Mendix | May 31, 2022
According to Mendix, a Siemens business and global leader in modern enterprise application development, the convergence of post-pandemic trends and technological advancements are fundamentally reshaping the distribution, provision, and access to e-government and digital-first services for the public sector. Although the emergence of data-driven, tech-enabled "Smart Cities" dates back to 1974, pandemic-related mitigation measures required the public sector to reinvent secure, accessible digital channels for constituents and workforce administrators.
Recent findings by the U.S.-based National Association of State CIOs describe a seismic shift in the pace of digitalization by state and local agencies that felt like "10 years' worth of deployments in 8 months." However, the successful expansion of e-government services has raised expectations for government agility and responsiveness by administrators, constituents, policy makers, and regulators alike.
Research shows accelerating numbers of use cases — generated by increased demand for next-generation cloud-based computing, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, 5G connectivity, and hyperautomation — for federal, state, and local agencies to digitalize their services and planning processes. Yet analysts also cite the public sector's long-established oversight, budgeting, and procurement requirements as a potential bottleneck to rapid transformation.
E-government for future needs and rising expectations
To navigate this perfect storm, a low-code software development platform with a robust ecosystem has proven invaluable for public sector agencies tasked with reinventing digital government for a new era.
During the pandemic, Mendix public sector customers developed scalable, innovative digital solutions embraced by a range of policy makers and agencies. Today, there is no going back. Public agencies are expected to make decisions at speed and deliver value in real time. Governments can no longer operate in a reactive mode. In our complex, volatile era, the public sector must leverage technology to collaborate across multiple jurisdictions and successfully engage with constituents."
Mark Smitham, head of public sector EMEA at Mendix
According to Gartner, 60% of worldwide public agencies expect to triple their citizen-facing digital services by 2023. On the national level, governments are aiding the call to modernize critical legacy applications to be more responsive in this changing landscape. In the U.S. for example, a bipartisan proposal moving through congress would prioritize replacing federal legacy IT systems with modern infrastructure.
Low-code software development platforms are uniquely positioned to help the public sector maximize allocated resources while rapidly iterating and deploying innovative solutions. Here are five ways that best-in-class software development platforms will drive digital success for public sector needs.
Composable solutions, tailored for future needs
Research shows that government employees have the highest usage of shadow IT, turning to these workarounds when red tape and other barriers halt procurement of the technology they need to get the job done. Such ad-hoc solutions expose the organization to increased risk of cyber hacking. Plus, commercial off-the-shelf systems from single-solution vendors can prove costly later, when unexpected crises or changing conditions require customization for new use cases. A robust software development platform, on the other hand, is specifically designed for iterative collaboration. Open architecture with built-in governance and connectivity control can stabilize an agency's provision of digital services regardless of procurement cycle timing or budget allocation.
Gartner analysts recently cited the use of composable software apps (characterized as modular, adaptable, and reusable digital solutions) as the most important factor for government enterprises tasked with meeting changing regulatory, legislative, and public expectations.
Modernizing legacy systems for new needs
Widespread support for public sector digitalization is driving the accelerated pace of legacy modernization. Local and regional governments are charting the impact of IoT and connected devices, AI, and 5G connectivity to achieve operational efficiencies across a range of services, including traffic and transportation flows, energy use and lighting, health monitoring of waste, water, and air quality, public works and safety, emergency services, and resource planning and allocation.
Technology has always been an essential ingredient for a range of local services. The next phase, however, will come from hyperconnected public infrastructure. The ultra low latency of long-promised 5G connectivity linking massive, multiple connections of IoT sensors will be the linchpin that makes real-time decision-making at scale a reality for the public sector.
"This will be a game-changer, enabling the promise of smart cities to become a wide-spread reality," Smitham said. He cautions, however, that ease of data integration across the digital ecosystem will determine progress or delay. "An adaptable, flexible low-code platform that extends the technology stack in a malleable way will allow service providers to stay current with changing technologies, partners, and services," said Smitham. "Mendix's low-code platform can be the glue enabling communication and integration across these different protocols."
