How Monroe County and Oracle Brought Permitting Into the Modern Era

January 26, 2023 | 4 minute read
Eric Gsellmeier
Director of Strategy and Business Development
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How did Monroe County, FL, turn five disconnected County permitting offices into a modern, streamlined operation?

The answer lies in an innovative implementation in partnership with the County and Oracle Consulting Services designed to improve efficiency and remove frustrations for both staff and residents.

Monroe County covers 100 miles of Florida Keys terrain, and the sheer size and diversity of the area meant that five separate permit offices were required to handle their permitting and contractor licensing needs.

This caused several problems for the department:

  • The disconnect between office locations made sharing resources unworkable
  • Lack of online services required agents, contractors, and owner builders to travel to apply for licenses in person
  • Agents, contractors, owner builders and residents found it challenging to keep track of their applications
  • Staff were frustrated by the time-consuming nature of their work

The licensing and permitting process was slow, outdated, and frustrating. Something needed to change, and that is where Oracle Permitting and Licensing came in.

Designing the solution

Oracle Permitting and Licensing is a user-friendly solution for permit applications and management of State and County level contractors, complete with 24x7 online capabilities. We implemented an efficient system that is easy for residents and contractors to use and enables a standardized system of data collection and processing.

This modern, cloud-based permitting software streamlined the workflow across the whole County, meaning that data could be shared securely between offices. Staff were provided with powerful tools that manage their workload more effectively, so they can focus on the important job of serving their community.

Meanwhile, licensed contractors, agents, owner builders and residents gained a new online permit system that they can use to schedule appointments and apply for permits online. The new system removes the need to travel to offices and allows them to keep track of their building permit online.

A successful implementation

The implementation of this solution began in August 2021, and three key steps contributed to its success.

  • Key step #1: A group of frequent customers was brought in to test the new contractor permit system, submitting dummy applications for the 36 different types of permits.

Value: This provided realistic test data for the staff to work with and allowed agents, owner builders and contractors the opportunity to get used to the new system before it went live.

  • Key step #2: Members of the County team created user guides for their staff which included step-by-step instructions for the new system and tested them on the most important processes.

Value: This meant that staff felt confident they were ready to use the system from day one, and the County was prepared for any issues that might arise.

  • Key step #3: Clear communication through emails, County website news bulletins, and articles in local newspapers kept the constituency updated on the new system’s progress. A dedicated email helpline was set up to provide support for licensed contractors and residents when the new system launched.

Value: This helped to make end-users feel reassured and positive about the new online permit system.

What were the results?

Monroe County’s new permit and licensing system went live in October 2022 and doubled the County’s average permit activity in its first week.

Staff in the five offices immediately gained visibility of all activities county-wide, dramatically improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.

Licensed contractors and residents are now able to apply for permits online at any time as well as providing additional information and scheduling inspections. This removes the need for inconvenient and time-consuming visits to County offices.

And the Oracle Permit Guide provides easy access to the information and application forms that they need, which makes the process simpler for residents and removes repetitive tasks from the County staff workload.

What’s the next step for Oracle and Monroe County?

The online permit portal is expected to result in increased customer satisfaction and improved consistency across a higher volume of permits. Modernizing the agency’s operations will improve efficiency while allowing staff to focus on their core work instead of being weighed down by tasks that can be handled elsewhere.

This is just the first stage of an ongoing partnership between Monroe County and Oracle’s Community Development solution. Online payment processing and code enforcement are future steps in a project that is designed with Monroe County’s vibrant community in mind.

Want to hear more about the success at Monroe County? Join us for a live webcast on Tuesday, February 21. Karen Pleasant Gonzalez with Monroe County, Eric Gsellmeier, Director Industry Strategy, Public Sector and Tom Edwards with Oracle Consulting will discuss strategies, tactics and lessons learned to ignite community development, improve productivity, and ultimately drive organizational transformation.

Eric Gsellmeier

Director of Strategy and Business Development

Eric Gsellmeier is Oracle's Director of Strategy and Business Development for the Oracle Permitting and Licensing (OPAL) solution. With 15+ years experience working for and partnering with public sector organizations, Mr. Gsellmeier partners with government organizations to realize the greatest value from their technology investments, and in-turn better serve their constituents. In his current role, Mr. Gsellmeier contributes to many facets of the OPAL business including increasing market awareness through various programs (webinars, marketing campaigns, etc.), representing the OPAL solution at industry conferences, creating internal and external-facing content, delivering training and enablement, meeting with customers and demoing the solution, creating a partner ecosystem, and liaising with internal teams on customer and industry needs. Mr. Gsellmeier writes about the OPAL solution and the industry, which you can find here.

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