Hansen Information Technologies, a software maker focused specifically on the state and local governments, is hoping to capitalize on a growing demand for asset management software with the introduction of its latest CRM platform.
Later this month, Hansen will roll out the latest version of its enterprise CRM software package, dubbed Hansen 8. The offering integrates the range of government-oriented systems the vendor markets, including budgeting applications, community development and regulations software and performance metrics tools. However, the major thrust of the package is centered on new XML underpinnings that company officials said would help governments integrate data and, eventually, create online Web services for citizens.
"You can't discount the potential benefits of leveraging XML into the state and local market, as the number of disparate legacy systems distributed among government entities remains one of the biggest issues on the market," said Charles Hansen, chairman and CEO of the company, which his father founded in 1983 after a career in local government IT.
Hansen said the package would help governments in areas such as call center resolution, where operators are often crippled by a lack of communications between systems. Cities like Washington, D.C., are already using previous iterations of the vendor's CRM package to manage issues such as fixing potholes, Hansen said.
"[Washington, D.C. mayor] Anthony Williams has a mandate for road crews to address every reported pothole within a matter of days, and injecting an XML-based system into that sort of effort is something they're excited about," Hansen said.
Hansen admitted that many local governments can only afford to address pieces of CRM on a module-by-module basis so, despite the firm's efforts to integrate applications, individual tools will retain the capability to function alone with the ability for users to add functionality as needed. Pricing for the new platform is not yet available, but Hansen said customers would still be able to buy individual modules, like billing management tools.
Sacramento, Calif.-based Hansen is already offering asset and operations management tools designed specifically for the government sector. With products targeting project areas such as citizen relationship management, code enforcement, public works and transportation, the firm's clients include Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City. The company also lists customers in Australia and the United Kingdom.
According to a recent report by Bermuda-based consultanting firm Accenture Ltd., demand for government CRM is indeed on the rise. Vivienne Jupp, Accenture's managing partner of global e-government services, said 90% of the government IT departments she surveyed are now identifying constituents as customers rather than merely as citizens, evidencing a trend toward providing better services, she said.
"Politicians have figured out that CRM can be used as an effective tool in driving better perception among citizens, so they're using it as a platform when running for office, and putting pressure on IT departments to make some inroads," Jupp said. "There is a real opportunity for applications vendors that can effectively benefit from this demand."
Jupp expects to see the most significant growth in e-government portal projects that tie together information and online self-services to help users communicate with local agencies.
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