Security by design, embedded from the start
In today's high-threat environment, enhanced cybersecurity, data protection, and trustful interactions across e-government's digital ecosystem is top of mind for public sector managers. Even minor government transactions can potentially lead to financial and reputational exposure and loss if not adequately protected.
"What used to be an afterthought must be embedded into systems, infrastructure, and implementation standards," said Smitham. Citing the Charter of Trust and the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, an international framework signed by 1,200 governments, NGOs, and academic institutions, he added, "Digital security must be addressed from the very beginning. It's not something that can be added later, piecemeal."
The public sector must vet potential software development platforms for governance, control, and monitoring of activity across the application landscape. They should seek out platform providers with the highest level of third-party certifications and accreditations, such as ISO, the benchmark of global compliance for information security.
Another layer of protection is found in strategic partnerships. Microsoft operates the global, nonpartisan Defending Democracy program to protect election infrastructure, including emails and networks of voters, political parties, and staff. CloudFlare specializes in endpoint security software as a service, protecting, for example, hospital networks and infrastructure. Cloud-based hyperscalers, including Alibaba, Amazon Web Services, Google, Huawei, and Microsoft, operate at the highest level of security and oversight, employing large contingents of software engineering talent to operate safe and secure cloud platforms.
A key to the city that safely unlocks silos
The next challenge facing e-government? Providing an accurate, digital "proof of identity" that will unlock the full potential of e-government services, expanding access while reducing costs. There are, however, two interrelated challenges: First, the public must trust how agencies collect, store, safeguard, and control access to sensitive information, such as tax and health records, welfare payments, certifications, licensing, and more. At the same time, government services must find a way to share and validate ID credentials across agency silos, creating what researchers term "digital identity ecosystems."
Three EU countries, Belgium, Netherlands, and Estonia, have pioneered a single identity registration service that validates digital services for constituents regardless of geographic location. But for most countries, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom, hybrid systems of paper-based identification — passports, drivers licenses, social security cards, insurance cards, and biometric scans of fingerprints — are standard practice.
According to Smitham, low-code platforms have a unique advantage in building and managing digital identity ecosystems. "Connecting securely to other systems and data sets easily and readily is the fundamental driver for adopting an enterprise software development platform," he said. "It doesn't matter whether the customer is a bank, a store, or a government agency." Platforms with certified governance and control capabilities will integrate identity authentication via secure, low-code built connectors. Smitham added, "This is the future of digital public services."
Don't reinvent the wheel when it's possible to share
Around the world, municipal agencies provide constituents with similar services, be it tax collection, waste management, traffic and parking enforcement, emergency services, birth or marriage registration. Unlike private enterprises seeking competitive advantage, public sector organizations are free to collaborate and share digital solutions, thereby driving innovation and speeding time to value.
Furthermore, public sector activity must be transparent, responding to feedback from multiple stakeholders. When public trust evaporates, solutions can prove controversial, as evidenced by the recent IRS proposal to use facial recognition scans for U.S. taxpayers.
"Cities have begun sharing best practices on regulating public sector uses of AI," says Smitham. "Less well-known are the multitude of digital services that have been successfully delivered and adopted. Public agencies become more agile and responsive when they collaborate and share their approaches for modernizing their practices and prioritizing technology adoption."
Such collaboration also extends the public sector's digital skill set and reduces the burden on under-resourced IT departments. Smitham cited the EU's powerful "Research Online Platform" application that tracks side effects of Covid-19 vaccines. The digital tool was built on the Mendix platform in collaboration with the European Medicines Agency and the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and is now used in 45 countries. "The solution enables researchers to collect data internationally on a secure, scalable cloud platform with anonymized user profiles, balancing technological innovation with public needs for privacy and security," he said.
