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More Announcements Regarding our 2013 Main User Conference

As we near the big weekend for our Main User Conference in Kamloops, BC we've been busy putting together the final details.  With customers from Newfoundland to Washington State planning to attend it will undoubtedly be an extremely valuable experience from everyone taking part.  I'm excited today to release a few more details as the September 20th deadline for registration is quickly approaching! 

Apathy, or An Inability to Engage?

Is anybody actually reading these?

And if they are, you can’t expect the average person to actually be motivated to participate in a local government’s public engagement process.  In a TED Talk by Dave Meslin (video at the end of the blog) he effectively illustrates how ridiculous a Nike ad in this format would look. 

Now, It’s been a longstanding requirement in both Canada and the United States that public notices from the government be published, several times in some cases, in local newspapers.   But these laws were introduced during a time when newspapers were the major source of information and the previous way of informing citizens involved nailing a public notice to the front door of City Hall.

Local governments aren’t oblivious to this issue; many are starting to post more of this information online via their website or through social media.  But the average municipality is still spending $25,000 to $100,000 for larger organizations to publish incredibly ineffective ads that are often buried in the back of a newspaper’s classified section.  Data from the State of Maine shows they are spending about $500,000 annually to publish these notices in papers! 

Reaching Out: A Company Wide Initiative To Get Local Government Feedback

The foundation of iCompass' success, providing industry leading solutions for the public sector over the last 15 years, has been the result of close collaboration with our customers.  The feedback we have received has proven invaluable in developing and improving our services to better meet the needs of local governments across North America.

With this in mind, I'm excited to announce that iCompass is launching a company-wide initiative to speak to as many local governments as possible before the end of September.  We want to learn how Clerks and other staff members have been impacted by the changing landscape of local governments.  A large number of these conversations will be with current iCompass customers but we are also reaching out to others;  we are keenly interested in understanding how we can better support current and future customers going forward.

The feedback will help guide future product developments as we continue the iCompass tradition of building solutions based on the changing needs of local governments.  Upon completion of this exercise we will be sharing this valuable information with customers and other local government officials who have participated.  We look forward to the conversations!

Warwick Township – Our Latest Citizen Engagement Success Story

The latest trends in technology are making it easier for local governments to engage with citizens on a day-to-day basis.  Our latest solution – CivicWeb Portal is completely transforming the concept of open government and how municipalities become more transparent on tight time and financial budgets.   Warwick Township, Ontario is the latest example.

With CivicWeb Portal instead of posting something online, the framework is developed so that once you are done a report, agenda or minutes, it shows up formatted and in the proper spot on the web portal for viewing by the public. Preselect what you want to show, and that’s really the last you’ll have to worry about it. 

Warwick Township is the latest organization to launch the open government web portal.  Looking for a way to more easily share important, searchable information from Council was a top priority.  And when we told them CivicWeb Portal fit seamlessly into their current meeting workflow the work began quickly to get it online. 

“It’s extremely important that we provide up-to-date information from Council for our community online,” says Warwick Township Mayor Todd Case.  “This powerful resource will enhance Council communications making Warwick Township more open, transparent and accessible for the public.”

Big Wins

Great Customer Service Exemplified

When we say iCompass has true 24/7/365 industry leading Grand Slam Customer Service well, we mean it.  Recently, our staff took the afternoon off to celebrate recent successes spending the day up at remote Lac Le Jeune.  Now a trip like this comes with a unique set of challenges for our Customer Success Team, namely, how to deliver top notch service when out in the wilderness away from the office, phones and Internet access.  The solution - to set up a mobile office should any issues arrive. 

With an iPad, iPhone, laptop and a great view of the lake from the beach, our team ensured that every single user who had a question received an answer immediately.  With remote access to our servers, and a tethered Internet connection everything ran smoothly. It just goes to show you how far technology has come and what a committed, knowledgeable team can accomplish when asked, how can you enjoy the beach while giving World Class Customer Service at the same time! 

The next question - why aren't we spending more days at the beach?