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IT Manager Perspective: How Cloud-Based Community Development Software Reduces Headaches and Saves Valuable Time

City of Atwater, California

January 26, 2022

Not all community development solutions are made the same, especially when local government building departments are looking for remote access to digital building permitting processes for its staff, builders, contractors, citizens, and third-party agencies.  

“Traditionally, with community development software, you have an on-premises server with a client application you need to install or deploy,” explained Glin Lamerson, the City of Atwater’s IT Manager. “If our employees wanted to work from home, or needed to during the pandemic, they would need to use a city-owned laptop, and we’d need to VPN them in and connect them to an on-premises server. We wanted to give our employees more flexibility than traditional software allows so we explored cloud-based options.” 

Cloud-based solutions allow staff to access and work whenever it suits them best without needing to install any software. So, the City of Atwater in California signed with Cloudpermit for a cloud-based, paperless, and flexible solution for its 30,000 residents.  

“We’re really drowning in a constant stream of paper with, right now, approximately 20% to 30% of our office space used for paper storage,” shared Lamerson. “By using a cloud-based solution, we can convert our paper files to digital files and create more useable space in our office. We’re looking forward to getting rid of paper with online application submissions and processes.” 

Typically, when departments adopt new software that is not cloud-based, it adds additional workload and maintenance to keep those systems operational and secure. And it does not always mean less paper to keep it all running smoothly.  

“There is no regular cycle of application installations or the need to configure a server for growth over time with a cloud-based and web-based solution,” Lamerson said. “With Cloudpermit, we don’t have to worry about frequent application patches and updates which, on occasion, have caused additional headaches. All we need to do is tell our customers and department staff to go to the City of Atwater Cloudpermit website which gives us a simpler roadmap to a better customer experience and operational efficiency.” 

Thousands of Cloudpermit users log onto the system every day for an easy and fast permit experience, and that will soon be the case for this small-town community in the heart of California when Cloudpermit launches this year. 

“By adopting Cloudpermit, we won’t have to worry about the typical headaches associated with bringing on a new service, like capital costs of purchasing servers, licensing, storage, maintenance contracts, or staff hours to maintain or configure the system,” explained Lamerson. “We also won’t need to worry about increased cooling costs. When you bring a new service online, you need to account for the additional cooling the system will require.” 

As all IT Managers and IT Departments understand, there can be many hidden costs associated with new ways of working that can detract from other essential tasks. 

“There is a real tangible cost to bringing a service online, besides the cost of the solution itself, but also the cost on the staff to maintain the software,” Lamerson continued. “Now, we don’t need to worry about those concerns because Cloudpermit handles the software for us, and we can get back to doing the tasks that drive real value for our organization and residents.” 

When asked if Lamerson had any advice to share with local governments hesitant to adopt a cloud-based solution for fear of it taking up too much time, he said: “I want other municipalities to gain the advantages that we’re going to gain with Cloudpermit, so I’d say that you can’t afford to not make the time to find a better way to do things.”