Casey is a local entrepreneur looking to open a seafood restaurant in the City of Park View, USA. She has her business plan mapped out, but even so, the permitting process for her restaurant remains a daunting task. Park View has a website, but it’s unclear which forms she needs and which departments should be involved. The process feels unnecessarily slow and cumbersome. Her government feels disconnected and inaccessible to Casey’s ambition for development.
This kind of customer experience is not uncommon when it comes to applying for permits, and it starts the constituent-government relationship off on the wrong foot. In contrast, forward-thinking municipalities have started to prioritize accessible, user-friendly permitting, providing the opportunity to instill greater trust and satisfaction with government services.
Citizen education and DIY style approaches have become increasingly popular alongside the rise of modern consumer products. Turbo Tax is a prime example. Their platform is customized according to the user’s needs and presents one step at a time—empowering users with knowledge, capability, and efficiency.
This move to put the power in the user’s hands and minimize the need for outside assistance is the new benchmark for user-friendly software design. With ViewPoint Cloud, we’ve created just the tool to make online permitting and licensing more accessible.
Our latest platform release, ViewPoint Cloud 3, encapsulates user-friendly design with the new feature, Smart Projects. Part of an updated public-facing storefront, Smart Projects is specifically designed to make it easy for constituents to apply for a permit without any prior knowledge of the permitting process.
Like Turbo Tax, Smart Projects is a start-to-finish customer education process that begins by providing applicants with common permitting or licensing needs, such as ‘Open a Restaurant’ or ‘Remodel a Home’. After selecting the appropriate project, users are then guided through a short survey which determines all necessary requirements for their particular project.
With Smart Projects, employees at the City of Park View can customize each Smart Project to reflect their unique regulations. For example, this survey might tell Casey she needs to fill out a special application for handling seafood.
Not only can Casey see all requirements clearly presented in one comprehensive application, she can also submit all relevant forms and payments online through her ViewPoint Cloud account. Even better, her online application is fully integrated with backend processing, so it’s immediately routed to the correct departments for approvals.
Following up on the application is equally convenient, as both Casey and the City of Park View can communicate through the chat function in ViewPoint Cloud. Any questions or comments are attached directly to the corresponding application section and users involved in the chat receive email notifications when something new is posted. So Casey won’t be left in the dark, and Park View employees won’t be bogged down by status inquiry calls. The platform maintains a consistent level of transparency even after the initial submission.
Unlike many permitting systems, ViewPoint Cloud 3’s Smart Projects provides all of the tools and know-how for users to easily complete their permit applications and for municipalities to efficiently process and survey those submissions. Instead of weeks or months of shuffling paper forms between City departments, within a couple of weeks Casey is able to print her permits and licenses from home and get to the real work of building her business. It’s a win-win on both sides of the permitting process by freeing up time and minimizing frustration for everyone.
We’ve built ViewPoint Cloud as a product to better the day-to-day grind for government employees and constituents. Smart Projects is our biggest venture yet into customer education, and we can’t wait for this new feature to help more communities establish better trust and transparency through user-friendly ePermitting.