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The Mobile Citizen: What Makes a Good Mobile Tool? (Part 2 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: What Makes a Good Mobile Tool? (Part 2 of 4)
This is the second post in a series on "The Mobile Citizen," a look at how the Civic Platform is helping agencies of all sizes engage their mobile citizen and stay ahead of the "mobile mind shift." ------ What makes a good mobile tool? This was the question I was asking myself as I read the results of the annual Digital Cities Survey. The survey identified technologies and initiatives that cities are likely to have an increased focus on in the coming year. Mobile technology ranked in the top 3, behind only cybersecurity and open data. As I thought about good examples I’ve seen as both a student of government and working in the industry, I kept coming back to a quote from Philadelphia CIO Adel Ebeid. To paraphrase, he said that a successful mobile tool solves a real pain point as opposed to being just "cool and fun." His city, Philadelphia, h......
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Making the Case for a Local Version of the U.S. Digital Service in California

Making the Case for a Local Version of the U.S. Digital Service in California
A California version of the highly acclaimed U.S. Digital Service (USDS) just took a big leap forward. In its recently released report, the Little Hoover Commission, a bipartisan government oversight committee, has called on elected officials in Sacramento to create a local version of the federal program in the form of a new California Digital Service (CDS). For background, the USDS was created by President Obama in 2014 to make it easier and more efficient for Americans to interact with government services. The agency offers designers, engineers, product managers and others from the private sector the opportunity to work for the government for a week, a month or a year, and the work being done is impressive and impactful—from  improving services for America’s veterans, to modernizing our immigration system, to helping Americans access healthcare. In a blog post on TechCrunch back in March, I called on California Governor Jerry Brown to tak......
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The Mobile Citizen: Reach Them Where They Are (Part 1 of 4)

The Mobile Citizen: Reach Them Where They Are (Part 1 of 4)
There's a shift happening in how we get information, use services and communicate with others. It's a mobile shift. Forrester, a leading market research firm, calls it the "mobile mind shift" and describes it as an "expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need." As companies like Uber and Amazon continue to leverage mobile technology to reach customers during these specific "mobile moments," it's not as easy for government to engage their "mobile" citizens. Why? Because, unlike businesses, governments can't target their customers with a service tailored to a specific need. Government must serve everyone by delivering a multitude of services as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. At Accela, we believe that governments, regardless of size, should have the best tools to meet their residents where they are, when they need it. With the Accela Civic Platform, citizens are able to use their......
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10 Years Later: Helping New Orleans Get Back on Its Feet after Hurricane Katrina

10 Years Later: Helping New Orleans Get Back on Its Feet after Hurricane Katrina
It’s hard to believe it’s been just over 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit, displacing more than a million people throughout the Gulf Coast region. Roughly 80 percent of the City of New Orleans was flooded, with 70 percent of all occupied housing units damaged during the hurricane and flooding that followed. Parts of the City remained underwater for eight days until repairs to the levee system made it possible for water to start being pumped out. I was living in Atlanta at the time and heard about the unprecedented devastation on the news. Little did I know that years later I would move across the country and join a company that was instrumental in the City of New Orleans’ efforts to get back on its feet and rebuild. Coincidentally, about a year before Hurricane Katrina, the City’s Department of Safety and Permits implemented Accela Land Management to automate its building permit ......
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Why Civic Platform 8.0 Matters

Why Civic Platform 8.0 Matters
Over the weekend, Accela released Civic Platform 8.0. For many of our employees, partners and customers, these releases are an annual or biannual event that produce a litany of new FAQs and release notes on the platform’s newest features. After many years of releasing product, it’s easy to see how these events become yet another “ho-hum” release listing off the “new stuff” added during the past cycle. However, this is not an ordinary release by any measure. Not only is it the most significant release in Accela’s history, but Civic Platform 8.0 is the most dramatic release in the government technology sector, ever. And I realize that is making a bold statement! So what’s the big deal? Why does the release matter? A little more than two years ago, Accela closed its first round of institutional funding. Our desire to raise outside money was centered on our belief that we had the right stuff......
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Watch It Work: See Civic Tech Solutions in Action — Sales Pitch Not Included

Watch It Work: See Civic Tech Solutions in Action — Sales Pitch Not Included
Thanks to the Internet, it’s a DIY world. Searches for how-to videos have skyrocketed 70% in the last year. Whether you want to learn how to build a retaining wall or setup a home theater with stadium seating and surround sound, your first thought isn’t to reach out to a salesperson — you go online instead to learn from people who have been there, done that. That’s why we’ve created the Watch it Work webinars, a new series of 25-minute live demos that showcase our civic solutions in action in a quick and to-the-point format. No pushy sales presentation. No salesperson at all. An expert will demo for you how our tools can help you address common challenges in just 25 minutes (plus 5 minutes for questions). Each demo will walk attendees through a real-world scenario and how it can be addressed through technology. Upcoming topics including work orders, citizen relationship managemen......
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