City of Decatur Upgrades Municipal Operations Software

Jun 2, 2016

The City of Decatur is implementing new software from Tyler Technologies, the nation’s largest municipal software developer.

The new operating suite, Munis, is designed specifically for public governance and includes programs that will streamline daily activities for residents through online access to business license applications, bills for property taxes, and traffic citation due dates. Internal updates will consist of improved workflows and a digital operations dashboard that city officials can use to view real-time information, including pending audits, budgetary information, and open positions.

Mayor Don Kyle began pushing for a modernized system in 2014 when the current system provider notified the city that technical support and modifications of the old-style program were being phased out. Kyle instructed the information systems department to investigate and recommend a provider before the current provider forced a change in too short a time frame. Brad Phillips and other key personnel agreed and immediately started evaluating options. The mayor announced that the software installation started in April of this year and is slated for full implementation in July 2017.

“By working with this system from Tyler Technologies, Decatur will be more efficient and transparent. Our software implementation team is led by Brad Phillips and includes members from the Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Police, City Clerk, and Purchasing departments. This team is responsible for the installation, implementation, and training,” commented Kyle.

The integration of data will create a more efficient workflow system, provide more robust reporting capabilities, and increase transparency in financial reporting. In the Purchasing Department, the Munis software package will unify the financial components of proposals, bids, purchase orders, and project costs. A self-service vendor hub is included within Munis and will expedite project start dates by allowing the immediate electronic submission of required vendor documentation, such as proof of insurance.

In addition to improved workflow and communications, the benefits to the Revenue Department include improved complex reporting capabilities that will allow the mayor and council access to real-time financial information; the ability to build the CAFR annual report more quickly, reducing auditing fees; and more time for staff members to work proactively with city departments on the financial process and reporting.

Scheduled to go live in July 2017, a human resources module will enable the HR department to move to a comprehensive system that gives the human resources team real-time information related to employees, making it easier to help them with questions on topics such as salaries, benefits, and vacation days.

Using the Munis system, the information related to HR – from online applications for job openings to hirings, transfers, and retirements – will be integrated in a way that helps improve communication across all departments. In addition, the system will greatly reduce the manual input of employee data and enable HR personnel to increase their face-to-face interaction with City of Decatur employees.

“This consolidated software system will allow my team to spend more time in strategic roles in the field, connecting with the city’s employees, and helping with goal setting and employee development opportunities,” commented Human Resources Director Richelle Sandlin.

A self-service employee portal will provide access via a desktop computer or a mobile app for employees to be able to review their existing benefits, vacation days, address, and other information; they will also be able to provide updated information to the HR department through the portal.

“Changing our municipal operational software – the first major change in 15 years – allows us to streamline our day-to-day workflow – solving the needs of our citizens more efficiently. We will be able to provide improved customer service by making information more easily available, by transacting business more quickly, and by accepting a wider variety of payment types,” stated Director of Information Systems Brad Phillips.

Decatur’s municipal court will be the first department to implement the new software with an October 1 start date planned. A primary benefit of this module includes electronic notifications of changes to the court schedule, which can be sent to those involved in a case before the court. In addition, Munis will significantly reduce the amount of paperwork needed as the court moves to this e-document software system.