Schneider Corporation’s data platform could power the next killer app
The Schneider Corporation might be a familiar name. It was founded in Indianapolis as a land surveying and civil engineering firm in the 1960s; added geographical information systems (GIS) services in the 1990s (starting in 1989 to be exact); and continued to make bold moves into the software-as-a-service, e-government space over the past 25+ years.
It’s what comes next that will intrigue tech insiders and entrepreneurs, as Schneider Corporation prepares to launch a new public data access platform with application program interface (API) in the fourth quarter this year. The possibilities for the “next big thing” in apps and augmented reality — like Zillow or Dwellr — running on Schneider Corporation resources is tremendous. More on the forthcoming platform launch is included below.
You may also remember that Schneider Corporation has won two “Best of Tech in Indiana” Mira Awards for Tech Services and Corporate Innovator of the Year. In 2015, Schneider saved taxpayers over 12 million trips to the courthouse and handled more than 450 million requests for information by providing innovative, industry-leading SaaS solutions — specifically Beacon™ and Permitting™ — that change the very nature of how citizens interact with local governments, improving constituent service while lowering costs. The estimated financial impact of Schneider Corporation’s e-government solutions reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
With Beacon, qPublic.net (a competitor acquired in 2014), Permitting, IDAM, and a handful of other SaaS products and web-based tools, Schneider Corporation directly serves 18 percent of the public market for county and city information, public records and GIS data, as well as a growing private sector market with energy and utility companies. The database Schneider Corporation has been caring for and expanding on for nearly 20 years is today one of the largest, most comprehensive databases of its kind in the country.
To get a sense of the scale of Schneider’s impact on the market, the company has grown an average of 21 percent for the past five years, and currently counts almost 600 of the nation’s 3,100 counties as its customers. Schneider Corporation employs 130 people total, but the GeoSpatial division including the SaaS and web-based tools is driven by just 40 full-time employees. Its headquarters are located on the historic Fort Benjamin Harrison grounds in a beautifully renovated former barracks building.
Jeff CornsExecutive Vice President
“We have this extensive amount of connection to the legacy government systems that we’ve been working with year after year and expanding our footprint — first in Indiana and the surrounding states and now throughout about half the country.”
That steady growth has come from Schneider Corporation’s vision for and focus on providing great e-government solutions, but it’s meant turning down what Corns describes as ever-increasing requests for the company to build new applications outside of its core business and core competencies.
“We really had to pause and ask ourselves if we want to stray from our core vision and spin up new applications with dedicated sales channels and support mechanisms and everything that comes with developing new apps,” Corns said. “What we realized is that we could help other tech companies and entrepreneurs overcome the high barriers to entry into the extremely fragmented e-government space and beyond by building a public access data platform that would drive the applications others build.”
Because Schneider Corporation has such expertise with legacy government systems, and incidentally has to maintain and update their own vast stores of data anyway, the decision was made to normalize the data sets into a platform that would make it easy for app developers and entrepreneurs to tap into one of the biggest and most current databases of land records information in the country.
For example, The Schneider Corporation platform contains data for more than 18 million parcels of land in the U.S. that are being updated every 24 hours. Compared to most competitors that are updating data every six to 12 months, the immediacy and real-time reliability Schneider Corporation offers is a significant advantage. Attached to each of the 18 million parcel entries are hundreds of attributes that range from appraisal data — like whether or not there is a structure, how many bedrooms it has, the siding and roof materials, etc. — to the entire slate of tax information, including taxable value, tax formula, available tax credits or whether or not the taxes are paid, just to name a few. And finally, most parcels includes additional information about utility connectivity and core infrastructure.
“What we’re launching later this year is just the beginning, really,” said Corns. “We’re starting with opening up access to our platform with 135 attributes and 18 million parcels, but I’m confident that with the right partners, hopefully with innovative fellow tech firms right here in Indianapolis, we’ll expand that to 300 and then 500 attributes as we work together to deliver exciting new applications into the market.”