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ELGL Choice Awards: Top 50 Local Government Companies
Vision is Ranked #9 in ELGL Top 50 List
[Originally posted in ELGL on August 24, 2016]
Our “award-winning” members have spoken on the best companies working in the local government arena. The inaugural ELGL Choice Award recipients have been selected using two criteria: the number of nominations received by each company (75%) and an evaluation from the ELGL management team (25%).
Based on member feedback, the ELGL Choice Award will become a fluid list that is updated quarterly using the above criteria. Anyone (ELGL member or not) can submit a nomination via the form at the end of this post.
What Works Cities is a national initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents.
Contact: Zach Markovits, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment: Not your typical “local government” company, but What Works Cities, with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropy, has the potential to reinvent government. What Works Cities employs a “who’s who” roster of experts from The Behavioral Insights Team, The Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, and The Sunlight Foundation. Cities from Gresham, OR to Jackson, MS have benefited from the expertise.
What Works Cities is ranked in the top spot, because our membership of more than 1,200 from across the globe, believe that What Works Cities has the resources and platform to convert the elected officials and staff who harbor doubt about the ability of data and technology to transform a community.
We hope that What Works Cities and their partnering organizations continue to provide critical resources to a diverse group of local governments, especially those cities facing unprecedented economic challenges who need to see similar cities benefiting from What Works Cities’ resources.
For these reasons, ELGL believes What Works Cities is the most important “company” operating in the local government arena.
Supplemental Reading: Bloomberg’s ‘What Works Cities’ Initiative Targets 100 Mid-Sized Metros
2. SeeClickFix assists users in communicating with local governments about non-emergency issues.
Contact: Caroline Smith, email@example.com
SeeClickFix helps me (as a citizen) communicate better with my local government. It allows voices from all neighborhoods to contribute to the betterment of our infrastructure in an easily accessible way, removing huge barriers between citizens and public servants in order to get work done and make cities better.
See Click Fix is an excellent tool connecting people and government. The transparency makes it very appealing. It is user friendly for citizens and stress free for companies. Not only good for customer relations management but also as a marketing tool.
The whole staff there is exceptional. My City is still in the testing phase but the support has been outstanding! We are so excited to launch next month!
More than problem reporting, tracking and resolution. SeeClickFix provides transparency and the information needed to document unmet infrastructure needs such as neighborhoods without streetlights and crosswalks that do not meet minimum engineering standards. In addition, a neighborhood that has suffered from a noxious sewer odor for 20 years is now getting attention due to SeeClickFix documentation.
Supplemental Reading: SeeClickFix Founder Ben Berkowitz Partners With Local Governments.
3. MetroQuest is a provider of digital engagement software, enabling the broadest, most meaningful public involvement and improving decision-making one plan at a time.
Contact: Dave Biggs, Chief Engagement Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
MetroQuest’s work on a transportation planning study resulted in much higher level of public participation than we expected.
MetroQuest provides very interesting and information web-based solutions to engage the public on their vision for the future. As a transportation planner, we use and recommend MetroQuest to local and regional governments in developing long-term visions, seeking public input on policies, development patterns, financing choices and a number of other issues. Web-based platforms and visual engaging content is a must in this age and MetroQuest does that very well.
We received 1,423 comments and responses from citizens during the comment period, which took place from June 20 through July 22. Of those comments and responses, 1,393 of them were through the interactive survey. By comparison, 160 comments in total were submitted in 2013. That success was due to the use of MetroQuest.
I have used this company for large-scale comprehensive engagement process regarding regional planning. The firm is professional, responsive and effective. We had many more people engaged in our process than we had through any other process and the feedback received was much richer and applicable. MetroQuest offers a very scalable process that can work with everything from large-scale urban growth studies to site-specific developments.
Supplemental Reading: Which roads do you want fixed? NCDOT asks for input
4. Vendor Registry streamlines purchasing for cities, counties, school boards, utilities and suppliers to save time, build businesses and conserve taxpayer dollars.
Contact: Brian Strong, email@example.com
Vendor Registry has continually improved their product by adding baseline and premium options. Their staff welcomes feedback from the government agencies they serve. If an issue is found, they are quick to research and fix the issue. Their customer service is available to help not only us, their customer, but our vendors as well. That means a lot. With the software company I used to work with, we always said that you could find software to fit your needs, but it is the people behind the software that makes all the difference. So true.
Vendor Registry enables our County to more effectively manage our vendors and most importantly, validate that the vendor still exists on an annual basis. This will enable me, in time, to clean up my financial database and keep it up-to-date so that I can operation more efficiently. They listen to end-users and have implemented improvements suggested by users so that the service provided is best for the customer and not just what is easy for them to program. It is an honor to recommend Vendor Registry for this honor.
