Accela experts provided pro bono services and technology to modernize Madison’s Report a Problem service, saving significant agency staff time and increasing reliability and visibility for residents
San Ramon, Calif. (February 22, 2022) — Accela®, the trusted provider of cloud solutions for government, announced today that it won the inaugural National League of Cities (NLC) Capstone Challenge Series for a project designed to reimagine the City of Madison, WI’s Report a Problem capability. This award recognizes Accela and Madison as a premier example of how public-private partnerships can transform our communities. Accela and Madison’s collaboration focused on significantly enhancing the city’s Report a Problem service to allow residents to more easily alert the city to community issues and needs, such as pothole reporting, street clearing requests, and restaurant complaints, while automating back office tasks typically handled by Madison staff to free up resources for more valuable work. The project team included representatives from the mayor’s office, IT Department, and the city’s Racial Equity & Social Justice Initiative (RESJI) team working in partnership with Accela.
The NLC Capstone Challenge Series is a six-month program to match innovative private companies with cities on projects that benefit their municipalities. For this winning project, Accela partnered with the City of Madison to modernize the city’s most frequently used forms. The project included collaboration between the city and Accela to create new automated workflows and end-to-end digital tracking to empower Madison staff to optimize and monitor service delivery.
In addition, to ensure the community of Madison is aware of the improved services, Accela’s award-winning marketing team built and delivered a complete marketing toolkit the city—and any other municipality as well—can use to promote the city services. The kit includes customizable templates for press announcements, postcards, flyers, and social media messaging written in clear, plain language accessible to all Madisonians.
“Accela is proud to be trusted by innovative governments, like the City of Madison, that seek to transform and modernize their service delivery, and we are thrilled to be recognized by the NLC for this collaborative effort,” said Heidi Lorenzen, senior vice president, marketing at Accela. “This project is just one example of what’s possible when technical and creative talent is brought together to achieve a clearly defined and impactful goal. We are excited to see how our combined efforts will benefit the Madison community for years to come.”
Historically, about 15,000 problems are reported to the City of Madison every year, and while residents could reliably find all the complaint and request forms they might need in one place, the actual behind-the-scenes processing of Report a Problem submissions was less uniform, relied on manual processes and gave residents no insight into the status of their reports. Accela experts knew from decades of experience and extensive previous projects for municipalities that they could enhance Madison’s capabilities technically (with immediate data flows, integration, and workflow) and promotionally with pre-built marketing elements.
“This project allowed us to automate a process that staff had been doing manually, freeing up their time to focus on addressing resident concerns and proactive problem solving,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “While we focused initially on the top five report-a-problem categories, our staff will be able to expand to other categories using what we learned from this process.”
Through the Capstone partnership, Accela and the city selected five of the most commonly utilized forms to prototype a conversion to Accela’s Service Request Management module. The Accela platform feeds requests into a predictable workflow for immediate assignment, ongoing status tracking, and reporting (including status updates for the original submitter).
“This project with the City of Madison demonstrated a remarkable collaboration that brought together each contributor’s unique talents,” said Darryl Booth, managing director, Accela Center of Expertise. “We learned from each other — from language preferences, to exploring new ways to reach more residents in the community, and it was such a great reminder of how our efforts impact real lives in the communities we all collectively serve. We are grateful to the city for their trust and partnership that made this project, and our collective ‘win,’ possible, and are thrilled to also now be able to offer other municipalities a complete marketing kit that they can use to announce and promote any new or reimagined citizen services they have.”
The marketing kit Accela developed is available at www.accela.com/NLC-Capstone-Marketing-Kit for other cities to customize and use.
The goal of the Capstone Challenge Series is to connect the strengths of NLC’s Capstone and Enterprise partners with motivated local leaders to create solutions that address cities’ needs. For this inaugural cohort, eight strategic partners worked with seventeen member cities on relevant projects. Accela and Madison were selected as the winner due to the level of innovation and impact of their project.
Accela’s strategic partner, Esri, won the Capstone Challenge ‘multi-municipality’ award for their work with the City of Cedar Rapids, Butte-Silver Bow Government, and Town of Purcellville to map broadband availability and equity in each community.
“I am thrilled to congratulate the two winning groups of the inaugural Capstone Challenge – Accela and Madison, WI; and Esri, Cedar Rapids, IA, Butte-Silver Bow, MT, and Purcellville, VA,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of NLC. “The innovative projects that these groups completed show the power of cross-sector collaboration and partnership in creating impact in our communities. Each of these projects focused on equity, ensuring that the most vulnerable residents were included. Each project also created tools and resources that can be shared and utilized by all municipalities, extending the impact of the project beyond the participating cities. NLC values the participation of all the partners and communities in this cohort and look forward to continuing to partner together in the future.”
Accela works with forward-looking government agencies, technology partners, and service providers across the globe. To learn more about Accela’s solutions, please visit https://www.accela.com/solutions/.
Accela provides a unified suite of cloud solutions trusted by governments across the globe to accelerate their digital transformation, deliver vital services, and build stronger communities. More than 275 million citizens worldwide benefit from Accela’s government software solutions. The company offers agile, purpose-built solutions and the power of a platform that provides users with a consumer-like experience, shares data across departments, and ensures world-class security.
With Accela, government agencies experience rapid and effective digital transformation. Accela’s government software meets agencies wherever they are on their modernization journey, while also helping them prepare for whatever comes next. The company is a 2021 Microsoft US Partner Award winner for its innovative SaaS solutions to help governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and was named as one of the Largest East Bay Tech Employers by San Francisco Business Times. Accela is headquartered in San Ramon, California, with offices around the world. For more information, visit www.accela.com.