Recognizing agents of change in government

July 2018

Elaina Hurst

Water Efficiency Representative

Elaina has been a Water Efficiency Representative with the Moulton Niguel Water District (MNWD) for around 2 years. Her team in the Water Efficiency Department acts as a jack of all trades. They manage incoming customer inquiries to sleuth what issues might be causing excessive water use. Their work ranges from examining problems with landscape and troubleshooting options to meeting with customers on their property to providing on-site support. Elaina and her team also focus on progressively driving water demand down through rebate and incentive programs.

She is undoubtedly one of our most dedicated partners and the enthusiasm with which she serves her district is the reason Service is Beautiful!

"Government has earned a reputation for bureaucracy. Beautiful Government should be simple, easy to access, and friendly."

Seth speaks to the SeamlessDocs team in the February installment of the Seamless Speaker Series

Service is Beautiful

Q&A with this municipal champion

How did you get involved with local government?

During her masters program at McGill University in Montreal, Elaina worked for Agriculture Canada researching alternative and efficient water resources. After McGill, she moved to California and worked for a US military contractor focused on resource conservation, environmental planning, and stakeholder engagement with cities partnered with military bases across the country. That was her first exposure to local Government.

The combination of working in resource conservation and the significant water issues in California inspired Elaina to work on water conservation. She wears a ton of hats. Her team is currently partnering with the Project WET Foundation (International Science and Water Education for Teachers) to offer science, education, and training for teachers in their local schools. The Project WET workshops focus on training teachers in new ways to utilize water resources. They offer multi-disciplinary science principles through a common core message of outlining the next generation of water conservation and science standards.

How did you first hear about SeamlessDocs?

When Elaina started in 2016, everyone was already frustrated with the current paper-based process for bill adjustment and similar operational procedures. They had Wufoo Web Forms that could send them an e-mail, but then they needed to print the e-mail out and physically hand it around for additional department and supervisor approval. This was how they kept track of a 2-3 month process that required multiple discussions and follow ups with the customer to ensure they did not go back to normal water usage.

The Water Efficiency Team saw the incongruity of a District focused on water efficiency and conservation, and its simultaneous frustration over paper-heavy, laborious processes. They knew they needed a better solution. Her colleague Jacob Shiba started research and by the Fall he discovered SeamlessDocs. The solution was procured around late Fall of 2016; by February of 2017 the contract was signed and they started the first trial year. In March of 2017, they went live with their first form.

Why did you decide to go paperless?

The Moulton Niguel Water District strives to keep customers informed of the latest water updates, as well as educating customers regarding water efficiency programs, and resources. They value their customers and their water needs, and continuously encourage open, honest, and transparent communication to ensure the best, most efficient water service possible.

In line with offering the most efficient water service, there was a very immediate need to eliminate their labor intensive paper-processes and effectively improve their customer's experience. Though they were initially evaluating the SeamlessDocs solution for e-signatures, they immediately saw the value in a form builder with back end management. They've been able to reduce a lot of that work on the back end. The solution gave them the tools they needed to easily convert their piles of paper and folders into online services.

Another main reason for choosing SeamlessDocs was the encryption and AWS security protocol. They recognized that this was a much better and more secure way to collect sensitive data. The increased security was critical at the beginning of procurement and the final step in generating buy-in from other departments.

Paul accepts his Service is Beautiful Award from CEO & Founder Jonathon Ende

Seth accepts his Service is Beautiful Award from CEO & Founder Jonathon Ende

"Our District has a core mission of conservation yet we were printing e-mails and putting them into folders. These paper-based processes were the opposite of how we wanted to operate. It is always a worthy and important effort to pioneer being mindful of our resources, time, water, money, and consistently explore modernizing the efficiency of our processes through available technology. SeamlessDocs empowers our District to achieve our goals of Water Conservancy"

Elaina Hurst

Water Efficiency Representative

Learn About SeamlessDocs

Town of Gilbert Stats

Real results from this municipality

  • 27 Forms

  • 12,677 Submissions

  • 15 Minutes Saved per Form

  • 3,169 Total Hours Saved

    (Submissions * Time Saved per Form = Total Time Saved)

Culver City Stats

Real results from this municipality

  • 115 Forms

  • 2,352 Submissions

  • 20.5 Submissions per Form on Average

  • 15 Minutes Saved per Form

  • 588 Total Hours Saved

    (Submissions * Time Saved per Form = Total Time Saved)

Leesburg Stats

Real results from this municipality

  • 5/5 User Credits

    143 SeamlessDocs

    15 Web Forms

    158 Total Forms

  • 2,790 Submissions

  • 17.7 Submissions per Form on Average

  • 15 Minutes Saved per Form

  • 697 Total Hours Saved

    (Submissions * Time Saved per Form = Total Time Saved)

Cedar Hills Stats

Real results from this municipality

  • 47 Forms

  • 2,201 Submissions

  • 46.8 Submissions per Form on Average

  • 15 Minutes Saved per Form

  • 550 Total Hours Saved

    (Submissions * Time Saved per Form = Total Time Saved)

What was implementation like?