Vendor Registry helps literally hundreds of businesses throughout Tennessee and the surrounding states by letting them know what local governmental contracts are out for bid. It saves small businesses a great deal of time in that they don’t have to “scrape” multiple governmental websites to find out what procurements are “in play.” Vendor Registry provides this information, on a continual basis, by letting them know what opportunities are out there and it matches these opportunities to what the small businesses provide in terms of products and services. It’s a great time saver for small businesses who do not have the staff to search these websites and it actually costs them very little to join Vendor Registry.
Vendor Registry began just a few short years ago and have increased the clients they serve by probably a thousand or more in just a short period of time because they offer a service that is relatively unique, a “good buy,” and very helpful to small and mid-sized businesses who don’t have the manpower to hunt down the information that Vendor Registry provides them.
Supplemental Reading: Vendor Registry “growing like a weed”
5. National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) has worked with hundreds of local governments to provide them with full-service survey research and evaluation needed to move their communities forward.
Contact: Angelica Wedell, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Research Center conducts citizen and employee surveys for dozens of local governments each year. Their staff team is intelligent, thoughtful, and extremely responsive. The reports they produce continuously improve, and they’ve built a network of outstanding communities from across the community that use their surveys. They have my vote for top vendor — although they don’t seem to fit the vendor category — they are more like an extension of our city manager’s office — just 1,000 miles away in Boulder, Colorado!
Their nationwide work is outstanding. They are smart and perfect bridging between solid details and the bit picture questions. Not resting on the citizen survey, I’ve also done older adult and business surveys with them. A national treasure. But, Dr. Tom is a little corny, be careful when he has a microphone.
They are the rock stars of citizen surveys! They are easy to work with and solution oriented. The City of Wheat Ridge has worked with them for years and they always stay ahead of the curve, setting the best practices in citizen surveys. They have been a great partner to work with at a regional and statewide level as well.
We have had an excellent connection and partnership with NRC for many years and look forward to many more. NRC has helped us successfully conduct several interactions of our citizen survey and they always go above and beyond our expectations. They are truly willing to learn about organizational needs and priorities and adjust their product and services to meet those needs. Their knack for customer service stands out, even after delivering a product and meeting their obligations for services. For such an important process as a citizen survey, an organization needs a vendor that they can rely on to take the extra initiative, and NRC has proven to be that vendor time and time again.
We (the Colorado Municipal League) have personally utilized their services for member surveys and have been very pleased with the results. Additionally, we know that several municipalities have also used them (per our recommendation) and have had great results as well.
Supplemental Reading: The Citizens Most Vocal in Local Government.
6. iDashboards provides software to easily transform data into interactive dashboards with intuitive charts and rich animation.
Contact: Ashley Adams, email@example.com
Comment: Stop worrying about “reports that are stuck in the 1990’s”, iDashboard uses data visualization technology (dashboards with charts, maps and drilldowns) to modernize your reporting process. The company was named “Best Data Visualization Vendors Ranked by Ease of Deployment.”
Supplemental Reading: iDashboards: An Engaging Visual Experience with Data.
7. Soofa is a solar-powered seat with the capability to charge two smart phones and collect air quality or other environmental data.
Contact: Ed Krafcik, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment: Cool name, cool product. Austin, Los Angeles and Cambridge were selected into the Soofa Early Adopter Program to lead the effort to make public spaces smart, social and sustainable with eco-friendly furniture for the digital age. Video: Soofa Bench in New Rochelle
Supplemental Reading: The Soofa Bench Provides Solar-Powered Energy For Your Phone.
8. Slack brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.
Contact: Slack Contact Center
Comment: Slack is a lifesaver for internal communications for organizations such as NASA and the ELGL Leadership Team. That’s right, our leadership team reaped immediate benefits from transitioning from GroupMe to Slack. Slack holds the key to solving the internal communication woes ingrained in local government.
9. Vision Internet specializes in website development with government, non-profit and education clients.
Contact: Ashley Fruechting, email@example.com
Comment: Vision’s clients include City of Raymore, MO, City of Glendale, CA, and City of Sedona, AZ. Vision staff is accessible and willing to share information as shown in Ashley’s monthly ELGL column – Digital Accessibility — Is Your Local Government Compliant. They won our wonky hearts with their cool before and after pages that highlight revamped city websites.
10. BoardSync specializes in automated agenda management, meeting minutes management, and the sharing of meeting content with board members, staff, and the public.
The staff are fantastic and are always quick to enhance our agenda software.
Best Customer Service you can ask for!
They have exceptional customer service, second to none!
Supplemental Reading: How Local Governments Can Use Big Data.
Go to ELGL to review the rest of the Top 50.