Shift Indy — a City of Indianapolis-Marion County, Information Services Agency initiative that is making government services easy to find, simple to use and available 24/7 — won the Corporate Innovator of the Year award during TechPoint’s 19th annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
In an age where the majority of individuals can pay their bills, schedule appointments and interact with most businesses from their mobile device, it is vital for government services to be just as readily available. Especially due to the mandatory nature of most local government interactions.
In April 2017, the City of Indianapolis and Marion County launched its Shift Indy initiative, which began a monumental journey of making city and county government services more accessible, efficient and available 24/7, by leveraging technology to provide modern services. The culmination of this new model is the my.indy.gov and community kiosks, which have dismantled outdated manual processes and transformed them into a digital city hall.
The Mira Awards judges were not only impressed by the grand scope of the Shift Indy Initiative, but felt a sense of pride that they live and work in a city and county with dedicated public servants who take their role as good stewards of taxpayer dollars seriously. Shift Indy accomplished its objectives by leveraging existing platforms and technologies and without increasing its operating budget. In fact, the initiative created new sources of revenue by making simplified, online payment processing available, eliminating waste, and freeing up staff to focus on fraud and other cost-saving efficiencies. Shift Indy was also able to create at least 25 new services that weren’t possible prior to creating the digital city hall foundation, upon which new services will continue to be built and deployed.
The judges also believe that Shift Indy has had a dramatic impact by shifting the mindset of City-County leadership and their employees, creating excitement around the idea of a new model of service and a new way to engage. This digital transformation has the potential to break down silos dividing city, county, agency and department, and provide constituents, businesses and visitors the local government they deserve.
Through in-person meetings with every single agency and department, as well as a myriad of local businesses, civic associations and non-profit organizations, Shift Indy gathered their requirements, captured current services, desired services, current technology (and the lack thereof); eventually compiling a list of over 1,000 items. The resulting expansive list was used to engage an internal steering committee and develop guiding principles. The principles driving this initiative and service development are the following:
- Automates manual processes and eliminates visits to the City-County Building
- Saves constituents’ time and achieves efficiencies
- Reduces barriers to access for underserved constituents
- High volume of transactions
- Saves City-County agencies, departments and employees’ time and achieves efficiencies
- Technology readiness and low complexity
- Generates revenue and contributes to fiscal solvency
A fantastic example of these guiding principles at work, and the initiative as a whole, would be the the transformation of the homestead deduction process. In the past if you purchased a home, your title company would inform you of property tax deductions in the form of the homestead and mortgage deductions. Homeowners were instructed to visit the county auditor, where they had to fill out multiple paper forms. In the first round of new services, Shift Indy released both homestead and mortgage deductions as digital forms. The Marion County Auditor’s Office was elated to now operate with a backend management system, versus stacks of paper forms. The amount of time it took to process applications decreased, allowing auditor’s office employees the opportunity to investigate potential fraudulent applications.
Since launching these services in May 2017, the Auditor’s office has processed 4,448 homestead deductions and 4,463 mortgage deductions through December 2017. Over 4,000 of those combined were processed in December, just before the deadline. It used to take from five to ten business days for an application to be processed by this staff. It now takes as little as 20 minutes for these employees to review and process an application.
In gathering these requirements, Shift Indy also found that homeowners lacked the ability to search deductions against their land parcel. Because of this, a deduction search feature was developed. Now homeowners have the opportunity to view the status of their deduction application and see which deductions are applied to their parcels, all from the comfort of their own home.
TechPoint, the growth initiative for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana companies, entrepreneurs, educators, and other leaders at The JW Marriott Indianapolis during the 19th annual Mira Awards gala presented by Angie’s List, Infosys, and Salesforce.
A total of 15 award winners and two honorable mentions were chosen from the 100+ outstanding companies, organizations, and individuals who were selected as nominees this year out of the 205 applications received highlighting achievements during the 2017 calendar year.
Fifty-two independent, volunteer judges spent more than 850 total hours reviewing and ranking applications, interviewing nominees, and selecting this year’s winners. Judges included company founders, CEOs and presidents; CTOs, CIOs and software developers; professors and chancellors from Indiana universities; design, human resources and sales professionals, and a variety of other subject matter experts.
The Mira Awards are named after the first of the brilliant variable stars to be discovered – the Mira Star. It is also the Latin root meaning “worthy of admiration, wonderful, marvelous.” The awards represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.