Capital Markets Find City Government Technology Enticing
Whether at the federal, state or local levels, public administrators are being held more accountable for how they spend taxpayer money and how they respond to the needs of the people they serve. This rise in accountability has correlated with the rise of the Internet and various web-based technologies to drive transparency and citizen access to information. Because of these dual trends, many government agencies have made it a priority to use the power of the Internet to connect with residents.
In a recent article published in The Magazine of Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin pointed to the great success of the City’s online Resident Service Center. In 2015 alone, the website processed over 21,000 requests for trash and used oil disposal, abandoned vehicle reporting, parking violation resolution, reporting graffiti, and street and sidewalk repairs. Through proper monitoring and project tracking, the Resident Service Center became a huge success with 70% of requests to the City being addressed in under five days. More impressive is that 44% of all requests were addressed within 24 hours. Just as important, the City Manager has access to information to understand his organization’s response to citizen requests and the proper execution rate on those requests.
Integrating technology tools into government services is a compelling market that many in the private sector have recognized. Walk the floor of the League of California Cities Annual Conference Exhibit Hall or the Annual ICMA Conference Exhibit Hall and you will pass several software/web solutions on each aisle. The sector is hot, and capital is pouring into the market for these tools, creating merger activity related to many companies cities have come to rely upon.
In 2015, Accela acquired nine of its competitors (PublicStuff, GeoTMS, IQM2, Envista, Kinsail, Government Outreach, Decade Software, Springbrook Software, and SoftRight). The year before, Caltius Equity Partners made a more than $10 million investment in Vision Internet, helping the company expand its platform of IT tools for local government agencies. More recently, Granicus announced that it had acquired Civica Software in October 2015.
These mergers and changes in the market reflect a maturing environment where software providers have scale and capital markets are pushing innovation. All of this leads to market efficiency to make newer and better tools available to cities. Now, the challenge/opportunity for government agencies is to leverage these digital tools to satisfy the demands of their constituents.