021 by Lynn Moore

A Message From Tyler’s President and CEO

Transformation for the Road Ahead

2020 was arguably one of the most challenging years in public sector history. In many ways, it was a test of character; a test that government agencies at all levels passed with flying colors. In the face of seemingly endless obstacles, government leaders rolled up their sleeves and continued to deliver outstanding core services along with managing unparalleled public health and other crises.

Not only did governments weather the storm, investing in new technologies enabled remote operations and virtual services. These investments are paving the way for the industry to emerge from the pandemic transformed and in a stronger position.

As we look ahead to reopening and recovery, the acceleration of these valuable initiatives provides an encouraging context. Tyler’s intentional, long-term strategy supports this transformation and trajectory. Our own accelerated initiatives such as data dashboards and virtual courts will help us seamlessly partner with our government clients in the short term and for many years to come along their journeys.

Here are some ways we can move forward together in 2021 and beyond.

Cloud-First Strategy

In 2020, we conducted new research around how the major generations interact with local government. When we examine how younger cohorts in particular expect to engage with public agencies, the roadmap is clear. The nature of user experiences must change to be digital, mobile, and easy, just as user experiences are in the private sector. Cloud-enabled solutions are necessary to deliver this.

Last year, we announced our intention to become a cloud-first company. We’ve since accelerated the cloud development of some of our core products, which allows us to provide continuous improvement and faster, more stable upgrades with minimal disruption. Our strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows us to leverage the AWS Cloud in a way that helps our clients deliver better services and experiences to their communities while improving security, reducing costs, and driving efficiencies.

During the pandemic, our cloud-enabled solutions provided the agility necessary to help our clients enhance access to justice with virtual courts, provide meals and Wi-Fi to students through transportation software, add COVID-19 functionalities to 311 systems, and more.

Cloud solutions are important for the future of the public sector for many reasons. They give governments more predictable budgets with reduced IT infrastructure expenditures. They enhance security, provide more diverse disaster recovery, and facilitate compliance with federal standards such as CJIS. They enable governments to use data as a strategic asset in the design, management, and delivery of innovative programs and services. Finally, cloud-enabled solutions create better connections between departments, across jurisdictions, and with citizens.

Civic Engagement

We’ll no doubt continue to navigate storms in 2021. Strong communication and two-way citizen engagement tools will be essential components of success. As the pandemic response evolves, residents need access to public health updates, business opening information, and more. Notifying residents of severe weather, public safety concerns, and even community events are also ongoing considerations.

Civic engagement apps and self-service web portals, for example, are providing constituents with a one-stop shop for connecting with local government. Technology that connects the business functions of local government with the public can facilitate business success and community development. Offering online or mobile payments, form submissions, and other traditionally in-office transactions ensures that residents can “do business” with government from anywhere. Digital access to permitting and business licensing functions further supports economic development.

Solving for stronger, more effective citizen engagement will help local leaders reopen cities and counties and get back to business sooner and in more equitable ways.

Data & Insights

The value of data has been highlighted and reinforced during the pandemic. In Buffalo, New York, leaders created a centralized COVID-19 hub for decision-makers and the public. The City of Los Angeles used data to fuel a food access map to serve increased need. Beyond the pandemic, Data & Insights is an integral part of all of Tyler’s core operations. The future of local government is really about data and what it can do. Cloud-based solutions can aggregate disparate data in accessible dashboards that help leaders make smarter decisions for their communities.

In 2021, we are excited to support these leaders with new executive insight capabilities that enable mayors, city managers, finance directors, superintendents, and department leads to easily understand and monitor the health, performance, and service level of their organization. ERP and Economic Intelligence, for example, pulls ERP-related data into a dashboard to surface important information that can often remain hidden in disparate systems. This information can help leaders understand the impact of COVID-19 policies on municipal revenues and operations, and includes cash balances, HR metrics, payroll versus overtime, revenue verses budget, and more. Community Development Insights provides real-time data on permit numbers, inspections, the value of permitted inspections, and so on, giving leaders a valuable snapshot of economic health and recovery as we reopen. Executive Insights also exist for appraisal and tax as well as courts and e-filing.

The high-level idea is that breaking down silos and surfacing relevant data supports data-driven decision making and better community outcomes. Whether it's finance, tax, permitting and licensing, or public safety, courts, justice partners and school systems, data ties it all together and creates the connections that solve problems.

Connected Communities

Connected Communities is a long-term vision that a modern technology foundation enables. When each component of a government technology stack integrates with the others, it transforms the way the public sector works internally and with the public. When technology connects data, people, and processes across agencies and across geographic boundaries, government becomes more transparent and responsive, and safer, stronger communities result.

This vision is one that local governments can strategically execute. Implementing modern, integrated business systems eliminates silos and helps internal and external partners leverage relevant data for coordinated decision-making. Cloud-enabled solutions further facilitate coherent and consistent reporting and citizen engagement strategies across departments and jurisdictions.

On the government side, connections look like this: Someone files a building permit, which automatically triggers a building inspection, which automatically triggers an appraisal. Or police in one city pull over a driver who has an arrest warrant in the city next door. Connected, mobile systems immediately surface that information to the officer, so the driver is not released.

From the community perspective, a resident can access services, conduct civic business through a single constituent portal, pay bills, apply for a business license or permit, and view court information all in one place. That’s meaningful connection.

Our initiatives facilitate and drive these connections. Connecting our products internally and streamlining functionalities is one way we help governments realize the vision. Tyler Payments, for example, is an enterprise-wide solution that offers one payment portal for all Tyler products. This type of centralized payment engine can transform the entire citizen engagement experience in the public sector by giving residents a single, consistent interface for all their local government transactions.

Meeting the Challenges Ahead

Governments are entering 2021 facing many challenges. For cities, counties, school districts, public safety agencies, and courts, policy changes are the solutions to these challenges. Successful policies, however, are almost nearly impossible to execute without the technology to inform and enable them.

Tyler’s role as a long-term partner with our clients is to continue to provide the innovative tools that allow governments to overcome challenges and achieve their policy goals. Together, we can transform operations to solve problems and enhance performance, service, and growth. We can reinforce more fair and equitable procedures. These things are ambitious and exciting, and they lead me to firmly believe that the best days are ahead of us.

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