Six best practices in planning for a modern permitting and licensing system

June 4, 2021 | 4 minute read
Eric Gsellmeier
SaaS Cloud Specialist
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As a sales engineer, a significant portion of my time is spent reading RFP’s, completing requirement matrixes, and engaging with potential government  customers about their needs, in particular, the requirement to make government more responsive to citizens.  While customers are improving in their ability to plan, procure and prepare for the implementation of a permitting and licensing system, there are a few best practices that will benefit the less experienced organizations. 

I’d like to share some tips that I have learned from working with dozens of agencies as they evaluate solutions for implementing a new licensing and permitting system, and to avoid the paper-driven systems of the past.

Planning:  Doing Homework Will Save You Time!

Buying a new permitting and licensing system can be a significant investment, but when done right it should be an investment that lasts for many years.  There are several ways organizations can educate themselves to better understand the market space and promote their chances of making a sound investment:

  1. Talk With Your Peers:  Reach out to organizations of similar size and complexity to ask about their experience with acquiring and using their system.  If you already have some vendors under consideration, try to find out which organizations have implemented their product and talk with them;
  2. See What the Experts are Saying:  There are research and advisory firms that cover the permitting and licensing market space.  Reading their reports or speaking to an analyst can lend insights on what to look for in a system, narrow down your list of potential vendors to help you get the most out of your investment now and into the future;
  3. Ask for a Demo:  Vendors are usually always willing to provide a demo.  Requesting one is usually a few clicks away and can give you a good initial understanding of their product and the culture of the company you would be potentially partnering with;
  4. Be Wary of Early Cost Estimates:  If you talk to a vendor and they want to give you a cost estimate in your initial conversations, ask yourself what that estimate is based on and why they are doing that.  How well do they understand your requirements? Chances are, they are giving you a quote that doesn’t consider your organization’s specific needs, and they are going to give you a really low number to get you hooked…in anticipation of making up the cost on the back end through post-implementation services for support, enhancements, etc;
  5. Consider How Vendors Are Making their Money:  Whenever you get a quote from a vendor if it’s a relatively low number you should consider why that’s the case. As described above, some vendors price the initial software or service very low and then rely on making up the cost on the backend through various add-on services.  There are questions you can ask to explore this, such as: What are your support fees? Do you charge for system enhancements (and if so, how much)? and ask to speak with existing customers to understand their post-implementation experience.
  6. Be Mindful of What Kind of Solution You’re Buying:  Another factor that will affect the price of the solution, as well as the cost and length of the implementation, is the type of solution. “Turnkey” solutions may offer a low price point but come with the expectation that little work is done to configure the application to your needs - instead you are expected to adapt your business to the way the application works.  For some organizations that may be fine, but this type of application may present one or multiple challenges for other organizations.  “Platform-only” solutions might have a low initial cost, but very high services cost and maintenance burden over the life of the solution because all capabilities need to be custom-built. Talking with industry experts, reading product reviews, and talking to a vendor’s existing customers can help you understand if this is the type of solution you are considering.

Be thorough with your planning, this will empower your organization with the knowledge to choose a solution more efficiently and effectively.  Thus, shortening the time from planning to the start of implementation, while ensuring that the vendor chosen will best meet your needs and will be a true partner during implementation and beyond.

Learn More

  • Modern cloud technology solutions can help public-sector organizations overcome many of the challenges they face. By migrating to the cloud with Oracle Permitting and Licensing, organizations can embrace innovation and push the limits of what their employees and constituents have come to expect from their government.  Oracle is excited to be able to partner with government organizations on their journey to the cloud, and you can discover more permitting and licensing products here.

 

Eric Gsellmeier

SaaS Cloud Specialist

Eric Gsellmeier is a Sales Engineer dedicated to bringing Oracle’s Permitting and Licensing product to the Community Development marketspace.  When he’s not listening and working with customers to overcome their challenges, he develops and delivers product content for consumption by Oracle resources, our partners, and the public.

 

With a strong interest for the effective use of technology in government, Eric has worked in and around the public sector for his entire career.  Prior to joining Oracle, he was a leader in the Permitting and Licensing Center of Excellence at Gartner Consulting.  In that role he partnered with public sector organizations at all levels of government throughout North America to strategically plan, procure, and oversee the implementation of technologies.  Prior to that Eric worked for NTTData, a large international systems integrator, to implement IT security products for public sector customers.  His career and passion for government started in his first job working for the Mayor’s Office in New York City where he worked on several large IT projects and helped improve procurement and construction processes within the City.


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