LAS VEGAS, Nev., Aug. 3, 2009 – Accela, Inc., the leading provider of Web-based and mobile software applications that make government services available 24/7, today opened its 2009 User Conference with an address by the company’s CEO spotlighting the burgeoning global opportunity to provide governments with solutions that automate their services and increase their links with the constituents they serve. Addressing hundreds of government professionals from around the world, Accela President and CEO Maury Blackman emphasized the benefits to be attained when government office and field workers can seamlessly access the same data – and when businesses and residents can leverage the Internet to request services, apply and pay for permits or licenses, and monitor status of queries.
The 2009 Accela User Conference is taking place Aug. 3 – 7 and features previews of forthcoming innovations to the company’s Accela Automation® product suite, as well as product demonstrations, hands-on training sessions, networking opportunities, and a technology expo featuring a range of industry innovators. Sponsors of this year’s event include Microsoft, Panasonic Toughbook, and services provider TruePoint Solutions. The exhibitor roster features technology innovators such as, AT&T, ESRI, Motorola, and many others.
Blackman’s comments emphasized the blue-sky potential for Web-enabled government services, despite the current challenges facing the world economy and declining government revenues. “The budget, workload, and staffing challenges facing government agencies today can appear daunting,” Blackman noted, “but the importance of their mandates – from public health and safety, to community planning and business development – has never been more critical. Today, more than ever, government leaders are looking for cost-efficient ways to meet their commitments. The ability to offer traditional counter services online and transparently is no longer just a ‘good idea’: it’s become an essential element in the future of government.”
Blackman cited transparency, immediacy and usability as key factors driving the need for Web-enabled software solutions, and spurring the need for government agencies to innovate.
• Transparency is increasingly expected in both the private and public sectors. Regulators and the public are demanding accountability and a greater window into government processes.
• Immediacy is assumed by the public. In the Internet era, consumers expect the ability to conduct business with their local government 24/7, just as they do with airlines, banks and retailers.
• Usability is critical for technology adoption by government agencies. Solutions must be able to connect across systems, departments and jurisdictions; provide an easy-to-use interface for office and field workers or the public; and scale to meet agencies’ long-term needs.
Blackman provided a snapshot of core functionality from the next release of the Accela Automation product suite, which will deepen the company’s already broad support for government needs. A sampling includes:
• Enhanced purchasing, tracking and multi-agency transaction capability via Accela Citizen Access™, which empowers the public to apply, renew, and pay for licenses and permits, check their status, and look up regulatory information directly from the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Expanded mobile capabilities through Accela Mobile Office, a new product expected in early 2010, which will arm government field staff with a rich user experience and access to all agency data from the field.
• A GIS-enriched user experience in Accela GIS™, incorporating support for ESRI’s ArcGIS Server, an enhanced user interface designed for Microsoft Silverlight 3.
Although these next-generation innovations are due in early 2010, in-depth workshops and preview sessions for current and future solutions will occur throughout the week. Among the many sessions planned are: shared government services for statewide or regional e-permitting across multiple cities; the future of inspection processing; automating licensing and registration processes; building asset inventories; and much more. The User Conference will also showcase real-world customer examples, such as the story of McAllen, Tex. The city processed 4,000 more code enforcement cases in its first year of leveraging GIS capabilities from the field than it had in the previous year.
“It’s true that times are tough for many,” Blackman added, “but governments have new tools at their disposal to deliver on their increasingly complex charters. With continued innovation from Accela, and a commitment by government agencies to continuously improve their services, government’s best days are still ahead.”