Evanston will utilize Accela Automation primarily to expedite tracking and managing land-use activities through a centralized database of information that can be shared across agencies. Community Development departments utilizing Accela Automation include Building, Planning, and Zoning, which handle a wide variety of permitting and regulatory processes. Users in the city's Public Works, Fire & Life Safety Services, Health & Human Services, and the Office of the City Clerk also have access to the system.
Evanston made the decision to upgrade to Web-based technology after hiring a consulting firm to assess its existing technology in terms of its ability to improve internal efficiencies and support a higher level of customer service.
"Our outdated technology was holding us back from providing residents with efficient and effective processes for doing business with the city," said James Wolinski, Evanston's Community Development department director. "The new technology of Accela Automation holds the key to accomplishing the goals of our strategic plan and more reliably meeting the expectations of the people we serve."
The city also launched additional Accela applications that enhance the functionality of Accela Automation to facilitate sharing of GIS information and enable field staff to work more efficiently in conducting inspections:
Accela GIS seamlessly integrates with Accela Automation to provide powerful real-time visual analysis to enhance land use, zoning, and infrastructure data. It allows creation of multiple map layers, automated map analysis, parcel and asset inventory management, direct editing of GIS data or files, and auto-distribution of information to mailing lists. It is built on the ArcIMS platform by ESRI®.
Accela Wireless is a mobile government software application that allows government staff to perform their jobs from the field for inspections, code enforcement, work orders, and service requests. Optimized for Intel Centrino® Mobile Technology, Accela Wireless is compatible with PDAs, laptops, and Tablet PCs running on the Microsoft Pocket PC 2003, Windows Mobile 5, Windows 2000, or Windows XP operating systems.
Two additional Accela applications are planned to launch over the coming months that will expand the use of Accela Automation to other areas of business and increase public access:
Accela Licensing & Case Management automates licensing, registration, and renewal programs for government agencies, including general business licenses, pet licenses, simple and complex registrations, occupational licensing, and more. The system allows easy creation of new case types and business rules to reflect the regulations of the agency, and helps provide quicker and more accurate customer service.
Accela Citizen Access provides real-time, direct access via the Internet to agency information and activities. For instance, online permit applications can be configured to allow citizens and businesses access to apply and pay for permits, schedule inspections, check the status of a permit or inspection, or print an approved permit directly from the Internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The city financed the upgrade project, including five years of maintenance, through Accela Financial Services, which provides low interest rate, municipal lease purchase financing for government agencies.
"The city of Evanston is to be congratulated for their commitment to serving their citizens," said Maury Blackman, Accela president and CEO. "The city did due diligence in assessing the capabilities of their previous system against the benefits of Web-based technology and moved decisively to put those benefits to work in making government services more responsive and accessible to the public."
Evanston is located 13 miles north of downtown Chicago, and is home to approximately 75,000 residents. Northwestern University, which opened its doors for the first time in 1855, is the city's major landmark. The city was, in fact, founded after the university opened and was named for one of its founders, John Evans. For more information about Evanston, visit http://www.cityofevanston.org.
Accela provides innovative, Web-based enterprise software solutions that automate land, permit, and asset management processes for local, state, and federal government agencies of all sizes. Backed by nearly 30 years of development and implementation in more than 500 agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, Accela products and services empower agencies to increase efficiencies, reduce workload, and provide citizens and businesses with more convenient access to government services. Accela is located in San Ramon, Calif. Accela products can be purchased directly from the GSA Schedule Contract #GS-35F-0249R. For more information, please visit www.accela.com.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Deborah Papp Accela, Inc. 925-659-3244 Email Contact Ron Jenkins RBJ Consulting 972-473-3546 Email Contact