Enhancing Online Services
In order to increase customer convenience, the City will provide or enhance the following online services by the end of 2019: online payments, building permits/inspections, service requests, registrations/licenses.
The High Performing Government Ends Policy sets the expectation for how the City will deliver services - reliably, efficiently and at a high level of quality. This Ends Policy is by far the broadest and covers issues critical to our services including communication, sustainability, innovation and technology. As we looked to establish our first goals around this ends policy, there was no doubt that the goals would center around technology.
Why is this important?
The world today operates in a 24/7 environment, and the City of Naperville should be no different. Our customers expect and deserve to conduct city business when and how they prefer. Most city transactions today require a trip to City Hall or at least your mailbox because our current systems do not support online payments. We also recognize that our online help services don’t meet the expectations of society today. That’s all about to change.
As the City grew, so did many of our software solutions. While functional, many of the city’s current systems are antiquated and do not communicate with one another. As an organization, we have taken the time to create our long term technology plan and roadmap to support the services that we provide to the community. Between now and the end of 2019, we will be replacing, expanding and integrating our key business systems to improve our service delivery to you, our customer.
The City processes more than 7,500 permits annually. While a small percentage of those can be mailed in, most require a trip to City Hall during normal business hours to submit and another trip to City Hall to pick up the permit. After completing this goal, our customers will be able to submit, pay for and acquire their permits online, without ever leaving their home or office. This capability will expand beyond building permits to other permits, licenses and services that today you must come to City Hall to complete. For those who still want to come to City Hall to complete their business, you are always welcome. We simply believe our customers should have a choice.
While the City provides a platform for residents to ask questions or request services online today, we think we can improve. For example, if you have a parkway tree that you think needs to be trimmed, you can enter that request through the City’s website, and the tree will be inspected and then trimmed if needed. As a city, we can improve by sharing more information with the customer about the status and timing of their request. If you ordered something online, not knowing that status and timing of your order would be unacceptable. We feel the same and would like to share more with you about what we will be doing to respond to your request and when.
How are we doing?
Although the outcomes may not be visible to the public yet, there are significant efforts underway to make the above service improvements happen. Specifically:
- Early in 2017, the City began its implementation of a $7.4 million, 7-year Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution - Tyler Technologies’ Munis and EnerGov software. Our current ERP is more than 20 years old, and the replacement effort is significant. In the first of the three-year implementation, we are focusing on financial records and management. Years two and three will encompass implementation in the areas of human resources, utility billing and payment solutions.
- Our Water and Electric Utilities and Department of Public Works have historically used different systems to track their work. The City is currently working to bring all of our departments onto a single work order system. This effort should improve customer service to the resident, streamline service delivery and improve resource sharing between departments. This transition should be substantially complete by late 2018.
- This spring we implemented a new City Council agenda management software, which will be expanded to all boards and commissions by early 2018. Locating all of the agenda materials, video and meeting minutes in a single location on our website increases transparency and convenience to our customers seeking information about our meetings.
On January 1, 2018, the City of Naperville expects to "go live" with the financial management module of the ERP. For our customers, you will likely not even notice a change, and that’s a good thing. This upgrade to our systems is necessary to pave the way for online payment systems and other customer improvements, which will come at a later time.
As we bring the Utility and Public Works departments onto a single work order system, we want to make it easier for you to submit your requests into that system. If there is a pothole on your street, wouldn’t it be simple to take a picture and submit it directly to the City from your phone? That capability is on its way.
City Boards and Commissions play a valuable role in our local government and community. As advisors to the City Council, these groups allow our citizens to truly influence local decision-making. By the end of 2017, we will have placed the Board and Commission application process online as well as information about terms and vacancies. We hope this process improvement will make it easier for even more residents to be involved with the City.