City Teams Up for Winning Results

Organization Profile

  • Industry: Local Government
  • Went Live With EnerGov: 2018
  • Number of Employees: 3,500
  • Population: Approx. 500,000
  • Location: Missouri
  • Tyler Products/Solutions: EnerGov, Socrata

Technology Helps City Departments Team Up for Winning Efficiency and Service

Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO), is often defined by its great sports teams and distinctly flavorful barbecue. As the reigning Super Bowl champions, with a World Series win not far in its past, there’s no denying that KCMO is home to some great athletics. And, with everyone from U.S. Presidents to famous actors to sports icons stopping in just to get a taste of that slow-smoked Kansas City-style barbecue, it’s pretty clear this city has earned its place in barbecue royalty.

While the exciting flavors and ball games might pull you in, there’s more to KCMO keeping residents around. The city offers a wide variety of lifestyles, that when paired with its affordable cost of living, make KCMO an attractive place to call home. “We really have multiple lifestyles you can live here,” said Assistant City Manager, Rick Usher. “Whether you want to farm, live in a high-rise building downtown, or settle into a suburban neighborhood — it’s all there.”

And, with a free streetcar and Google Fiber internet serving up speedy service to citizens, KCMO not only makes it simple to get from here to there, but also to stay connected whether you’re here or there. Though living in KCMO might be easy, its local government realized, supporting this strong, lively community requires an equally strong software platform to help support its continued innovation. The city has applied this winning culture to local government, where for example, they’ve been able to decrease walk-in traffic by nearly 2,500 residents annually by virtualizing civic services.

Bringing the Team Together

While teamwork on the field led KCMO to several sports championships, the city needed a community development solution that could bring together nine city departments off the field. For years, the city relied on four legacy systems to serve these nine departments, with limited cross-departmental cooperation or data-sharing.

“It was clear to us that connecting these siloed departments could enhance productivity throughout the city by eliminating redundancy in agency processes,” noted Usher. “In addition, we knew that new connections would enhance customer experience by providing all necessary information in one place.”

Through the RFP process, KCMO selected EnerGov, Tyler Technologies’ civic services software, to help foster this critical cross-departmental collaboration that would allow the city to streamline its processes for both staff and customers, increase efficiency, and build trust among departments.

Building a Loyal Fan Base

The city’s EnerGov implementation needed to include these nine departments: Aviation, City Planning and Development, Finance, Fire Prevention, Health, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Regulated Industries, and Water Services. Rather than become overwhelmed by the task at hand, KCMO used their implementation to open the lines of communication between these departments and start building trust.

“We regularly gathered all departments together to make high-level enterprise decisions,” said Usher. “But we also met one-on-one with departments to discuss their individual needs.” Two years after going live, these sessions still occur, so KCMO can continue streamlining and identifying gaps.

Additionally, KCMO carefully structured the project management of their implementation. “We created a top-down, bottom-up approach that ensured project communications were received by all involved: city departments, subject matter experts, staff, and leaders. This not only reinforced the significance of the project, but it also required us to work collaboratively from the outset,” noted Usher.

And what’s a team without a team name? KCMO branded their new EnerGov permitting platform as CompassKC, giving its users a solid name to rally behind.

Scoring Efficiencies With a Shared Platform

KCMO’s core team was able to consolidate permit applications, plan reviews, inspections, fee payments, and acceptance across multiple departments. CompassKC, the branded name for its new shared community development platform, now links city departments, providing customers and staff with a one-stop shop for city services such as permits, plans, payments, and more.

It didn’t take long for city staff to see efficiencies from data-sharing and automation. Staff now has more time to devote to more impactful community projects, rather than getting bogged down with repetitive, manual processes.

Now, with its shared database, we’ve really transformed the work that our permit staff, inspectors, and investigators are doing. We’re not just running through checklists now — we’re looking at the real issues.

Rick Usher

Assistant City Manager

Additionally, by improving the visibility of data across city departments, trust has also improved. This has allowed KCMO to eliminate past procedures and duplicate work that was focused on making sure other departments had done their jobs correctly.

And, with all nine city departments now using the same payment platform, “both city and finance departments have seen cost savings due to eliminating the time needed to reconcile multiple payment platforms,” Usher noted.

Leveraging Online Services to Improve the Customer Experience

While KCMO leveraged EnerGov to break down its cross-departmental silos, the end goal of implementing this solution was to provide customers with the best possible permitting and licensing experience. Before implementing EnerGov, customers often became the internal communication system. “In the past, citizens had to go to multiple city departments themselves to get the items needed for applications. It was this confusing, long, multi-step process to conduct business with the city,” said Usher.

KCMO needed a way to provide all the community development information and tools customers needed in one easy-to-use place. To reach this goal, the city made it a priority to include Citizen Self Service (CSS) in its EnerGov implementation, a web portal where customers can conduct business online on a schedule that’s convenient for them.

It’s hard to imagine, but during our first 18 months we had 5,349 users register for Citizen Self Service. We are also receiving compliments and praise from our customers due to the ease of access to services online.

Rick Usher

Assistant City Manager

Since implementing CSS, KCMO sees nearly 2,400 less walk-in customers annually, but manages the same permitting workload. EnerGov solutions have converted customers previously using fax machines to the online services for permitting and plan review. And, now that the city is getting so many applications electronically, workload can be distributed a lot more consistently across the department. “You can manage peaks and valleys a little better than having a lot of walk-in customers at once,” Usher commented.

Playing the Long Game

KCMO isn’t ready to stop making improvements any time soon. “EnerGov has the flexibility to enable us to continue streamlining to make our processes even better,” said Usher. A perfect example of this was when Airbnb recently hit the Midwest. Because the city had built up trust and collaboration between various departments, local government was able to bring together several teams to quickly create and implement a short-term permit type.

Going forward, KCMO plans to bring even more departments together by implementing MyCivic, a public-facing app, which will give its residents and businesses instant access to all the services and resources the city offers, along with Tyler 311, a virtual solution that will help KCMO connect the public to the local government by managing and organizing citizens’ non-emergency inquiries and service requests.

These days, KCMO has much more to celebrate than sports championships. This winning community has created a cohesive team of city departments, streamlined its processes, and provided its residents and businesses with the tools needed to continue driving innovation for years to come.

Case Study Highlights

  • Eliminated process redundancies and increased trust among city departments, saving the city money and its customers’ time
  • Nearly 2,400 less walk-in customers while managing the same permitting workload
  • 5,300+ users registered to use Citizen Self Service (CSS) in the program’s first 18 months
  • 2020 Tyler Excellence Award Winner

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