Accela, the provider of cloud-based solutions for government, today announced that cities and counties across the country are leveraging its cloud-based solutions to rapidly respond to the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and build resilience in the face of an evolving public health landscape. Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San Diego, California; and Shelby County, Tennessee are among the jurisdictions leveraging Accela's flexible platform to manage high volumes of vital services, empower remote work, and keep their communities safe during these unprecedented times.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a major shift in the way government must deliver services and do business," said Jonathon (JK) Knight, Chief Customer Officer at Accela. "Our cloud solutions enable governments across the country to rapidly go remote and approve projects more quickly to help bring in revenue and rebuild from this crisis while keeping communities safe. We are committed to navigating the complex terrain of rebuilding, together."
Social distancing guidelines have accelerated the need for government agencies to transition from manual, paper-based processes to electronic workflows to keep critical services running while minimizing public health risk. Accela's agile cloud-based platform answers the need for modern digital services with tools to help streamline virtual inspections, plan reviews, permitting approvals, and other processes remotely. Accela helps reduce IT burden and ensure community safety for cities utilizing its solutions to implement virtual inspections and help navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
Accela is helping California's second-most populous city, San Diego, maximize opportunities to keep community development moving forward and continue construction projects, which are deemed essential in the state amid COVID-19, by implementing online permits and safety protocols.
"This move to fully embrace online permitting is needed now more than ever as our builders navigate their way through a global health pandemic," says Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego. "We still face a major statewide housing crisis that will only get worse if construction slows down. By partnering with Accela, we hope to make it easier to get shovels in the ground and keep residents and employees safe during COVID-19 and beyond by eliminating the need to exchange thousands of paper documents in person."
In Florida, the City of Fort Lauderdale rapidly transitioned to Accela's solutions for virtual inspections. By completing all inspection workflows online, Fort Lauderdale can also continue to drive important community development projects and business operations, without compromising staff or citizen health.
"The COVID-19 outbreak posed significant challenges to our operations and service delivery," said Anthony Fajardo, Director of the City of Fort Lauderdale Department of Sustainable Development. "Working with Accela enabled us to quickly adapt to a changing environment by implementing a virtual inspections program that was responsive to the needs of our customers and allowed us to keep construction projects moving forward."
Shelby County, the largest county in Tennessee by population and geographic area, has seen an increased need for capacity to meet the immediate challenges of COVID-19 while also enhancing its overall ability to execute on its commitment to exceptional customer service. By partnering with Accela to eliminate physical barriers within the planning and permitting process, Shelby County has been able to serve its customers remotely without requiring visits to county offices. Planning proposals and permit applications can now be submitted online and back office staff can review and approve plans to optimize operations for quicker turnaround times, increased transparency, and improved customer satisfaction.
"One week after deployment, we had 91 new user accounts and 55 applications submitted," says Nidia Logan Robinson, Deputy Director in the Division of Planning and Development for Shelby County. "We sent out a series of customer communications and citizens are now navigating the system on their own with success. The comments we are receiving from the public have been positive, thanking us for an added option, which traditionally has been paper-based and is now available online."
Today's announcement reinforces Accela's commitment to delivering modern digital tools to help build thriving communities, now and in the future. More than 80 percent of Accela's new customers purchased solutions in the cloud, and 66 percent of all Accela customers are now in the cloud. Accela recently launched its cloud-based COVID-19 Response Solutions, which were developed in response to customer demand for digital service capabilities to address the biggest challenges of the pandemic. These cloud-based solutions were developed to enable agencies to provide online citizen services while working remotely, including scheduling healthcare workers and volunteers, conducting mobile and virtual inspections to help field workers continue critical, timely inspections or construction projects as scheduled, and more. These solutions are additions to Accela's pre-existing Civic Solutions that empower local and state governments to leverage cloud technology to accelerate efficiency and spur community development.
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