Case Study

The City of Austin

Located in central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, Austin is the 15th largest city in the United States. With a population of just over 786,000, Austin was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006.

The Challenge

Provide the citizens of Austin with a One Stop Shop type of service to establish a better city-wide solution. Austin was experiencing a loss of knowledge due to staff changes, making the legacy system more and more difficult to support.

The Solution

AMANDA Building Permitting & Compliance Solution was chosen as the solution that met all 1,837 functional requirements and more. Austin rolled out the AMANDA solution and processed 38,000 permits that same year and 43,000 the next. More than 4 million records were converted from Austin’s legacy system to use in AMANDA. 850 employees currently use AMANDA to offer 55 distinct services.

The Details

Austin had an existing Oracle-based homegrown planning system named PIER that was created because of Y2K. Although the Oracle system worked well for planning, it was difficult to expand it to other departments such as Permitting and Health. Due to the system’s lack of scalability, the City experienced multiple failed attempts at trying to establish a better city-wide solution. Additionally, there were over 4 million records that needed to be converted to the new system when it was chosen.

Further complicating the situation, the City expe­rienced a loss of knowledge as a result of staffing changes and the legacy system was simply unable to support the City’s changing business needs. The City knew it needed a better solution and had the desire to provide its citizens with a One Stop Shop type of service.

AMANDA was chosen as the solution that met all 1,827 functional requirements listed by the City in the initial RFP. The city of Austin went live with AMANDA in 2006 using a phased roll-out on a departmental basis, and processed over 38,000 permits that year with 43,000 processed in the next year. More than 4 million records were converted from Austin’s existing system to AMANDA. Over 3,500 specific business rules were developed in AMANDA and 72 enterprise-wide transaction types (Folder Types) were estab­lished in the new system as well.

AMANDA was deployed first in the City’s Health Department, followed by Code Enforcement, Building Permitting, Contractor Registrations and Inspections, Planning, and Right of Way. Today AMANDA is also used in the Environmental, Fire, and Public Works departments. In total, AMANDA enables the City to offer 55 distinct services and boasts over 850 users.

AMANDA is also seamlessly integrated with the City’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, Geographic Information System (GIS), and Financial solutions.

AMANDA, combined with a lot of hard work by City staff and CSDC consulting, has enabled Austin to realize its dream of setting up a One Stop Shop for servicing the many diverse needs of its citizens. The solution has helped standardize and automate much of City’s permitting and licensing processes (both application and renewals). In the process, the City has gained substantial operational efficiencies when compared to their legacy system and the solution has helped to mitigate risks through the efficient management of complaints, disciplinary cases, and investigations. Austin is currently adding the Neighbourhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) department to AMANDA, dealing with services, grants, and loans for the City.


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