Digital solutions for the benefit of all
The new era of expanded e-government services has the potential to advance sustainability, civic engagement, and promote economic prosperity. "Low-code software development and platform integration will speed the public sector towards this goal, removing the pain points caused by monolithic processes, legacy systems, and proprietary architecture," said Johan den Haan, chief technology officer at Mendix. "Digital solutions that empower both end users and local governments while leveraging the flexibility of today's technology, tools, and services will greatly expand the public commons for every 21st century citizen."
In a digital-first world, customers want their every need anticipated, employees want better tools to do their jobs, and enterprises know that sweeping digital transformation is the key to survival and success. Mendix, a Siemens business, is quickly becoming the engine of the enterprise digital landscape. Its industry-leading low-code platform and comprehensive ecosystem integrates the most advanced technology to support solutions that boost engagement, streamline operations, and relieve IT logjams. Built on the pillars of abstraction, automation, cloud, and collaboration, Mendix dramatically increases developer productivity and empowers a legion of not-so-technical, 'citizen' developers to create apps guided by their particular domain expertise, facilitated by Mendix's engineered-in collaborative capabilities and intuitive visual interface. Recognized as a leader and visionary by leading industry analysts, the platform is cloud-native, open, extensible, agile, and proven. From artificial intelligence and augmented reality to intelligent automation and native mobile, Mendix is the backbone of digital-first enterprises. The Mendix enterprise low-code platform has been adopted by more than 4,000 leading companies in 46 countries.
GovOS | May 17, 2022
GovOS, a leading provider of digital transformation solutions for local governments, announced it is partnering with the Vermont Short-Term Rental Alliance (VTSTRA), a nonprofit business association for vacation rental owners and short-term rental (STR) hosts operating in Vermont. The partnership will support both organizations in their ongoing efforts to encourage responsible renting through expanded access to resources and software solutions that promote healthy STR communities.
"The VTSTRA is dedicated to helping make vacation rentals a responsibly-operated and reasonably-regulated part of Vermont's culture, economy, and way of life," said Julie Marks, Founder, Director, and Board President of the VTSTRA. "GovOS has extensive experience helping local governments improve engagement with STR communities in their jurisdiction. That experience combined with our own expertise and educational resources will help us build a stronger, more sustainable lodging ecosystem throughout Vermont."
VTSTRA's mission is to establish standards that protect the well-being of Vermont's STR hosts, guests, neighbors, and communities, while also supporting policies that incentivize smart growth development to correct the deficiency in the state's housing supply. The VTSTRA advocates for the use of STR registration systems to help ensure operators are aware of and adhere to legislation at the state and local levels.
GovOS is aligned with VTSTRA's desire to support STR hosts and the communities in which they operate. From its inception, GovOS has taken a holistic approach to offering solutions that have a positive impact. By supporting local governments and the communities they serve, we have fundamental insight into what citizens, businesses, and government agencies need to achieve their goals. Our companies' shared interest in advocating for more awareness, understanding, and cooperation is what makes this partnership so valuable."
Kevin Lafeber, President, GovOS
Chosen by communities across the U.S., the GovOS STR solution helps local governments understand and mitigate the impacts of STRs on their community and the local economy. In addition to the identification and compliance components, GovOS STR provides an industry-leading registration system for local communities that require STR operators to apply for a license. The solution also supports tax collection (including both state and local lodging taxes, where applicable) as well as a 24/7 bilingual complaint hotline for local residents. The system is designed to provide a comprehensive solution that helps improve engagement between STR operators and their government agencies.
About the Vermont Short-Term Rental Alliance (VTSTRA)
The VTSTRA is a nonprofit business association for vacation rental owners and short-term rental hosts operating in Vermont. The VTSTRA works collaboratively with state and municipal lawmakers to craft regulatory solutions that will effectively mitigate potential negative impacts on Vermont communities while protecting the vital economic opportunity that the STR industry brings to Vermont.
GovOS is the leading digital transformation platform for local governments. Headquartered in Austin, TX, GovOS serves government agencies of all sizes across the United States. Through its secure and integrated suite of cloud-based solutions, governments can automate and streamline operations, provide seamless access to resources and information, and deliver cutting-edge digital services to businesses, residents and agencies.
