Easier Processes for Staff and Public
At a Glance: City of Lake Forest, California
A Tyler client for more than 15 years, the City of Lake Forest serves 80,070 citizens in Orange County, California.
- Comprehensive rezoning plan led to an anticipated 15 percent population increase, creating an influx of building activity
- Disparate systems and manual processes throughout the city led to a lack of crossdepartmental data visibility, leading to duplication and disjointed work efforts
Tyler Technologies’ EnerGov™ Product Suite
- Community Development — Code Enforcement, Planning, Building, Public Works
- Business Management
- iG Enforce™ and iG Inspect™ mobile apps
- Citizen Access Portal
- Integrated data management and workflow for cross-departmental awareness and collaboration
- Streamlined intake processes and reduced redundant data entry
- Enabled full mobility of inspectors and field officers with EnerGov mobile apps
- Increased online inspection requests by more than 40 percent through EnerGov’s Citizen Access Portal
Situated in the heart of southern Orange County, the City of Lake Forest, California, is one of the most desirable locations in the state. Already home to a variety of successful businesses such as Panasonic Avionics, Oakley, and Apria Healthcare, the city has grown exponentially over the last decade and continues to be a draw for both residential and commercial development.
With a comprehensive planning process on the horizon, the city’s Management Services department knew the best way to prepare for the rezoning of nearly 838 acres of land and an estimated population increase of 15 percent was to be proactive. That proactive approach led to the search for a software solution that could capitalize on their existing GIS investment and centrally connect departments for a citywide solution.
We were looking for a platform that could integrate with GIS and bring city departments and divisions together. After conducting a comprehensive software search, EnerGov was the platform that best fit the city’s needs.
Management Services Director, City of Lake Forest, California
“Our GIS infrastructure in Lake Forest is pretty mature — probably one of the most mature platforms inside the city,” said Hannah Shin-Heydorn, Management Services department director. “We were looking for a platform that could integrate with GIS and bring city departments and divisions together. After conducting a comprehensive software search, EnerGov™ was the platform that best fit the city’s needs.”
GIS Technology Connects Departments, Enables Information Sharing
Prior to implementing EnerGov, the City of Lake Forest faced a common problem among local governments: disjointed, manual-based processes. Information that needed to be shared was managed separately by different departments or divisions throughout the community development process. From spreadsheets and documents to forms and binders, accessing critical data was an inefficient, daunting task. One commonality that existed across all platforms, however, was GIS.
“GIS is what really brought everything together for us,” said Doug McBratney, the city’s IT manager. “It was the foundation that helped us move forward in terms of coming up with standard processes for things like permitting, planning, public works, and code enforcement, and even getting more ancillary departments onto the platform like Finance and Economic Development.”
Today, departments that were once siloed have access to centralized, real-time data visualization and spatial analysis through EnerGov.
“We’ve broken down a lot of barriers in terms of information sharing with EnerGov,” said Debra Rose, the city’s assistant manager. “The departments always wanted to share information, but there wasn’t an easy way to make that happen.”
Information sharing has been particularly beneficial for Lake Forest’s Economic Development Division. Because the city operates on a voluntary business registration process rather than requiring business licenses, the staff within the Economic Development Division are required to keep up with what new businesses are coming into the city — a challenge for a city growing as rapidly as Lake Forest. Now, the centralized data and workflow within EnerGov has enabled the division to receive an automatic notification when a commercial building permit or plan application is submitted in the system, which has minimized the time staff spends on retroactive research and ensured the city’s business contact lists are updated, current, and more secure than previous Excel-based processes.
Information Sharing Eliminates Manual Processes and Increases Efficiency
The city’s inspectors and code enforcement officers are reaping the benefits of information sharing as well.
“From a field perspective, the city’s field users are loving it. The iG mobility applications have enabled field officers to have information at their fingertips,” said Glenn Park, Lake Forest’s EnerGov project manager. “They have gained a lot of efficiency and they’ve been more productive because they’re not coming back into the office to update records, and they’re not carrying around binders of paperwork. They can do everything they used to do in the office out in the field.”
But the biggest internal benefit of their software? Increased staff efficiency through streamlined processes.
The biggest win has been staff’s ability to keep up with the increase in activity. There have been minimal staff increases even though permit activity has increased more than 20 percent year over year for the past three years.
EnerGov Project Manager, City of Lake Forest, California
“The biggest win has been staff’s ability to keep up with the increase in activity,” Park said. “There have been minimal staff increases even though permit activity has increased more than 20 percent year over year for the past three years.”
Portal Increases Citizen Self Service and Visibility
In addition to increased internal visibility and efficiency, Park said the Lake Forest community has realized the benefits of EnerGov as well.
Previously, constituents that frequently interacted with the city like contractors, building developers, and construction managers were required to make a trip to city hall or wait for a response from a staff member via phone or email because the city wasn’t open to them 24/7.
Lake Forest’s constituents have really enjoyed the simplicity of the Citizen Access Portal. With EnerGov, they’re able to go online and search for their particular permit and request any inspection they need.
EnerGov Project Manager, City of Lake Forest, California
“Lake Forest’s constituents have really enjoyed the simplicity of the Citizen Access Portal,” Park said. “With EnerGov, they’re able to go online and search for their particular permit and request any inspection they need instead of calling the building counter to schedule inspections manually or calling through the IVR. They’re also able to view inspector run sheets for that day or previous day to see the result of an inspection. That visibility was never available before and that has really made a difference for the constituents that most frequently interact with us.”
Today, more than 40 percent of the city’s inspection requests are submitted online through the EnerGov Citizen Access Portal.
In the future, the City of Lake Forest plans to continue to expand upon their EnerGov solution through increased integration with the city’s finance department, as well as increasing constituents’ ability to apply for simple permits exclusively online.