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Event Recap: A Texas City’s Tips for Modernizing Public Sector Tech

At the core of each city government is the constituents it serves. However, manual processes and outdated tools make it difficult to meet the needs of citizens. So how does a jurisdiction with limited resources achieve this?

At Granicus’ recent Digital Engagement Day in Austin, Texas, we turned to the City of North Richland Hill, Texas to answer that question. During the session, Alicia Richardson, City Secretary; Amy Stephens, Network Administrator; and Kyle Spooner, Director of IT discussed their digital communications journey.

When the City of North Richland Hills first realized their communications strategy needed modernizing, they were operating with multiple vendors and using manual processes. “Our systems for things like voting software, request-to-speak queue and agenda management systems were all on separate networks,” Spooner explained. “It was labor intensive to keep them up, so after a ton of research we landed with Granicus.”

The timing was perfect: Change at city hall was happening just as the city’s interest in Granicus was sparked. “The cost competiveness of Granicus allowed us to go to our new elected officials and show them we were bringing in something better and cheaper,” Richardson said.

In order to get buy-in from city council members, Richardson emphasized a few critical steps, including identifying key players, demonstrating value to leadership, identifying benchmarks of success and continually planning for tomorrow.

However, the process didn’t stop with leadership buy-in. Once North Richland Hills got approval to purchase and implement Granicus’ solutions, they had go through some trial and error to figure out the most effective way to leverage their new communications tools.

From this learning process, Stephens highlighted four tips crucial to success:

Manage expectations: Sometimes leadership has an unrealistic understanding of what new technology can do. Stephens recommended setting up demos to show everyone exactly how new tools will function when they are live.

Train your staff: This ensures that the new tools are used in the proper manner. Record the training sessions so you have a reference tool for staff and new users.

Have experts on hand: Stephens emphasized the importance of having a Granicus trainer on hand during their first live meeting to ensure everything went smoothly.

Keep workspaces modern: In order to maintain success, it’s critical to update technology throughout all workspaces and processes. For example, Stephens explained that they have 24-inch monitors at every seat in every meeting.

To learn more about how the City of North Richland Hills leveraged Granicus solutions to put its citizens first, download their success story here.