Indianapolis’ old website was built before the advent of smart phones. It was unresponsive, unsearchable, and short on features. As a result, residents often had no choice but to visit the City-County Building in person for all manner of tasks. Driving downtown, parking, and finding the appropriate office all took their toll on citizens’ time and wallets; and city staff were frequently overwhelmed by the volume of in-person inquiries.
In 2017, Indianapolis and Marion County resolved to modernize their online presence, and kicked off the Shift Indy project to build a new website. The goal was to make every service that was available at the brick-and-mortar City Hall also available online, so that citizens without the time or inclination to visit in person could interact with local government at their own convenience.
The first step was to create a steering committee with representatives from all city and county departments. This committee helped secure internal buy-in early on in the process, and put together a list of 1,000 requirements for the new website sourced from every agency. The team also reached out to citizens for feedback through social media and other channels.
The joint city-county Information Services Agency partnered with Daniels Associates Inc. and CityBase to build the new site. The pilot went live with four public services that were judged to have the most potential to save citizens time and eliminate barriers to access for underserved individuals. The site grew rapidly from there, and today it offers more than 50 services alongside numerous searchable resources.
Indianapolis and Marion County allocated $2.4 million for the project, and it has already seen a return on its investment. By migrating from on-premises servers and storage to cloud, the Information Services Agency has been able to cut its budget by more than $3 million since 2017. Additionally, digitizing services has helped the local government to eliminate numerous manual and paper-based processes – enabling staff to work more productively and accurately.