Accela | May 11, 2022
Accela, the trusted provider of cloud solutions for government, announced a third quarter of growth in fiscal 2022 as state and local leaders partnered with the technology provider for digitized solutions and a unified platform to address the complex and diverse challenges governments are facing. From January through March, Accela added new customers to its roster, migrated customers to the cloud, appointed a new board member, and received multiple awards.
It's an exciting moment for the dynamic govtech market, as government-as-a-platform is finally here. Governments are eager to use technology to improve how they deliver critical services, meet the 'consumer-like' expectations of agency staff and residents, and provide valuable insights that transform communities and strengthen economic development. Accela delivers both the flexible, robust platform and out-of-the-box government service-specific solutions to make these goals, and those to come, achievable."
Gary Kovacs, CEO of Accela
Nearly three-fourths of state CIOs said in a recent survey creating better online experiences for residents is the single biggest driver to expanding digital services. Government agencies can utilize a powerful platform to empower them to achieve this goal, while also creating new efficiencies and streamlining cross-departmental insights and processes. With unprecedented funding opportunities available for local communities, including American Rescue Plan funds, now is the time for governments to accelerate their digital transformation.
Accela Continues Customer Growth, Completes New Go-Lives and Migrations
This past quarter, the company saw double-digit growth in recurring revenue and unparalleled professional services revenue performance. In 2021, more than 84 percent of Accela's SaaS customers used more than one solution on the company's platform, maximizing insights and automating more processes for staff and residents.
In partnership with Velosimo and OpenCities, Accela signed San Joaquin County, CA as an enterprise customer tapping into multiple Accela solutions including the Accela Civic Application for Building, Fire Prevention, Business Licensing, and Environmental Health. Additionally, the State of Tennessee Department of Transportation selected Accela for its permitting solution.
Several communities selected Accela Environmental Health to further protect their residents, including Monterey County, CA; Tacoma-Pierce County, WA; and Kings County, CA. Atlantic County, NJ also authorized a project to quickly transition to Accela's cloud-based Civic Application for Environmental Health — migrating current and historical data, modernizing workflows, and publishing a public-facing web portal for operators to conveniently renew, apply, and manage their environmental health programs.
Accela upgraded additional customers to the cloud, including the City of High Point Fire Department, NC; City of Hermosa Beach, CA; City of New Albany, OH; City of Memphis, TN Fire Department; City of Pittsburgh, CA; City of Hillsborough, OR; Polk County, FL; Solano County, CA; and City of Andover, KS. New customer go-lives this quarter included DuPage County, IL; Suffolk County, NY; Michigan CSCL; Oklahoma ABLE; State of Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority; and completed the first project phase for Anne Arundel County, MD.
Over the past two years, Accela completed dozens of customer upgrades to the company's multi-tenant cloud on Azure, and continues at a steady pace each month. Accela's net customer retention is among the industry's best at 110 percent, a testament to the caliber of its solutions and commitment to great government.
"Government IT leaders and CIOs are at the forefront of laying the foundation for navigating the uncertainty of business today and leading their agencies into the future," said Dustin Haisler, CIO of Center of Digital Government. "To help them during these uncertain times, they need to leverage their partnership with a technology leader, like Accela, who can help them reimagine processes and service delivery to both empower residents and produce more efficient outcomes for agency staff."
Accela Recognized for its Leadership in Reimagining Public-Private Partnerships, Strengthens Board
In February, Accela 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. NLC recognized Accela and Madison as a premier example of how public-private partnerships can transform communities.
"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.
Beyond this NLC recognition, Accela was also selected by Government Technology magazine as a 2022 GovTech 100 company for the seventh year in a row, and Accela Vice President of Alliances and Channels Tony Aiello was named to CRN's 2022 Channel Chief list. In March, Accela added a new board member in March with the appointment of Kara Wilson to its board of directors.
Spring Partner Summit Announced
Accela announced its annual Spring Partner Summit, a complimentary event to be held in-person at the company's headquarters in San Ramon, CA on May 12.
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.