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CivicPlus Builds Civic Engagement Platform on "Headless" CMS

A structural overhaul of CivicPlus’ old platforms, Engage 6 allows local governments to create content in one space and share it automatically across any other separate platforms or devices used by citizens.

by / April 16, 2019

CivicPlus, a company that makes websites and integrated software for local governments, unveiled the latest iteration of its citizen engagement platform at a conference this week in Kansas City, Mo.

As described by the company’s press release, Engage 6 is an integrated software tool with advanced communication and data management capabilities, the first of its kind to be built on a “headless” content management system (HCMS), technology that separates the back-end data repository from the front-end content delivery layer. Engage 6 stores content in the CivicPlus platform and shares it across any other CivicPlus solutions and connected third-party applications.

Citizen Engagement Solutions Director Nick Scherzer called it the first government HCMS in the world.

“We are bringing some of the capability and functionality that was used by the 2,500 clients who used Civic Engage 5, so we did want to keep a lot of the foundational functionality and features,” he said. “But it’s just architected completely differently.”

In effect, Engage 6 is a content-as-a-service (CaaS) platform that allows government authors to share their announcements, documents or other media with any devices a citizen might use. Scherzer said the platform also logs and responds to user inquiries.

“For example, if someone is searching for leash laws on a civic website, we’ll start to provide more content, on widgets or a side column, that will show them a map of off-leash dog parks in the area, and there may be some upcoming legislation on new canine tax laws or maybe even a permit for an animal that they can fill out,” he said. “We’re trying to create more of an Amazon experience, more of a personalized and responsive experience based on their browsing tendencies and based on their interest.”

Sascha Ohler, the company’s vice president of research and development, said in the press release that Engage 6 was designed to help municipalities address the growing pressures of shrinking budgets, limited staff and citizen expectations for transparency and communication.

“Historically, if a municipality needed to issue a boil-water advisory, for example, they would have to create the content and publish it multiple times using multiple content formats based on the needed communication platforms, such as social media, their website, their mass notification system and other channels,” Ohler said. “With Engage 6, now they create the content one time and can publish it to any integrated channel, independent of format, using either pre-built connectors to existing applications or the robust API we provide.”

Engage 6 is CivicPlus’ second new tool this year for communicating with citizens, after CP Connect 311 in January.

CivicPlus and Governing* will host a webinar on May 8 with more information about HCMS technology and CaaS as the next evolution of citizen engagement. Registration is available here.

*Governing is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.

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Andrew Westrope Staff Writer

Andrew Westrope is a staff writer for Government Technology. Before that, he was a reporter and editor at community newspapers for seven years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.

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