When VPS approached The Schneider Corporation about integrating an e-payment portal with Schneider’s BeaconTM software, Schneider was already working with several e-payment providers. But they were looking for a strategic partner to become their default provider.
Beacon is an interactive public access tool that allows users to view County and City information, public records and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) online.
“Beacon gives users access to a whole array of data, including Assessment and Tax,” says Jeff Corns, Schneider Executive Vice President, GIS and Marketing. “The next logical step from here is to give users the ability to pay their taxes. We looked for an e-payment provider we could trust, one with a product that would integrate easily with our own.”
In February 2013, VPS and Schneider began to talk. “We shared two clients in Minnesota,” “Kanabec and Isanti Counties were Beacon users with the VPS e-payment application.”
In December 2013, VPS and Schneider signed a contract and VPS began providing online payment for Hancock County in Indiana. (Hancock is directly east of Indianapolis and Schneider headquarters, and many Schneider employees live in the county.) Shortly after, Kanabec and Isanti Counties in Minnesota followed.
Beacon and PermittingTM
These three counties are really what both companies see as the first steps toward a broad integration of the VPS e-payment application with both Schneider’s Beacon clients (for tax payment) and its PermittingTM system clients. Permitting speeds the entire permitting process by enabling real-time tracking, and interactive map editing and data integration.
As with Beacon, the next logical step in the permitting process is to allow applicants to pay online, from inside the process.
“What we were looking for in the relationship with VPS,” says Corns, “was a go-to partner for e-payment, one we could strongly recommend.” Having established that relationship with VPS, Corns sees great potential from this point forward.
Schneider still deals with some half-dozen “legacy” e-payment providers, inherited through new client acquisition. “We’ve integrated these e-payment applications into our own for these clients,” he says, “but with varying degrees of success. The VPS application integrates quickly and seamlessly. And VPS customer support is superior.”
Going Forward: qPublic
In June of 2014, Schneider completed the acquisition of the Florida-based qPublic— its 330 local government clients, and its qPublic.netTM software. Like Beacon, qPublic. net is a web-based application for interactive access to public records and data. And, like Beacon, qPublic.net lacked a single-source e-payment portal, requiring clients to source their own.
“As of June 1, we introduced a program to migrate our qPublic.net clients to the VPS e-payment program,” says Corns, thereby standardizing payment means and, importantly, customer support. (This summer also, Schneider will be integrating the Bea- con and qPublic applications into a single platform, retaining the two brand interfaces, depending on which states Schneider clients are in.)
As of the June 1 rollout, VPS supports Schneider as it organizes user group meetings and sponsored user events. “We’ll be demonstrating how a well-integrated, e-payments application with strong customer support, is a significant value-added feature for our government clients.”
Jeff Corns is Executive Vice President, GIS and Marketing, The Schneider Corporation
The Schneider Corporation (www.schneidercorp.com) is a family-owned firm founded in 1962. Schneider provides creative solutions for land, infrastructure and facilities projects over three core disciplines: surveying, GIS Geographic Information System), and engineering. Complementary specialty services include architecture and landscape architecture, construction inspection, underground utility location, 3D laser scanning, and mobile mapping (terrestrial LiDAR).
Schneider’s corporate headquarters are in Indianapo- lis IN, with o ices in West Lafayette IN, Ankeny IA, Charlotte NC, Deland FL, and Houston TX. With the acquisition in June 2014 of qPublic (one of the largest e-government providers in the country) Schneider now has over 550 county government clients in 28 states