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Fostering Agency Success Through Tech Transitions: An Environmental Health Example

Within the government technology market, mergers and acquisitions are common. These strategic moves can offer benefits for technology users, including new capabilities and an expanded network of expertise, training, and services. Unfortunately, there is also the potential for such moves to generate concern if all aspects are not considered. Often overlooked is the customer experience – how customer relationships are maintained and how customer success will be supported.

For customers of the acquired company, there can be a lot of unknowns, especially in the software and technology space. Can we continue to use our existing products and services? Will we continue to receive the same level of support? Will the new company understand and take our specific needs into consideration (…or are they diluting their focus across different domain areas?) While the quick answer to some of these questions may be “Yes,” the actual answer may be “Yes, but…” Completing that sentence likely means changes for the customer, and successful integration efforts must consider customer experience throughout the entire process.

The Accela Approach

Over the years, Accela has made a few acquisitions of our own, adopting technology and resources that add value to our future. These moves have augmented the functionality Accela provides its customers and brought domain expertise into the company to guide development of the Accela Civic Platform and the Accela Civic Applications. Examples include service request management, environmental health, and more.

But implementation of these capabilities is never immediate. Developing integrations between our core and acquired products to provide mutual benefits has involved continuous communication with both existing and acquired customers. We have put considerable effort into programs and roadmaps that will ensure customer success, keeping customer needs at the forefront of our decision-making. These needs, communicated to us through customer meetings, support conversations, and the Accela Success Community, have defined the paths we’ve created for customers using acquired products.

Accela’s EnvisionConnect Upgrade Program

eh-tabletA prime example of one of these success paths is the Accela EnvisionConnect Upgrade Program, built to support key environmental health department workflows. After Accela acquired Decade in 2015, it became apparent to our product teams that our customers find great value in the core functionality of their EnvisionConnect software. To ensure continued access to this functionality and mitigate risk while providing additional beneficial capabilities, we’ve worked closely with users to define an upgrade path and create an upgrade program for them. Designed for Accela’s Decade customers, this program helps the EnvisionConnect user community upgrade and modernize their technology with Accela Environmental Health.

As we began developing this program, it was no surprise that one of our users’ top concerns centered on data – how could they preserve their EnvisionConnect data? To address this concern, we built a set of data conversion tools that drastically reduce the hours needed for field-by-field data mapping and migration planning. In addition, to ensure historical EnvisionConnect data is available if needed, we provide an optional service to retain and access this historical data.

Beyond data itself, reports and analytics define a users’ view into their data. To preserve reports, we developed a toolset for automated report migration, helping to save hundreds of hours of report rewriting work while guaranteeing crucial functions are maintained. And to add value on top of that, Accela Environmental Health includes access to built-in Power BI dashboards designed specifically for Environmental Health departments.

These tools, combined with cost savings during migration and access to Accela staff with years of experience in both systems, are provided to all our Decade users to help ensure they realize the benefits of the acquisition. Accela has been fully supporting EnvisionConnect users while, at the same time, developing a solution, built on modern technologies, that automates their environmental health functions with the highest degrees of security, reliability, and performance.

Set Up for Success

Without tools and expertise like these in place, a transition to new software and/or a new vendor relationship can make customers uneasy. Integrating companies, people, products, and processes takes work. We are striving to reduce the uneasiness and help customers embrace changes, whether they be technology shifts or process improvements, by making the benefits clear and attainable, and by providing a smooth and efficient upgrade path.

For more information on the Accela EnvisionConnect Upgrade Program, review the program overview. If your agency is ready to take advantage of our upgrade program, or if you’d like to hear more about how Accela compares to other solutions and delivers first-class digital experiences for your team and your community, reach out to your Accela Account Executive.

About The Author

Diana Almendarez is a Product Marketing Manager at Accela where she is focused on the Environmental Health and SRM solutions as well as horizontal technologies including GIS and analytics.

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