THE CHALLENGE: LEGACY SOFTWARE USE CREATING RESOURCE DRAGS
Gwinnett County, one of America’s fastest-growing counties for the past 20 years, combines city and suburban living and has a current population of just over 833,213 people. Approximately 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, the County includes 437 square miles and is home to 15 municipalities as well as more than 275,000 land parcels. In 2004, as the population continued to grow at a fast rate, Gwinnett County reached the point where its legacy IBM mainframe, deployed in the late 1980s with custom COBOL applications for managing property assessment and tax billing, could no longer meet the County’s needs.
“The system was resource-intensive and not easy for end users to interact with,” said the Gwinnett County Tax Assessor’s Office Division Director, Steve Pruitt. “Any report requests had to be sent to the IT department and run overnight, so it took a long time to get the information we needed. And if a report required non-standard formatting, we needed to request additional work by a programmer that would add another day or two to the process. If a mistake was made along the way, the process was extended even further.”
To address this issue, the County began looking for a new system to manage property-assessment processes and issued an RFP. “We needed a more robust, easier-to-use system and were outgrowing the capabilities of our old system in terms of support and new requirements for the additional property parcels we had to track,” Pruitt added. “We also wanted to improve upon our overall business-process efficiencies.”
When the staff at the County Tax Commissioner’s Office found out about the change the Assessor’s Office was working through, they too realized they needed a new system with up-to-date capabilities. The County expanded the RFP to include this requirement as well.
“We decided at that point that we wanted to partner with a solution provider that could address our assessment and property tax system as well as our records needs,” said Jerry Kemp, the Gwinnett County Chief Deputy Tax Commissioner. “We did not want to work with two different solution provider partners, and we realized that solutions from the same partner would likely offer a higher degree of integration, which would allow the assessment and tax offices to share more process efficiencies.”