Success stories

How Reevaluating Current Tools Led to a New Vision for Digital Engagement in Franklin Township

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Departments Integrating a Combination of Three Granicus Products
CMS Admins
Website Resident Accounts
When Franklin Township wanted to adopt a holistic approach to integrating government services and agenda management into a modern, resident-first web experience, Granicus offered features that helped them think outside the box.
With these tools, we’re looking to streamline all aspects of the digital experience, from citizen service to live board meetings.
Bob McQueen

Taking a Fresh Approach to an Upgraded Experience

For any Director of IT, long-term planning is a critical skill. So when Bob McQueen took on the role in Franklin Township, New Jersey, he and his team set out a vision for efficient and effective digital citizen engagement. As is the case with many new IT directors, that started with the website.

“There had been long-term plans for a website redesign that just hadn’t happened due to time constraints and staffing issues,” said McQueen.

The new digital vision included integrating website capabilities with agenda management. So when McQueen was approached by a clerk looking to find solutions that were more enhanced compared to what they were using, he knew where to look right away.

“I had already had experience with Granicus through the IQM2 product, and they were already doing our work for the website,” said McQueen. “So it made sense for us to look at Peak.”


Finding New Capabilities in Familiar Tools

When McQueen and his team looked at the unique features and capabilities of Granicus’ Peak Video tool for govMeetings, they discovered the new innovations that met their vision of an upgraded citizen experience. Video tagging, which allows board meetings to be tagged by topics for easier searching, particularly stood out.

“I think that is a huge asset to our public,” said McQueen. “We get complaints from the public that they don’t want to sit and watch a three-hour meeting just to get to the parts they want to hear about. They just want that one subject. So that capability was very intriguing to us.”

Underneath the benefit of features, though, any IT director worth their salt classifies cybersecurity as a critical aspect of any new digital tool. And that was the case for McQueen in vetting the pieces of Franklin Township’s digital suite.

“Granicus has good security measures in place,” he said. “We’ve experienced that while working with them in the past and through the current process. If I didn’t feel comfortable with their reputation, we wouldn’t be moving forward with the project.”

“We didn’t even realize some of the capabilities that the product had until we went through the demo. The demo experience really piqued the interest internally.”
Bob McQueen
Director of IT, Franklin Township, NJ

A Focused Approach to an Integrated Future

While McQueen said that the integration of updating the website, improving tools, and expanding engagement opportunities for the Franklin Township website is early in development, they’re already taking a staged approach.

“We’re not throwing everything at everyone at once,” he said. “We want to intermingle the features as we go, with the understanding that the tools that provide more flexibility to whoever uses our materials are the things that are going to go first.”

Analytics, combined with immediate priorities such as COVID-related information, will dictate the direction and speed at which integration takes place. Whether it be for citizens or board commissioners, McQueen knows that the key to a successful digital government experience is balancing accessibility, convenience, and efficiency.

“The plan is to build something that doesn’t force staff to waste time responding to requests,” he laughed. “I don’t mean that in a negative way—we just want to make it easier for everyone.”

And just as Franklin’s team will balance wishlists with priorities, McQueen said that the flexibile relationship with Granicus adds to that success.

“As an IT Director, I look at two things,” he said. “How can you help me and how can I help you? It’s a two-way relationship. As we start using a product, we might realize that things could be better done a different way. Granicus is open to that.”

“A willingness to work with us. I want to see everyone working together and know that I can get answers when I call in. Granicus has been good about doing that.”
Bob McQueen
Director of IT, Franklin Township, NJ

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