Kansas Counties Depend on Orion

  • Industry: State Government
  • Location: Topeka, Kan.
  • Population: 2.8 million
  • Properties on 2012 Assessment Roll: 1.7 million
  • Tyler Client Since: 1980
  • Tyler Products Used: Orion

Orion allows access to multiple county sites from a single location. The Division of Property Valuation has direct access to centrally hosted sites through desktop icons. Locally hosted sites are accessed through a web-based desktop sharing application. As the PVD provides first-level Orion support to all counties on a daily basis, this is extremely important.

David Harper

Property Valuation Director for Kansas Department of Revenue Property Valuation Division

The Facts

Kansas has a total of 1.7 million parcels, and its 105 counties range in size from 2,800 to more than 220,000 parcels. The smallest, most rural county has less than 1,400 citizens, while the largest, most urban county, has more than 516,000. The Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) Property Valuation Division (PVD) is tasked with the unique duty of providing a single CAMA system to be used by every county, regardless of size, number of employees or level of expertise.

Key Challenges

  • The 20-year-old CAMA system was out of date and no longer served the needs of the citizens, each county’s appraisal staff or the PVD.
  • A new system needed to serve as a “one size fits all” solution for all 105 Kansas counties — each one ranging in size and individual needs.
  • The PVD required a solution that would allow them to provide assistance for each county to ensure work was completed accurately each year.

Benefits: Financial and Beyond

  • All appraisal calculations are exposed, providing fair and equitable valuations throughout the state.
  • Significant time and money savings are recognized because work can be completed remotely, multiple county sites can be accessed from a single location, data exportation to other applications is easy and efficient and the state-hosted environment saves hardware and IT support costs.
  • Immeasurable value has been created by providing public access to data in Orion to taxpayers, legislators and other state agencies.
  • Considerable support and annual configuration efficiencies are recognized because of the PVD’s direct access to centrally hosted sites.

The Challenge

The KDOR PVD provides appraisal oversight, assistance, training and compliance monitoring to the 105 counties in the state. The CAMA system in place had been in use nearly 20 years, was aging rapidly and was becoming increasingly difficult to support and enhance. The system no longer served the needs of the citizens, counties or PVD, so an updated solution was needed.

Partnering with Tyler Technologies to Execute a Customized, Powerful Solution

That solution was Orion. Working with Tyler Technologies, customizations were made to Orion to make it suitable for all counties. Server configurations were recommended, and a state-wide implementation plan was put in place.

Kansas Department of Revenue IT staff worked extensively with Tyler Technologies to design and build the state’s software as a service (SaaS) platform, which maximized personnel resources and provided a host environment for the 91 counties who wished to avoid the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining servers on site. In all, nine environments were built, while 14 counties maintained their own servers.

Next, the PVD assisted counties with data clean-up in preparation for conversion. Their IT staff built the Orion sites on the new servers, ran the conversion programs and loaded the new data. Then they tested, performed customized Orion configurations, and installed the program on each county computer.

Finally, counties were converted to Orion over the course of several years and each configuration started during the tax calendar’s three-month slow period. Before a final production conversion, counties were given a test site for at least one year to ensure maximum usability. Final conversions began conservatively with just two counties the first year. As the program was perfected and repeatable routines established, that number grew to 20 in the final year. The first two beta counties produced values in Orion for the 2007 tax year, and the final 33 counties produced values for the 2012 tax year.

Throughout the implementation, the PVD provided training, first-level Orion support and compliance monitoring to all Kansas counties, and still does today. They also assumed the responsibility of administering and maintaining the system, approving enhancements, making all configuration changes, and periodically developing new calculation statements to refine methods for establishing values.

The Orion CAMA solution provided the KDOR PVD with a single, powerful system that was able to be customized and tailored for all 105 counties. Money and time savings were recognized, and tasks were completed at a higher level of efficiency as the appraisal staff took advantage of Orion’s functions and features. Staff can now work remotely, access multiple county sites from a single location, easily export data and share data with taxpayers, legislators and other state agencies. Customer service, appraisal data and efficiencies improved immensely because of the successful implementation of Orion.

Why Tyler?

  • Tyler has 75 years’ experience in the appraisal and tax software and services industry.
  • Tyler provides tremendous flexibility and guidance during implementation of all its software and services. We will work with database connectivity challenges and other vendors, to assure a smooth-running integrated system.
  • Tyler provides a large array of ongoing support options. Clients consistently give us high marks in customer satisfaction.

About Tyler Appraisal & Tax Solutions

For more than 75 years, Tyler has been the trusted provider of integrated appraisal software and services to more than 1,300 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada. Given our deep public domain experience, we understand that when it comes to serving your jurisdiction, you need the right blend of innovative functionality and reliable performance in one integrated system.

Tyler’s Orion appraisal and tax software is the go-to solution for unparalleled access to appraisal, tax and collections information. With Orion, you’ll benefit from proven information management, better access to critical data, faster business processing and integration with up-to-date mapping, photo imaging and property valuation applications.

Case Study Highlights

  • Orion serves as a "one size fits all" solution for all 105 Kansas counties — each one ranging in size and individual needs
  • Significant time and money savings were seen by delivering the Orion software to 91 counties via software as a service (SaaS)
  • Immeasurable value has been created by providing public access to data in Orion to taxpayers, legislators, and other state agencies

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