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Charlotte puts its best foot forward for the DNC

26 November 2013 | Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe, Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

When news broke that the 2012 Democratic National Convention would be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, the city’s planning team immediately knew two things. A huge influx of people were about to descend on this grand city of the south, and the city’s manual processes for event permitting were not designed to handle the load. The city launched an accelerated transformation initiative to develop a cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) system that could meet the unique demands of hosting the convention.

The city of Charlotte had to address both factors or the transformation would not have been successful. In the end, Charlotte showed its best face to the world, proving to convention-goers, press, and citizens alike that Charlotte is indeed a world-class city. Here’s how they did it.

Collaboration

Collaboration is the key to any large event that involves widespread street closures and temporary security measures in a bustling downtown area. Collaboration must be seamless among all of the city’s departments, especially outside agencies, before and during the event. It’s also crucial to ensuring first-responder access, so citizens and attendees are safe during the event. Previously, the city of Charlotte tracked their events manually, limiting the widespread collaboration required for an event. Their new event-permitting solution, based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Azure, gives city teams access to centralized, instantly available data. Event teams have the information they need to spot problems earlier, discuss their options, and create a workaround.

The benefits to the city of Charlotte extend beyond the convention. In some cities, the process of getting a permit from a local city office can be tedious, but in Charlotte, permitting is now fast and easy—whether for event planners or for citizens. This was a key, long-term goal of Charlotte’s city leaders and part of their economic plan to make Charlotte a world-class destination for events and tourism.

Adoption

Charlotte’s willingness to adopt a new solution for event permitting took the city’s backend operations to a new level. Since the solution is accessed through Microsoft Outlook, there was little need for training and learning curves were short. According to Emily Cantrell, Organization Development Specialist for the city of Charlotte, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has helped us organize our information and create a much more efficient process. Great cities realize the importance of putting on great events and that is what we do here in the City of Charlotte.”

To learn more, read the case study and watch the video or read this article in Touch Magazine.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

 
Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe
Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft on Government Blog

About the Author

Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe | Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

In her current role, Kirsten helps government organizations of all levels develop out-of-the-box solutions to address their unique challenges. Kirsten was formerly a marketing VP in Deltek’s GovCon unit and global VP for public sector at CA Technologies. Read more