City of Asheville Emphasizes e-Government with Accela Software

City’s Building Safety group to improve business processes, information accessibility for workers and citizens

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Dec. 12, 2011Accela, Inc., the leading provider of web- and cloud-based software applications for e-government, today announced that the city of Asheville, N.C., has selected the company’s enterprise Accela Automation software to improve the effectiveness of business processes and customer service in the city’s Development Services Center (DSC). 

Development Services is the umbrella name for the development assistance and regulation provided by five Asheville departments: Building Safety, Planning & Development, Transportation & Engineering, Water Resources, and Fire & Rescue. Accela Automation will be employed to streamline Building Safety’s land use activities such as permitting, plan reviews, inspections, code enforcement activity, and more. DSC also intends to provide its customers with a one-stop shop for e-government services such as 24/7 permit applications and tracking. The new system is targeted for availability in the fall of 2012. 

The largest city in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains region, fast-growing Asheville serves as a regional hub for business, health services, shopping, culture, and tourism.  Its resident population of more than 80,000 swells to almost 120,000 on an average day. To better serve the public and enhance the community’s quality of life, the city has focused on technology innovation and best business practices as cornerstones of its strategy. To that end, Asheville sought a system for DSC that would improve the quality and accessibility of information for business planning, minimize paper-based processes and forms; reduce redundant internal systems, data entry, processing and storage; and provide user-friendly functionality to both office- and field-based workers and the public. Accela Automation will also allow other DSC groups that work with Building Safety to share and access appropriate information for their activities. 

Multifaceted Capabilities for Innovative Government

Accela Automation is deployed by hundreds of governments of all sizes and populations as a complete solution for automating critical tasks associated with permitting, community development and planning, code enforcement, business and professional licensing, infrastructure asset management, and much more. Accela Automation utilizes an open architecture and a centralized database, allowing information to be easily accessed across departments. Among multiple new capabilities, software will provide DSC with the ability to: 

  • track permit applications and fees;
  •  automate scheduling and rescheduling of reviews, inspections, hearings or meetings; 
  •  provide a workflow engine for extensive configuration to match and enforce department processes;
  • deliver configured consoles targeted to specific department roles, which will enable workers to view and query only the information they need to perform their duties; and
  • obtain actionable summaries of business information and statistics, allowing staff to continuously modify and improve operations. 

The software’s Accela Mobile Office application, with integrated GIS, will allow office and field-based staff to access, update and share key data and maps in real-time, boosting accuracy and reducing trips to the office for coordination and paperwork. Accela Citizen Access application will enable businesses and residents to apply, pay for, and track their permits and licenses online from their home, office or mobile devices.