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Transforming North Miami Beach: A Digital Revolution in Permitting and Licensing

Updated: Mar 10

In the world of city and county government agencies, digital transformation can often be a long and winding road. It requires visionary leadership, a keen understanding of technology, and the determination to overcome obstacles. This is the story of how OnPointe Government Solutions, under the leadership of its Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, served as the catalyst for change in the City of North Miami Beach. In this article, we'll explore the challenges faced, our innovative approach, the solutions we implemented, and the remarkable results achieved in an 8-year stalled project to digitize permitting and licensing processes.

Problem: Eight Years of Stagnation

The City of North Miami Beach had been grappling with an eight-year-long struggle to implement a digital permitting and licensing solution. During this period, city employees had made multiple attempts to bring this initiative to fruition, but each effort ended in frustration and disappointment. The main issues were:

  • Outdated Workflows: The existing workflows shared with the vendor for implementation were outdated and had not been adequately reviewed. This led to numerous break points and inaccuracies in the processes.

  • Inefficient Processes: Staff members were burdened by manual, paper-based procedures that were time-consuming and prone to errors. Citizens were also frustrated by the lack of online access to permit applications and fee payments.

Visionary Leadership and Rapid Evaluation

At the helm of this challenging situation, our Founder & Chief Visionary Officer (CVO), who also served as the Assistant City Manager, brought a fresh perspective and a bold vision. Here's how we approached the problem:

  • Rapid Evaluation: Within the first 90 days of her tenure, our CVO conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the existing processes. This involved working closely with city employees to understand their pain points, identifying bottlenecks, and assessing the overall situation.

  • Tactical Process Redesign: Our CVO initiated a process redesign effort that prioritized efficiency, accuracy, and citizen engagement. She collaborated closely with city departments to streamline workflows, remove redundancies, promote collaboration, and introduce automation where possible.

  • Incorporating Citizen Access: Prior to our CVO joining the NMB team, the initial implementation approach only involved an internal deployment. Recognizing the importance of making services accessible online to our residents and businesses, our CVO led the charge to incorporate a citizen access portal and online payment as a part of the phase one implementation. This change allowed residents to apply for permits, complete contractor registrations, and make permit fee payments conveniently online.

A Modernized, Digitized Permitting and Licensing System

Our solution addressed the longstanding problems with a comprehensive digital transformation strategy:

  • Workflow Improvements: In the typical course of an implementation, city staff, accustomed to specific methods of operation, collaborate with vendors to integrate new systems. However, this well-intentioned collaboration often results in the inadvertent perpetuation of outdated processes, hindering the potential benefits of enhanced workflows and automation. Under the visionary guidance of our Chief Visionary Officer (CVO), the North Miami Beach (NMB) team and the vendor undertook a comprehensive overhaul of the permitting and licensing workflows. This redesign aimed to eliminate weak points in the processes and the reliance on Outlook for additional review requests. Additionally, we meticulously scrubbed the data, ensuring the migrated information was substantially more accurate. These strategic process improvements and transformative measures effectively alleviated longstanding systemic challenges faced by city employees during the implementation phase.

  • Citizen Access Portal: The newly introduced citizen access portal empowered residents to interact with the city online. They could now submit applications, request inspections, check the status of permits, and conveniently pay fees from the comfort of their homes.

  • Data Accuracy: Through rigorous data validation and cleansing, we ensured that the system contained accurate and up-to-date information. This eliminated many of the issues stemming from inaccuracies in the previous system.

  • Training and Change Management: To ensure the success of the implementation, we provided comprehensive training to city staff and supported change management efforts to ensure a smooth transition.

The Beginning of a Remarkable Transformation

The results of our efforts were nothing short of remarkable:

  • Efficiency Gains: The permitting and licensing processes became significantly more efficient, reducing the time, collaboration, and effort required by city employees. This allowed them to focus on more value-added tasks.

  • Citizen Satisfaction: Residents and Businesses in North Miami Beach were delighted by the newfound convenience of accessing city services online. This led to higher citizen satisfaction rates and improved relations between the city and its constituents.

  • Revenue Enhancement: The ability to pay fees online led to a notable increase in on-time payments, positively impacting the city's revenue stream.

  • Operational Excellence: The city's operational efficiency improved, reducing the risk of errors and compliance issues.

The journey to digitize permitting and licensing processes in the City of North Miami Beach was long and challenging. However, through visionary leadership, a methodical approach, and a commitment to innovation, OnPointe Government Solutions, led by its CVO, transformed an 8-year stalled project into a shining example of digital excellence. The success story of North Miami Beach serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when the right strategies are put in place to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the realm of digital transformation.


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