It’s no secret that cities and states have an affinity for small businesses.
They provide services in areas big box stores might dismiss for lack of size. They pay locals to deliver local goods. They add a sense of originality to localities and are often the key contributors to tax revenues. State and local governments know that enabling business growth enables communities. With this mindset, governments should always be hunting for business and occupational licensing solutions that can simplify the regulatory process so business owners can focus on services instead of paperwork.
Unfortunately, finding the right IT vendor can be precarious. Some business and occupational licensing solutions radiate sheer innovation, yet fizzle when paired with poor service agreements and lackluster development plans. Similar to other IT services, selecting a bad licensing vendor can translate to a number of maladies that can include cybersecurity vulnerabilities if security isn’t managed well, gaps in maintenance, system integration issues, cost overruns, legal issues, data loss and a laundry list of other potential problems.
As a seasoned provider of business and occupational licensing solutions, Accela understands the value of creating and maintaining strong relationships with our government customers. Here are five characteristics and commitments state and local governments should seek when trying to find the right company for their licensing services.
1. Product Support
Whether the licensing solution is in the cloud, or part of a software package installed on site, maintenance and software updates are essential upkeep to maintain an effective licensing solution. A vendor should be ready and capable enough to support the needed upgrades, fix potential bugs, streamline system integration issues, and be available to answer questions when called. Further, a good vendor won’t just sell a solution and walk away, they’ll already have an implementation and service plan ready for their customers. At Accela, we see support as an incredibly critical component, so much so we’ve taken it a step further and designed our own customer support platform called Success Community. The platform connects our customers with each other, fosters collaboration and ideation, and provides help for our latest solutions.
2. Data Ownership
Government data belongs to citizens and the right type of business and occupational licensing vendor would never seek to own it simply because it was generated through the use of their proprietary technology. Governments should demand full ownership of their data. Further, governments should make sure the licensing data produced or processed by their vendor can be integrated into their other systems, regardless of vendor.
3. Staff Training and Onboarding
Even the most advanced technologies are inadequate without proper training. As such, when deploying a business or occupational licensing solution, it’s critical that vendors properly train office staff so they can not only understand how a solution works, but also know how to manage it themselves and assist citizens if needed. Training should empower a city or state department to manage every aspect of their solution.
4. Phased and Transparent Development
For planning and implementation of a licensing solution, governments should seek vendors who are methodical in their approach to development and outline the core phases of development, communicating regular status updates. Conversely, beware of vendors that call for long implementation time frames, ask for little oversight and are prone to infrequent updates. A vendor should work with governments in their approach and implement quickly and transparently.
With the complexity of government licensing, cities and states should look for IT companies that are well versed in providing government solutions. An experienced vendor will be familiar with a variety of licensing regulations and process workflows. Likewise, they should have more than just one or two government customers and be equipped to offer advice based on real-world product deployments with customers.
To learn more about Accela’s business and occupational licensing solutions, click here.