San Antonio, Texas is a city known for its rich history, beautiful Texas hill country scenery, puffy tacos, and so much more. With over 1.5 million residents, the City of San Antonio takes citizen engagement and citizen-centric design seriously. But staying engaged with its large and diverse populace is critical, especially in a modern, digital world. That’s why the 7th largest U.S. city is partnering with Rock Solid, PrimeGov, and PublicInput to develop, power, and support its new Resident Connection Portal.
San Antonio’s Search for a Resident Connection Portal
According to Census Bureau reports from 2019, San Antonio was the second fastest-growing large city in the U.S. Rapid growth means that the community’s needs and expectations are growing just as quickly, and the local government has to accommodate. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed many opportunities to improve digital access to local government services all over the world.
For this project, San Antonio envisioned a resident-centric approach to engagement in their city. In a January 20th, 2021 city council meeting, the city stated that their goal was to transform existing approaches into two-way communication and communicate with citizens how they want to be communicated with.
As part of the city’s SASpeakUp community engagement initiative, the right all-in-one technology solution would put the city’s engagement principles to work by featuring these core components:
- Constituent relationship management (CRM)
- Boards and commissions
- Agenda management
- Survey management
- Calendar management
For community members, this would create a better experience when interacting with the city. With this system, every interaction would occur under one system. This would eliminate siloed interactions that previously caused headaches when communicating with the city.
The Solution: Strategic GovTech Collaboration
After an RFP process involving a cross-functional evaluation team and advisory board, the City of San Antonio selected the joint solution from Rock Solid, PrimeGov, and PublicInput. In total, they evaluated nine proposals. The three government technology leaders joined in a strategic partnership to create an integrated solution that will provide a smooth experience for the city officials and constituents.
“For the resident, all of these tools interact together rather than having siloed pieces that are all across the city that ask the resident to figure out how to best engage with your office.”
– Laura Mayes, Assistant Director, Government and Public Affairs, City of San Antonio
Rock Solid CRM: An Integrated Base Platform for Engagement
To build a best-of-breed resident engagement platform, it’s critical to start with a strong Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solution. For San Antonio, the Rock Solid CRM will act as a centralized hub that city council can use to manage every resident engagement.
Tools That Enable City Council
Putting city council at the forefront of resident engagement is unique for San Antonio. Often, when cities think about resident services, council is left as an outlier. However, their direct connectivity to the communities they serve makes them great candidates for helping local government deliver and improve services.
Council members need a way to receive requests from residents, collect feedback, manage engagement, and track results and responses. While the city had a CRM in place before, it was limited in scope, capabilities, and flexibility. As a result, each of San Antonio’s council members had their own method for tracking engagement, including paper-based tracking, email, excel sheets, the previous CRM, or other systems. With the comprehensive new solution, everyone will use the same platform.
A Holistic View of Residents
San Antonio’s new Rock Solid OneView CRM also unites community members into one platform. This means that all engagements with the city, from service requests to meeting attendance to poll responses, are recorded in one place. No matter which city department a resident interacts with, data goes into one platform that digitally transforms the city into a customer service powerhouse.
If, for example, a resident wants to follow up on their 311 requests with their city council representative, the council member will have a holistic view of their constituents’ requests and how the city responded.
The CRM also supports omnichannel engagement. No matter how a resident wants to engage, the City of San Antonio and its council members can connect.
“A CRM system actually treats members of the public as customers of the city, not as individual departments or individual council offices of the city. This gives us an opportunity to bring this data together holistically… and have a holistic view of our residents.”
“These resident-centric experiences then drive where we want to take the interaction. Not we the city push inside out, but the city residents can push outside-in to us. What’s the experience they want? What channels do they want to interact in? That gets us to a deeper understanding of our residents.”
- Craig Hopkins, Chief Information Officer, City of San Antonio
A Truly Omnichannel Resident Experience
According to research in the What Citizens Want report, residents have myriad preferences for how they like to engage with government. Meeting these demands, along with spanning the digital divide, is critical for modern local government.
The Rock Solid OneView CRM has omnichannel capabilities to enable community members to engage in the ways they prefer. San Antonio’s residents will now be able to connect with their city and council members via:
- Smartphone app
- Phone Call
- City offices
- Physical mail
- Text message
- Council or board meetings
No matter how a person wants to engage, their interaction can be recorded in the OneView CRM. This scalable system allows city staff to spend less time tracking down requests across platforms and more time solving problems.
Highly Integrated With Existing and New City Systems
The Rock Solid OneView platform integrates seamlessly with the systems already in place within local government. This will give the platform’s users visibility into city activities, resident interactions, 311 requests, poll results, meeting attendance, and much more.
Though it currently lives in multiple systems, the city’s existing resident data will quickly migrate into the new platform. From there, the city will move forward with a highly interconnected CRM that enables full visibility across multiple city tools and departments.
Launching the Resident Connection Portal
Implementation of San Antonio’s new Resident Connection Portal is underway. Over the past few weeks, Rock Solid has already met with city council members and districts to understand how they do their work, integrated the new OneView CRM with San Antonio’s existing systems, and imported existing data into the new system. The platform is expected to be fully online with resident access before the end of April 2021.
San Antonio has taken a tremendous step towards better resident engagement by launching their new Resident Connection Portal with Rock Solid, PrimeGov, and Public Input. We are proud to work with city officials who are truly passionate about resident engagement, omnichannel accessibility, and innovation in government.
The City of San Antonio’s push for innovative community engagement has also impacted the govtech industry. Following the strategic opportunity with San Antonio, Rock Solid and PrimeGov joined forces permanently via acquisition. Together, we will provide a complete digital platform designed to help local government and their communities work as one. The future of digital transformation and resident engagement is bright!
If you want to learn more about San Antonio’s Resident Connection Portal, don’t miss the city’s CIO Craig Hopkins in GovTech’s on-demand webinar, Connecting With Constituents: How Omnichannel Communications Improve Citizen Engagement. At the event, Craig will share his vision for how putting community members at the center of service delivery transforms user experience.