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A Big Upgrade or a Big Purchase? Digital Planning Applications in the 21¼ Century

If the planning, building, and licensing of land development applications are causing your staff to be overwhelmed – it may not be their fault. Your Planners are professionals – they want to be engaged and consult with the community on growth objectives to ensure land-use evolves and develops responsibly. Staff do not want to chase paper trails to find the data needed to support or remedy a land development application. If this is the case, It could be that you are using an old system or process that has become outdated.

The City of London recently found themselves in this situation and faced with a choice. Should they proceed with a massive upgrade to their current system, or should they go to the market for a replacement?

The Problem:

Any plan, permit, or license application generates tons of data and, in turn, supporting documents. For the City of London, Ontario, they received hundreds of land development requests each year. Their existing system did not cover all requirements of the Planning Act, and processes had grown around the system to manage gaps and workarounds. The processes had become disjointed, with inconsistent entries and inaccurate reporting on open and closed cases. The system was no longer able to support the business fully. As a result of not having a functional digital tracking system, staff members were left scrambling to organize their data, which caused delays in the processing of applications.

The Solution:

Spatial DNA has helped several municipalities large and small to clarify their processes and requirements to procure a digital plan applications system successfully. For the City of London, the business users didn’t have the clarity they needed to build a modern solution design that could be supported by solutions in the market today. The City involved their planning, development and compliance, and IT teams in the consultation with Spatial DNA.

The City of London, with the help of Spatial DNA:

  1. Captured their current processes;
  2. Built a future vision with supporting requirements; and,
  3. Created a roadmap for hiring, training and implementing.

While this is a fairly standard business analysis practice, Spatial DNA’s strength in developing a reference architecture and deriving requirements from the future state view was critical to its success. And understanding the geographic science underpinning urban planning was needed to drive the automation that enabled staff to perform their consultative role with developers and the public.

The Benefits:

Through the consultation process with Spatial DNA, staff members better understood the work involved in and across departments, and could pinpoint inefficiencies and eliminate duplicate work, freeing up their time to pursue what really matters – growing and improving the City of London. Digital planning has allowed the city to have the organized workflows for managing their current planning processes and a consistent reference architecture and set of business requirements to evaluate their upgrade or buy decision – real data, real costs, and a realistic timeline for implementation.

Talk with an expert to implement digital planning for your land development applications today.