Ala. Home Builders Licensure Board’s IT Manager Suanne Parnell shares her agency’s journey to modernize—from a “forward thinking” board to a shift from paper. She explains why modernization is worth it in an interview with GL Solutions.

GL: Can you talk about where the notion of modernization came from for your agency?

Suanne Parnell: Actually, the board really has driven it. You know, they’re all private business owners. And so, they’re pretty aware of what’s going on out there. And they’re the ones that have really pushed for us to have more of an online presence and to be more available electronically—to our licensees, and our agency.

In 2017, we had our first real strategic planning session meeting. And to get us through for five years, there was a five-year plan. And we managed to meet 90% to 95% of that plan within four years of the plan. And so, we got well ahead of it.

In November, they adopted the strategic plan that went into effect January 1, 2023. And ironically, a lot of that plan centers around more electronic and a stronger presence online, more availability of our processes, to our licensees, to our building officials and to the public in general. So, ironically, GLS comes in in January, with the agency transformation process, and it was like right on the nose of what we’re wanting to move forward with. So, it’s all coming together at the perfect time.

GL: Was there anything specific that created interest around the idea of modernizing?

Suanne Parnell: I think one of the things that was pushing it was the generational demands. Yeah, we get more and more of our licensees that have a document and say, well, can I just email it? Or can I just go to the website and download it? And, you know, society is pushing it so much, because people are getting more and more tech savvy. It truly is a generational thing.

GL: What are you most excited about related to modernization?

Suanne Parnell: I’m most excited about the possibility of never having to print a wallet card or a license certificate or a paper renewal ever again. Those three things, the paper renewal packets that we mail out during renewals, and the license certificates and the wallet cards, had been a burr under my saddle since 2011.

GL: If you had a dream vendor or a partner in achieving your goals within modernization, what things would that partner do? And what would that relationship look like?

Melanah Poole, the board’s Executive Secretary:

  • One of the things that our dream vendor or partner would do is they would have that broad understanding of processes that are unique to government or regulatory agencies.
  • And they will also have a finger on the pulse of technology, so that they know how to guide us in how we want to go in the future.
  • They know what path to put us on and what direction we need to take.
  • And then, of course, the ability to easily interface with all of our resources that we need, especially the ones that are just crucial to our processes. We, want a vendor who can understand the relationship that we have with those resources and can easily help us interface with that.

Suanne Parnell: Basically, it would look like GLS.

Learn More

To hear the whole interview, listen to our Talkin’ SaaS podcast episode.

Editor’s note: Answers edited for clarity and brevity.

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