A Digital DIY Dilemma

Five Reasons Agencies Should Opt for a Software Partner

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There was a time -- back when PCs were beige and "java" mostly referred to coffee -- that building in-house software was the go-to staple of any dynamic, forward-thinking organization. If a corporate enterprise or government agency identified a problem that could be better solved with a computer program, they did the proactive thing and either hired or assigned an in-house developer (or five) to build it.

Like buying Palm Pilots for the entire staff, this made sense at the time. After all, computer coding was still fairly primitive and Silicon Valley was almost singularly fixated on putting a "dot-com" behind large traditional institutions. Simply put, there just weren't enough specialized software companies building digital tools for an organization's many different needs.

Posted on November 30, 2016
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DEQs Going Digital

How Environmental Agencies Are Revolutionizing Comment Management

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State environmental agencies go by many names -- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), among others. But no matter the nomenclature, their task is the same: to enforce their state's environmental laws and protect its air, water and land.

In this role, environmental regulators often end up as referees between the citizens and businesses whose activities and interests affect the region's natural resources. And, like referees, you usually only hear their names when something goes wrong. An oil spill. An invasive fish decimating a native species. Groundwater pollution. Such hot-button issues are everyday subjects for a DEQ or DEP, which have the critical -- sometimes impossible -- job of solving such catastrophes to the closest satisfaction of a seemingly endless collection of stakeholders. Controversy is expected. Lawsuits are common.

However, there's an in-house task familiar to every environmental administrator that can be just as precarious as the delicate environmental issues they monitor. Namely, the hundreds or even thousands of public comment periods they're legally required to conduct and manage each year.

Posted on September 23, 2016
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Say Hi to SmartComment 2.0

New Website Reflects Growth, Client Successes

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So we redesigned our website.

By itself, this is not revolutionary. After all, we live in an age where your 12-year-old neighbor probably just launched an online variety show that got her 36k Instagram followers and a YouTube deal.

But what is revolutionary are our many innovative and just plain brave clients, who ditched the spreadsheets, email chains or antiquated computer programs and said yes to a new paradigm in how their public comments are managed -- and whose continuing loyalty warranted the need for our new digital home in the first place.

Posted on August 23, 2016
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The SmartComment Road Show

Adventures of the All-Important Software Demo

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This spring, my wife and I scheduled a long weekend in New York City to do a blissfully unscheduled walking, eating & gawking tour of one of our favorite destinations.

A few days before we left, a potential SmartComment client requested a software web demo for a few hours after our flight was scheduled to arrive at JFK. Deciding I could make it all work, I stuck by my initial plan, figuring I could get to the hotel safely ahead of the demo and help put our company's best foot forward for the potential new client.

Posted on July 7, 2016
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What's Your Comment Response Readiness?

A Comment Response Discussion with Top Environmental Planners

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Earlier this month, SmartComment joined hundreds of environmental consultants and agency planning directors and staff at the Association of Environmental Planners conference in San Diego. It's the kind of event where it's perfectly normal to have a ten-minute coffee-break conversation about the triggers for a mitigated negative declaration, and where we saw at least one person in a " NEPA Nerd" T-shirt.

In other words, this was our kind of place.

Posted on April 30, 2016
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