Getting Your Council OnboardJuly 19, 2023
Local governments are increasingly recognizing the importance of digital technologies in engaging their communities and enhancing their services. Online community development software adoption is on the rise as more communities recognize how valuable an online development approval process is for citizens, staff, and builders.
Often the final step to adoption is council approval, so here are some tips for winning their support:
- Ask your software provider for help
- Do your research
- Focus on the benefits
- Address concerns
- Gather support
- Invite your potential software provider to the conversation
- Be ready for change
Ask Your Software Provider for Help:
Your software provider has helped other clients through this process. They can help build a business case and show your council where you will gain efficiency with their software. They can be on hand to answer questions, ease concerns, and point out key advantages of being online.
Do Your Research:
It’s important to do your homework before proposing new ideas to your council and elected officials. Spend some time comparing what different software offers such as costs, features, and shortcomings, and take multiple software demos.
It can be very helpful to talk with neighboring government staff in your area about what software they use, what they like and do not like, and how their community feels about the software. Organize all the data you have collected and be prepared to provide evidence and statistics for how your top choice(s) measure up.
Focus on the Benefits:
Online community development software has many benefits for local governments, communities, and residents. It helps elevate customer service since residents can apply for permits and submit complaints/applications online without needing to travel to their respective government offices. Software also improves transparency and accountability on both sides of the application process, which can help build stronger relationships between staff and the citizens they serve.
Another major benefit is speeding up the development approval process – online processes are 80% faster than paper-based systems which can save governments money in the long term.
By focusing on the benefits, it can be easier to make a case for a switch to digital processes or new software. Councils and elected officials want to understand why new software is a smart choice. Be prepared to share key benefits when it comes to cost and revenue, customer experience, and efficiency.
Online ways of working are often misunderstood by some councils and elected officials as a risk because of security and privacy concerns. It’s important to understand how the software you are considering keeps your data safe, secure, and confidential.
When information is stored online, it is often better protected since it can be kept safe from physical threats such as fires, floods, forgery, and human error of misplaced files. Many software providers like Cloudpermit go to great lengths to keep information safe with regular penetration and security testing by third parties, encrypted passwords, and data storage within country borders.
It’s best to present accurate information about how your potential software provider plans to ensure excellent data security to ease any concerns they may have.
Identify the stakeholders that will be the most frequent users of your new software and consider how they might benefit from the change. Work with these stakeholders, like builders and contractors, to determine their key needs and concerns. Many governments have had great success setting up meetings or luncheons to discuss how new software is a great win, and then you can use this group as support when you talk with your council or elected officials.
Invite Your Potential Software Provider:
Your potential software provider can be your best resource when talking with your council or elected officials. They have in-depth knowledge of the software that they can share and can address any concerns your council may have, like how data security is considered. They can also share key benefits and stories from other local governments in your surrounding area that have enjoyed the software you want.
Staff from your potential software provider can also give your council and elected officials a software demo so they can get a first-hand look for themselves.
Be Ready for Change:
The process of getting your council or elected officials ready and excited about new software may take some time. Be persistent in your efforts to showcase why the community development software you have chosen is the best way forward and be ready to embrace change.
With the right approach, your council and elected officials will realize the benefits of your new community development software. By doing your research, addressing concerns, gathering support, inviting your potential software provider to the conversation, and being ready for change, you can win support for a brighter future.