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It’s often small things or incremental changes that can have a big impact on making someone’s day a little bit easier. In govtech, I like to refer to this as thoughtful innovation, when an agency takes the time to develop an understanding of their customer(s)—what they want, their day-to-day tasks, who they are—and uses this knowledge to meet them where they are.

Tennessee is one of 17 states that requires a permit for serving alcohol and until recently, bar and restaurant owners had to verify permits were valid directly with the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The wait to get that information back was typically a few days and held up the completion of hiring prospective employees. This presented a perfect use case to make things better for both the business operators and workers by understanding their needs and meeting them where they are.

TABC uses the Accela Civic Application for Alcoholic Beverage Control to manage operations, including processing and storing server permits. Additionally, they offer the MyTN mobile app for personalized, secure service delivery to Tennesseans as a single point of access. One of the services available allows citizens to apply for and renew their Alcohol Server permit, but until recently, these tools were not connected beyond the permit application process.

TABC understood what their customers (permit holders and alcohol-serving establishments) needed and created a powerful solution that takes advantage of the smartphones that are always in our pockets. Once the permit has been approved inside Accela ABC, the MyTN app pulls that data and generates the digital permit, then users add it to their Apple or Android wallet with a few clicks and share the permit details with their employer. Tennessee ABC has created a better customer experience for the ~150,000 permit holders and eliminated another manual process that used internal resources to complete and the need for paper records.

Pairing their goals of being mobile-first and customer-centric, TABC will generate significant time savings for business operators and a faster start for prospective employees who can get verified immediately since the permits automatically update in real time.

TABC is running awareness campaigns across channels like YouTube and through email to inform existing permit holders about the digital permits, and to educate new permit holders on how to download the app as part of their onboarding process. When an agency’s big issues are handled by capable staff and empowered by the right software tools like Accela ABC, they’ve got the bandwidth to go above and beyond for their customers and innovate thoughtfully to benefit everyone.

Note: If you know of agency stories like TABC’s that demonstrate an innovative, collaborative or efficiency-driving use of Accela’s technology, please submit an application to be considered for an Accela Trendsetter Award, which will be announced at Accelarate on September 26, 2023.

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