New website, e-commerce platform part of Pickering’s vision for its technology future

By Glenn Hendry

Published on September 16, 2022 at 1:14 p.m.

Pickering has chosen a Toronto-based digital company to lead the city into the next wave of technology, which will include a new website, a new Live Chat customer experience tool, an e-commerce platform, an improved financial system and a new solution citizen portal with self-service municipal service options.

MNP Digital Inc., which has worked with approximately 750 municipal clients and provided similar consulting services for the City of Ottawa, City of Vaughan, County of Peterborough and City of Grande Prairie, to name a few -uns, won the tender to provide a Digital Readiness Assessment and Strategy for Pickering.

The project, which is expected to last six months, will cost the City $161,798.

The consultant will prepare a digital readiness assessment and a comprehensive, multi-year strategy, which will identify the current state of City services, as well as the right approach to “maximize the value of current and future technology investments”.

According to a staff report, Pickering’s website is approaching its 12th year of operation (the average website having an approximate lifespan of about three years) and the city lacks a “coordinated corporate vision term” to meet demands for digital services. of its residents, businesses and visitors, today and tomorrow.

“Pickering is growing and it’s important that technology plays an important role in helping Pickering adapt to the needs of a changing community. Customers expect to be able to interact with organizations online and respond to many municipal service requests, 24/7, from any device, anywhere,” says The report. “COVID-19 has highlighted the need for digital services and municipalities to have the potential to meet this need. There is an increased demand and expectation for modernized and efficient technological solutions to provide an improved and digitized user experience for our residents. »

Although Pickering has already made “significant investments” in various major systems, such as SAP for finance and human resources, ActiveNet for registration and program management and Amanda for construction, planning and management of the relationship, there is a perceived lack of understanding of how these existing solutions fit into the City’s long-term strategic plan.

“Today, all businesses depend on technology,” the report says. “Whether a company sells products, provides packages, or provides health care, people, processes, and technology must work together to deliver these services effectively. Municipalities are no different…and services as diverse as collecting taxes, dispatching fire trucks, planning a subdivision, communicating and engaging the community, consulting library books and recreation program registration management all rely on technology to operate efficiently and safely.

“While email and smartphones keep every part of the organization connected and connected, it’s the back-office systems that allow managers and staff to track permit and scheduling requests, manage customer requests or monitor budgets. These are the tools that will allow the City to maximize its operational efficiency (and) in the future, technology will continue to grow in importance. expect to use their computers and smartphones to make an enquiry, report a problem or submit a request Increasingly, sensors will be used to monitor critical infrastructure throughout the city and notify staff when problems are predicted or Cities need to invest in infrastructure to attract/retain business investment and meet the diverse needs of a growing population. health.

The project still needs to be ratified at the September 20 Council meeting (rescheduled from September 19), the last meeting before the October 24 municipal elections and the last meeting of outgoing Mayor Dave Ryan as the city’s first elected official.

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