With more than 89,000 local governments in the United States—including 3,031 counties—creating a seamless platform to serve the diverse needs and nuances of government land and property tax administrations across the nation was no small challenge. Yet, today, after years of careful strategic planning, development and implementation, we are entering a new chapter of our storied business evolution.
Moving Aumentum to a scalable platform will transform the industry in several positive ways. Perhaps the most dramatic is the way it will nurture faster innovation. Working to improve one product—or suite of products—is more efficient than supporting 28 different models in the market.
Just as importantly, a scalable platform helps mitigate risk.
“A common scenario in this market is customers who are still using a 20-year-old mainframe system that only a few county employees know how to maintain,” says Jeff Krzeminski, vice president of product management. “Once these folks retire, there’s a lack of institutional knowledge to keep it afloat. It’s hard to innovate under those circumstances. These archaic systems are also built on obsolete technology, which makes them prone to security issues and hardware concerns.”
Applying lean principles to feed innovation
An integrated platform will not only strengthen the way Thomson Reuters works with customers, but the way we partner with them on product development. Through Aumentum, our enterprise can better leverage lean principles—principles that drive innovation.
“Now we can involve users throughout our software development life cycle, rather than wait for the big bang at the end,” adds Krzeminski. “As we test our designs and assumptions we’ll be able to engage customers early and often.”
This sooner-rather-than-later approach facilitates a more thoughtful “big picture” view of the customer’s true needs.
“Often customers come to us and say something like, ‘I need a button that lets me print out this screen,’” Krzeminski explains. “Our new approach will let us to take a step back and ask the customer, ‘What are you really trying to accomplish?’ Once we understand their perspective, we can determine the best way to proceed. Our efforts become focused on finding the best solution and implementing the best process to fulfill their request—not simply trying to improve a legacy system or do something the way a competitor does it.”
Automating stability for better user experience
A scalable platform means customers will enjoy a more stable system—along with more frequent updates and upgrades. By integrating automated testing into the process, we foster stability alongside continuous improvement.
“More rapid testing speeds the release of software upgrades, which improves our customers’ workflow, and, in turn, the way they interact with their customers,” Krzeminski notes. “For example, by migrating assessors and tax collectors onto an integrated platform, we make it easier for them to have up-to-date websites, accept different types of payments, and field questions from taxpayers about their assessments.”
Of course, the most exciting aspect of moving to a scalable system is being able to spend more time on things that make customers happy. Streamlining the customer learning curve for software and helping our clients improve their organizational performance are mutual wins for us both. With better architecture up front, Thomson Reuters can move away from custom-developed products to a platform that helps Aumentum customers help one another—and their constituents.
“As more customers adopt our platform, we will be transforming the industry—one customer at a time,” Krzeminski says.