Jacob Shiba initially led the implementation and Elaina picked up where he left off. They were most excited to start with their most heavily used Residential and Commercial Bill Adjustment Forms.

First, they split that procedure into 4 forms and began building the different and intricate processes on their new back end through the GRM. Now they had this amazing workflow tool for back end management. Additionally, the form was able to be conditionally catered to each type of customer instead of the general Wufoo form that required several back and forth phone calls to complete. 

Every conversation between them and their customers are consolidated with the form instead of being quickly notated on a piece of paper. On top of all the submissions being in a searchable database, they appreciated the ability to email citizens and offer an automated virtual copy of the form. The added functionality was outstanding. Now forms included terms and conditions and the ability to generate immediate responses. Previously, a requested submission was an arduous back and forth phone call conversation throughout a very long 3-4 month process. There is a lot of benefit in all of the information being in one place. This made management approval easier, also in the same place, and increased the capacity to communicate internally for further necessary approvals. 

Elaina admits that initially learning about all of the different customizations, form elements, more complicated back end processes, and getting everyone trained was a bit of a battle. It is clear that she is the key champion in successfully overcoming that struggle. She has compiled a mass of information and frameworks in their Sharepoint site with known tips, which provides a place for other departments to find answers and manage their own online processes. Elaina has taken charge of training their staff and hosts regular workshops to educate and train contractors and spread the solution to other departments. She logs into SeamlessDocs every day, but understands that other departments may not and so they find her Sharepoint data extremely helpful. Her endless efforts have catapulted the SeamlessDocs solution to several new Departments and she is still gaining more  traction.

The District has now branched out to many more forms. For newer programs, the entire process is through SeamlessDocs (example: their NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program was completely developed through SeamlessDocs). Their customers are able to fill out a SeamlessDocs form to request internal inspections with a contractor or even enter into a rebate related program. Eventually, all of their paper-based processes will be managed through SeamlessDocs.

One form or process that's been changed by SeamlessDocs?

Residential NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program

Elaina spearheaded the development of this rebate program to incentivize residential customers to replace their existing turf with native California landscapes providing multiple positive environmental benefits. The Moulton Niguel Water District (MNWD) is working tirelessly to get the word out on California Natives. A customer is offered water rebates and additional incentive to replace existing landscapes of thirsty grass with climate appropriate native Californian plants. Elaina was recently chosen to present this innovative program at the 2017 Water Smart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas and it has since been adopted by the majority of California.

She admits that she is unsure how a program like this would've even been completed a year ago, but it likely would have involved the agony of a paper form, scanned in on more paper, or emailed from a contractor.

NOW they receive all submissions in a searchable database. In a couple of years they will really be able to calculate an amazing amount of data towards water savings and that will provide a wealth of value. Their old system would have made this research nearly impossible.

The MNWD is a member agency and the Turf Replacement Program has now spread to Metropolitan that imports all of the water for Southern California. They are increasing rebates, rebranding to include turf replacement, and releasing a considerable amount of educational marketing on Californian, drought-resistant natives. The program is a resounding success with Elaina and the MNWD at the forefront of this rebate initiative. 

Favorite SeamlessGov Feature?

SeamlessDocs and the GRM facilitated the convenience of being able to email the customers, notify the staff, see the submission's status, export data, and manage the back end ALL IN ONE consolidated, linked, and searchable place. Getting approvals from busy management has never been easier. They love the drag and drop ease of setting up a new form.

"For me, Making Beautiful Government is our District continuously pursuing innovation and striving to be market leaders. SeamlessDocs is helping us bring technology into the backside of that."

Advice for another municipality just starting out with SeamlessDocs?

Utilize the Live Chat! Emily is an unbelievable resource and she has been really consistently great. You have real people to talk to via the Success Team, your dedicated Success Manager, and they are an excellent resource. Never be afraid to ask for help from the Customer Success Team and make sure that you have buy-in from your team and management.
A major attribute to the successful implementation of SeamlessDocs was the ample strong support from Directors. You need buy-in from whoever is managing your people resources. I was given all the time and resources I needed to dive deep into this solution and build a strong foundation.

Ann Thai

Success Manager

Ann is a Client Success Manager with SeamlessDocs. She was born in Texas, went to high school in Ecuador and Argentina, and studied Architecture in San Francisco. She loves good barbecue, a reason to be active in the sun and playing music. You might find her running, baking, or designing and building furniture in her free time.

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