Client Spotlight: Troy, Alabama
- Two years as Tyler client
- Staff of 250
- County seat of Pike County
- Experienced growth of 4,000 + people since 2000
Integrating Incode for:
- Accounts Payable
- General Ledger
- Utility Billing and Collections
- Building Projects and Permits, and Business Licenses
- Increased new revenue by $112,000
- Estimated 10,841 hours saved results in projected savings of $130,000
- Fully integrated environment between departments
Alton Starling had a decision to make. Legislation had been passed requiring transparency and accountability in auditing, along with new financial reporting requirements for state and local governments. As the City Clerk and Treasurer for the City of Troy, Alabama, Starling was forced to reevaluate if Troy’s current system was up to the task; he determined it was not. Starling and the rest of Troy’s employees needed to decide to upgrade their existing system or look for another product that would meet Troy’s needs.
Starling concluded that the new system must provide data to everyone employed by the City of Troy, rather than to a select few. It was vital that each employee could base their decisions from data that was accessible to everyone.
“Our current system was not open; the only person who had access was myself and a few others. The department heads didn’t have up-to-date info on budgets; nothing was integrated. We used ten different systems instead of one integrated system,” Starling said.
The city evaluated the cost of upgrading the hardware and software for the old system versus Tyler Technologies’ Incode system; they concluded that it was more beneficial to convert to the platform Incode used. Moreover, the city saw the potential for total integration that Incode offered and wanted to take full advantage of Tyler’s state-of-the-art product. Even after extensive research and examination of Tyler’s product, Starling and the rest of Troy’s staff were only scratching the surface of the advantages Incode would provide to them.
When the City of Troy accepted the proposal from Tyler Technologies to implement the Incode software, we never realized how much of a payoff we would receive. It has allowed us to run our city more efficiently and effectively, thus creating a team atmosphere and better morale with our employees. It has been a very positive experience and our return on investment has been exceptional.
City Clerk and Treasurer
Implementation: timing is critical
Once the decision had been made to install Incode as the base of Troy’s operation, Starling and the rest of the staff worked closely with Tyler developers to apply a plan designed to maximize Troy’s investment. This meant implementing Incode on different dates for each department so as to streamline work flow from one department to the next.
Each of Troy’s departments had different deadlines, with some reporting on the fiscal year and others on the calendar year. Since all systems would rely on Accounts Payable and General Ledger, it was imperative that they be implemented first. Because the bulk of Troy’s revenue comes from Utility Billing and Collections, this module was implemented at the beginning of the fiscal year. Payroll was applied in January, the beginning of the reporting year for that department. This was done so no reports would have to be combined from two different systems. Starling was pleased with the plan the city and Tyler developed.
The implementation schedule was designed so we could focus on the new system entirely and we would not have to run dual systems. Training could be done in stages as implementation was done. This allowed for a smooth implementation process.
City Clerk and Treasurer
The combined efforts of Troy’s employees and Tyler resulted in the creation and utilization of a shared database of information between departments. This helped to open the lines of communication and allowed the departments to work as a team instead of individual entities. Direct deposit was added for employees, online payments were made available for customers, and a broad range of financial information was provided to the general public. In the governmental sector, accountability and transparency are vital; Incode allowed Troy to provide information instantly to their constituents while meeting the new government mandated regulations for financial reporting.
Automated process results in increased business
By partnering with Tyler Technologies, The City of Troy has been able to streamline many processes that were previously completed manually. Specifically, the process for obtaining and renewing licenses has been optimized through the implementation of Incode. License information is now instantly available to Troy employees and renewals can be completed in a more efficient manner. This procedure, which previously could take up to two months to complete, has been reduced to one week. This resulted in increased time and opportunity to research unlicensed businesses and non-renewals, which ultimately increased the number of licensed businesses from 2,300 to 3,300. Diane Leveque, Troy’s Revenue Officer, estimates that this increase alone resulted in an additional $95,000 in revenue for the City of Troy.
Expedited payments from online billing
Incode’s eBill feature helped reduce the costs of printing and mailing billings by automating the payment process. Because customers no longer have to wait to receive their statement in the mail and pay it in person, the entire billing and payment process has been expedited. With an average of 2,500 to 3,000 customers per month, Troy saves approximately 1 minute per customer while also reducing the amount of processing time by half. Brian Morgan, Troy’s Utilities Administrator, said he believes eBill has allowed his staff to focus their attention on other matters and better utilize their time. Starling agreed.
“The ability to have online payments of utility bills has really freed up our employees to do other things. People don’t spend time waiting in line and our employees don’t have to manually touch that process.”
Solutions to unbilled consumption and late payments
Incode’s ability to offer integrated data throughout departments has benefitted Troy’s employees from a processing standpoint. Instead of having to search and process data by hand, employees have any and all information readily available at their fingertips. Troy can now determine through Incode’s database where unbilled consumption of utilities is taking place. Through this application alone Troy was able to virtually eliminate any bad debt and increase collection of late utilities by more than $12,000 annually.
“Incode lets us see immediately who is up to date and who is not; we previously had to search and identify who was late,” Starling said. “The meter readers aren’t doing duplicated work so they can focus on identifying and eliminating illegal consumption.”
Time efficiency leads to increased savings
After utilizing Incode, the City of Troy has seen a reduction in overtime and actual hours spent performing personnel duties. After implementation, Starling asked each department to provide the ways Incode has improved their job performance. The overwhelming majority listed “time saved.”
By using the Accounts Payable, General Ledger, Utility Billing and Collections, Payroll, Building Projects and Permits, and Business License modules, the City of Troy has maximized their efficiency by dramatically streamlining their business processes. Starling and his team calculated the number of personnel hours saved per module and the results speak for themselves:
||Approximate Hours Saved Per Year
|Utility, Billing, and Collections
|Business License and Building Projects
The combined personnel hours saved each year totals 10,841. Starling estimates that the dramatic reduction of hours will result in potential savings of $130,000 per year, in addition to more than $112,000 generated in new revenue for Troy.
Through the joint efforts of Starling and Tyler, Incode has provided the City of Troy with a uniquely integrated environment between departments. Incode helped to decrease costs and increase revenues without burdening taxpayers. Starling believes that other cities stand to benefit from working with Tyler.
“Our success can show other municipalities or companies using an outdated system that change and efficiency are possible,” he said. “Some people have been in a position for 30 years and were able to adapt and increase productivity. Stress levels are reduced and the workplace is more pleasant for all. If we can do it, anyone can.”