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How Clariti Helps Orange County Maintain Peak Productivity Year-Round

When Orange County staff set out to replace their custom-built permitting system, the main goal was to eliminate the need for customers to visit the county office. They wanted a fully digital experience.

Even though they were able to maintain an impressively quick turnaround time with their legacy system, workflows weren’t centralized, staff were spending too much time answering basic questions, and as Permitting Manager Laree Alonso explains, any sort of system change “would take weeks, sometimes months to complete.”

Legacy System Challenges

Before going live with Clariti in 2019, the county public works department (OCPW) used multiple systems to manage the 10 business functions they’ve now consolidated with Clariti’s platform.

Permitting Managers Judy Kim and Laree Alonso explain that while there were parts of their old system the team loved, there were several challenges and areas for improvement.

#1 - Reporting was difficult. Most reports required support from IT, and at one point, the department needed a full-time employee dedicated to creating them. There was a lot of data coming into the system, but it was hard to capture and not always accurate.

#2 - Staff spent a lot of time responding to customers inquiring about property information or the status of their permit application, which is why Judy says “empowering the customer to look up their own records [online]” was a top priority in their evaluation of new permit software.

#3 - Basic workflow changes had to go through a change order and be approved by a committee before being handed off to IT. The department wasn’t able to react quickly to changes like they do now.

It was time for something new. 

Taking the Driver's Seat

Fast-forward to using Clariti today and Judy says she can “make configurations on the fly to update processes and workflows as quickly as needed.” And that’s with no IT background.

Users with permission - or “super users” as Judy calls them - are able to make changes without code, so when something time sensitive like California’s passing of ADU legislation comes up, they can create a new permit type or adjust a workflow right away. Staff can even make reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop tool. 

“We can’t talk about [our reports and dashboards] enough… we love them,” says Judy. “Our dashboards track everything for us, [including] our staff workload, incoming applications that are in our queue, all of our KPIs and metrics, and all of our housing numbers.”

Custom dashboards Judy and her team create act as a sort of visual, real-time to-do list for staff, summarizing their most important metrics on one screen. Each department has its own dashboard that helps them keep to deadlines and improve performance, which Judy says has been a “huge win.” And that’s just the back office.

Expanding on other positive changes in this webinar, Judy explains that the county’s able to maintain peak service levels year-round, and that there’s been a significant drop in customer walk-ins and calls. There’s also limited manual intervention in the permitting process and customers can find information via the county’s research map. As Judy says, applying for a permit is now so straightforward it’s “similar to the experience of ordering a pizza online.” 

Here’s a summary of what changed when the county implemented Clariti.👇

Legacy Custom-Built Permitting System Clariti
Multiple systems used for development services
👍 One centralized platform used for 10 business functions
Lots of calls and walk-in questions about property history and construction projects
👍 Online research map so customers can find information on their own
Semi-digital permitting process. Some visits to the county office required
👍 100% digital permitting process. No in-person office visits required
Most reports could only be built by IT
👍 Non-technical staff can create reports and dashboards using a drag-and-drop tool
Workflow modifications required change orders and would take weeks, sometimes months
👍 Staff with permission can make changes as quickly as needed without any red tape
No plan review integration. Review steps completed one after the other
👍 Bluebeam integration. Reviews done concurrently
High degree of manual intervention in the process. Higher margin for human error
👍 Limited manual intervention in the process. Less margin for error
Little to no transparency into the permitting process
👍 Full process transparency for customers and staff
No online guidelines for permit applications. Lots of customer questions
👍 Online portal with automatic triggers and questions to help guide customers through their application


Interested in learning more about Orange County's day to day using Clariti? Check out these webinars led by county permitting managers Judy and Laree:

Clariti customer Orange County California seal

Orange County, California


> 3,000,000


Public Works


Community Development