Case Study: Benefits of Automation and Integration

Client Name: City of Miami Beach
Phone Number: 305.673.7000
City: Miami Beach
State: Florida
Number of Employees: 2,000 +
Population: Approximately 92,000
Tyler Client Since: 2015
Tyler Products/Solutions: EnerGov, Tyler Cashiering, and Munis

Coastal City Leverages Technology for Increased Efficiency and Workflow

A few years ago, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales asked his staff to identify ways to improve the delivery of their services. The staff’s assessment unearthed less-than-optimal results: the city’s current practices were cumbersome, manual, and, in many cases, paper laden.

Additionally, the city used several stand-alone/siloed systems for permitting and other functions, even though none managed more than just one city process. Procedures that should have been integrated were operating in silos, which further restricted the city’s ability to conduct timely reviews and implement important checks and balances.

Carmen Sanchez, the deputy planning director for the City of Miami Beach, said the findings showed the city had room for improvement.

“All the inefficiencies were resulting in uncollected fees and inconsistent issuance and enforcement of regulations,” she said. “Plans and permits were reviewed on paper or on aging software that was at end-of-life and unsupportable.”

Miami Beach’s planning department struggled with unwieldy procedures — they were required to review all applications and revisions on paper. The process generated no less than thousands of documents and more than 2,000 boxes that were permanently housed in a storage facility. Staff had to regularly sift through these paper records to gain access to important information. The paper-focused approach also restricted the department’s ability to make edits and revisions on the fly, which resulted in a long, tedious process. It was time for a change.

“In addition to the struggles we faced,” Sanchez said, “our citizens were having to search our webpage for links that provided only limited information. We wanted to enhance our business processes and provide a better experience for our customers.”

Integration Is Key

After vetting several vendors, Miami Beach selected Tyler Technologies to deliver the technology they needed to get their processes back on track. The city selected Tyler’s EnerGov software — along with Tyler Cashiering and Tyler’s Munis® software — to update their business processes while implementing a system that provided cross-departmental integration and efficiency. Sanchez explained integration was of the utmost importance to Miami Beach.

From our perspective, communication is key. We needed to make sure that everyone could see the same information, which we did not have before. Everyone works different hours, so to be able to have instant access to the information you need 24/7 is very important.

Carmen Sanchez

Deputy Planning Director

Automating and Streamlining the Review Process

“Throughout the implementation process, our focus did not shift. We stayed on course to deliver the best customer service possible. Because of everyone’s efforts, internal and external clients can now benefit from the great new technology,” Sanchez said of Miami Beach’s implementation of EnerGov.

Through the software, Miami Beach has been able to automate their previously archaic process in planning. Gone are the manual processes of hauling heavy sets of plans to and from various offices. Instead, planning staff can now review and make comments directly on electronic submittals using the EnerGov eReviews feature. Sanchez said the technology has transformed their daily processes.

“We’ve been able to cut our review time significantly, since we can now request and receive revisions in minutes,” she said. “Now, 100 percent of our applications are submitted online and reviewed electronically via eReviews.”

Sanchez said the software allows planning staff to communicate quickly and efficiently with architects and engineers alike.

“Planning staff and other disciplines that would not usually review applications, but whose input is crucial in some projects, can now conduct concurrent reviews and provide comments to clients expeditiously,” she said.

Connected Processes Yield Increased Insight

Because EnerGov is specifically designed to automate and centrally connect critical processes, Miami Beach employees have greater insight into the progress of planning-specific tasks. This insight allows them to better manage the collection of fees, assess the status of plan and permit cases, and keep the process as efficient as possible.

Additionally, improved tracking allows for better projections and statistics that empower Sanchez and her team to strategically allocate their resources.

We track the number of cases and permits processed, which allows us to determine the levels of staff needed to maintain high customer ratings. This has greatly increased our productivity.

Carmen Sanchez

Deputy Planning Director

Providing Enhanced Customer Service

In addition to the benefits Sanchez and her team have enjoyed, the city’s citizens are also reaping rewards. Miami Beach citizens can now easily access plan, permitting, and code compliance cases; apply for business licenses online; and research the status of pending applications all from the comfort of their homes (or rather, from the beach).

“The transparency and integration of Tyler software allows us to work as a multidisciplinary team to assist both our internal and external customers,” Sanchez said. “It has really helped us fulfill the city’s desire to deliver excellent customer service.”

A “Greener” Miami Beach

The new processes Sanchez and her team have implemented have also helped the city keep its commitment to green initiatives, which is another way Miami Beach aims to serve its citizens.

“Miami Beach is greatly affected by sea level rise and climate change, so implementing green initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint is very important to our city and its citizens,” Sanchez said. “Eliminating the reliance on paper has gone a long way in helping us reach that goal.”

So, what became of the 2,000 boxes of files in storage?

“We are happy to announce we’re digitizing the contents, providing access to the information via EnerGov, and giving the paper files a destroy date!”

Sanchez explained that the office building she shares with her staff used to contain 15 filing cabinets, all stuffed to the brim with city documents and forms. Thanks to EnerGov, there’s nary a filing cabinet to be found.

“We are using the old storage space to create a new conference room, a new area for reception and a flex space that can be used for a lot of different things,” Sanchez said. “We have a lot of meetings with architects, developers, and engineers, so we’re pleased we can now provide a nice, clean space that is used for something more productive than simply storing paper.”

More Than Software

Sanchez said her staff is always quick to offer advice to other municipalities facing the same issues that plagued Miami Beach before the implementation of EnerGov.

We have received many calls from other cities regarding our selection of Tyler software. We systematically tell them that it’s not just about the software — Tyler is an excellent provider and enjoys a good reputation in the industry.

Carmen Sanchez

Deputy Planning Director

We tell them all about the Tyler team, their corporate philosophy, our experience with them, their guidance, and their good sense of humor.

“We tell them to not be afraid to think beyond the obvious, because software can be used in surprising ways to address problems that are unique to your organization.”

Case Study Highlights

  • 100% of planning applications submitted online
  • Plan review time substantially reduced; requests and revisions occur in minutes
  • Paper removal resulted in new, productive flex space

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