Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012
In 2005, Gwinnett County, Georgia, was the first county in the
nation to replace their legacy system with a fully integrated
Thomson Reuters GRM system-GRM ProVal (CAMA), GRM Tax and GRM
Records. At that time, the County Tax Commissioner's office did not
replace their public website used to provide their constituency
online access to County information.
The Challenge: An Old, Hard to Manage, Public Access
According to Richard Steele, Gwinnett County's Chief
Deputy Tax Commissioner, their old website was inadequate to meet
the Tax Commissioner's needs. "We needed more flexibility than what
our old system was able to provide," said Steele. "We wanted to
deliver-as close as possible-real-time information to our
constituents, while allowing them to access that information
quickly and easily. Our system could do neither. In addition," he
continued, "making content changes to our system was cumbersome and
took too much time."
The Solution GRM eGovernment
After taking a in-depth look at the GRM eGovernment solution the
Tax Commissioner decided to move ahead with the installation and
deployment of the system. "We decided to change to the eGovernment
solution because it provides the kind of features and benefits that
we wanted to have," said Steele. "It had the capability to help us
increase our overall level of service to the public, allow
constituents to access tax information and make payments through
the system's e-commerce feature, while providing us the tools to
easily make changes to content."
The Process: Thorough and Customized
Working closely together with a Thomson Reuters analysis and
implementation team, the Tax Commissioner's Office laid out all the
needs the system needed to meet, including a customized look for
the site. "We knew all the things we needed and wanted the system
to provide to the public in a simple to use, yet highly functional
and flexible manner," said Steele. "And Thomson Reuters was able to
give us what we asked for, including the design of the site."
Within a period of six months from the start of the work, GRM
eGovernment was configured to meet the Tax Commissioner's specific
requirements and deployed to work in direct concert with Gwinnett
GRM systems. "I believe it's one of the best websites that I've
seen out there, period!" said Steele. "From the start, Thomson
Reuters listened to us and since then, we've received great
support-they're easy to work with, very cooperative and anytime
we've had any type of issue they really get on it! Their quick
response makes a big difference, especially when dealing with a
government website designed for public use."
The Results: Increased Levels of Service, Interaction
with Constituents and Staff Productivity
Commenting on some of the benefits of the eGovernment system,
Steele pointed to one of the key features of the system-its ability
to provide real-time information. "We have a reach-in server that
will actually go into the GRM system and pull out, in real-time,
information a constituent is looking for. So if a constituent has
made a payment, they're able to immediately see that their payment
has been received and posted."
Steele also touched upon other benefits that eGovernment is
providing. "Beyond the ease by which the public can now review all
sorts of documents and make tax payments online, we are also able
to provide and accept online forms and applications such as the
Homestead Exemptions form. This saves time for both the public and
our office staff." In addition, the Tax Commissioner's website
provides a link to the State's online tag renewal and links to
other County departments such as the County's Geographic
Information System (GIS) page which gives access to an interactive
property map for the entire County.
The Tax Commissioner's office uses their website to provide
effective two-way communications with the public. "One of the
features of eGovernment that we're really pleased with is the ease
and the speed by which we can make content changes to the website,"
said Steele. "Because GRM eGovernment is so easy to manage, it
gives us the capability to ensure that all tax information is
constantly updated. And that is a major benefit, because if
something happens right now, we are able to get a message up on the
The Tax Commissioner also posts a Customer Survey on their site
to get immediate feedback as to the level of satisfaction among its
constituency. "We encourage the public to give us their opinion
because we want to know what their thoughts are on their customer
service experience in our offices," said Steele. "So we always know
if there any issues that we need to handle right away." However,
that is only one benefit of the information the Tax Commissioner
receives as a result of the surveys. The other has to do with the
site itself. "Over the last 18 months we've made changes to our
website, and a lot of them have been based on the feedback that we
get from those surveys. If there is something that users would like
to see, if there's something that they cannot find-we've made those
changes to ensure their satisfaction."
According to Steele the increase in the use of the website
brings benefits both to the public and to the Tax Commissioner.
"The public is realizing that the site contains a lot of good
information that can save them a trip or a phone call to one of our
offices," he said. "In addition, they have the ability to make
payments or conduct other transactions online. In terms of our
staff, GRM eGovernment has helped our productivity, because even as
we see the population in the county continuing to go up every year
we can still serve our growing constituency well."
Addressing the Tax Commissioner's level of satisfaction with
both GRM eGovernment and GRM systems Steele said: "We realize that
there are a lot of other companies out there, but if we had to do
it all over again, Thomson Reuters would still be the company that
we would go with."