Peter Pirnejad had a lot of experience with Accela, which Oracle is now competing against.
Peter Pirnejad, a longtime local government official who led technology, innovation and community development efforts in several cities, is joining Oracle to work on a renewed push into public-sector software.
The move brings Oracle a recognized local government voice in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as a person who has a lot of experience with a company Oracle recently began competing directly against: Accela.
Pirnejad’s most recent position was in Napa, Calif., where he served as assistant city manager. But before that, he was director of development services in Palo Alto, where he leaned on the Accela platform to develop apps for a range of permitting, inspection and economic development functions.
Those are the kinds of functions Oracle is pursuing with its new platform, Oracle Public Sector Community Development. As strategy director for that project, Pirnejad will be charged with working with stakeholders — often, local government leaders — to understand their needs and then communicate those back to the rest of the team at Oracle to help guide the progress of the product.
And the product is designed to be responsive to that kind of feedback. Previously, an Oracle official told Government Technology that the company will update Community Development four times a year.
Pirnejad said a lot of his previous work in this area involved pulling from lots of different products to achieve his goals. But he sees Oracle’s new product as more of an all-in-one solution.
“I [used], together, a variety of niche products from niche startups that allowed … for example, inspections to be scheduled from mobile phones (or) a dashboard that could give you data analytics,” he said.
It’s a space that’s been especially active lately. In recent months, Accela has launched new dedicated apps to handle specific functionality. Startups have been working on ways of streamlining local permitting processes for building developers.
And building development has been an especially salient topic in California recently, as well as growing urban cores around the country, as population growth has outpaced new housing construction. As a result, housing prices and rents have risen, pushing out people who don’t make enough money to live in the most expensive markets.
Not all of that can be addressed through technology; policy sways how cities develop and how much new housing is built. But technology can make it easier and faster for cities to process and approve new building.
“I think what cities really need is predictability, transparency and efficiency,” Pirnejad said.
He didn’t stay long at the city — he started there in February — but he said Oracle’s work is too good to pass up.
“It was a lifetime opportunity,” Pirnejad said. “I’ve been coming from the public sector now for 20 years. I got to the point in my career where I wanted to make a bigger impact across the agencies.”