Feb 2, 2022 - News

Des Moines' computer software issues delay pet licenses

Illustration of a dog collar with the tag outlined in a white dashed line.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Des Moines' $2.3 million replacement of government computer software has created a backlog of city work and hundreds of requests for system fixes, city officials warned this week.

  • Some of the reported hiccups and delays involve pet licenses and construction permits.

Why it matters: The 20-year-old software needed an upgrade, but the new issues are affecting city business and causing frustration for both Des Moines staffers and residents.

Catch up fast: DSM's previous software was no longer supported by its designers for updates and fixes that are frequently necessary in complex computer systems.

  • The city contracted with Tyler Technologies and launched new software, EnerGov, about seven months ago.
  • But problems arose in the implementation, Anna Whipple, DSM's IT director, told the council Monday.

What they're saying: City manager Scott Sanders told the council that the software has "extreme potential," which will be realized as functionality issues are resolved and the program is better customized to meet DSM's needs.

  • Mayor Frank Cownie said the decision to adopt the software — which is used by other governments — will ultimately save Des Moines millions of dollars, compared to the other option of building a city-specific program.

What's ahead: Tyler Technologies has agreed to provide 20 days of additional no-cost customer care to help address nearly 800 of city staffers' fix or improvement requests, she said.


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