Accela Civic Platform Glossary

A

ACA

Accela Citizen Access. See Citizen Access.

Accela Application Server

A software framework that provides a means of executing back-end functions, scripts, and routines to support front-end applications. Accela's application server handles interactions between users and Civic Platform databases, executes code to perform distributed services, and supports complex database functions. Also referred to as the BIZ Server.

Accela Automation®

See Accela Civic Platform.

Accela Civic Platform GIS

An integrated Accela product that enables users to view maps and geospatial representations of land-use, zoning, and infrastructure information. Accela Civic Platform GIS provides a robust solution for agencies to leverage geospatial data to improve decision-making and streamline processes.

Accela Database Server

The server on which you install the back-end database infrastructure that supports the storage and retrieval of data in the Civic Platform.

Accela Document Services

An add-on component of the Civic Platform that provides a database for electronic documents. Accela Document Services is one of the document management systems that integrates with the Civic Platform, in addition to third-party document management integrations such as Microsoft SharePoint®, Filenet®, Documentum®, SIRE®, and Laserfiche®. See Electronic Document Management System.

Accela Electronic Document Review

A feature in Civic Platform that enables agencies to digitally review, comment, and mark up building plans for electronic review. Accela EDR integrates with Adobe Acrobat®, enabling users to launch the program directly from Civic Platform and access its annotation tools to digitally manage PDF versions of plans and documents.

Accela Gateway

An application that serves as a proxy for requests for data from the Accela Civic Cloud to the Accela application server. Accela Gateway supports iOS, Android, and Windows apps.

Accela Interactive Voice Response

A voice recognition system that integrates with Accela solutions to provide inspection, permit, license, and other record management capabilities over the phone. Accela IVR enables government agencies to extend their hours of operation and provide staff, contractors, and citizens with 24-hour access to records using touch-tone telephone keypad interaction or speech recognition.

Accela Mobile Office
Accela Mobile Office (AMO) is used by inspectors in the field to perform inspections where they may or may not have an active internet connection.
  1. Only runs under the Windows operating system.
  2. Requires Silverlight.
  3. Is a legacy application that Accela is no longer upgrading. It will eventually be phased out. No timeline has been established.
Accela Web Server

Software that functions as the control panel for displaying and editing internal settings for the Civic Platform website, including the structure and formatting of Accela web pages, the Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the domain name.

Accela Wireless

A first generation Accela mobile app designed for government use (now retired). Accela Wireless integrates with the Civic Platform to extend processing capabilities to the field. Accela Wireless enables government employees to conduct inspections, investigations, disaster response, code enforcement, work orders, and service requests.

Access Level

A set of controls limiting user access to certain tasks. The access levels for each task are predefined and can be assigned to each user or user group. Administrators can assign these predefined access levels, or customize access levels to meet the specific needs of the agency.

Activity

An action or event in the application that can be associated with addresses, parcels, people, records, and workflows. Activities are often related to a workflow. Each of the Civic Platform solution modules include customizable workflows, which consist of tasks and activities necessary for completion of an application.

Add-on Products

Products that agencies can add to an Accela back-end system to provide additional user functionality, such as wireless access, GIS connectivity, citizen access, or IVR. Some popular add-on products include Citizen Access, Accela Civic Platform GIS, Accela Electronic Document Review, Accela Interactive Voice Response, Accela Mobile Office, Accela Wireless, and Ad-hoc Reports.

Address/Parcel/Owner

Address, parcel, and owner information. Addresses are physical locations related to parcels. Parcels are plots of land with legally defined boundaries. A parcel can have multiple addresses. When you create a record in Civic Platform you associate owners with specific parcels. Owners are the main persons responsible for a parcel.

Ad-hoc Reports

A lightweight reporting tool in Civic Platform that provides access to the most commonly reported fields in the Accela database; does not require extensive knowledge of database structures, tables, or field names; provides an easy interface for creating reports and dashboards on the fly.

Agency

Agency is the term used by the Accela Civic Platform to compartmentalize all your operations within the Accela database.

Agency User

A type of user at a local, state, or federal agency, who uses Accela Civic Platform on a regular basis. This user is typically not a Civic Platform administrator, but is a consumer of the software configurations that administrators implement.

Anonymous Users

Public users who navigate an agency’s Citizen Access website, but do not have a registered Citizen Access account. See also Public Users and Registered Users.

Application Intake Form

A form that enables users to create an application, a work order, or a service request in Civic Platform; consists of sections that correspond with record detail tabs. Replaces the term SPEAR Form.

Application-Specific Information (ASI)

See Custom Fields.

ArcGIS Server

Developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri); a software platform that integrates with Accela Civic Platform GIS. Enables agencies to share GIS resources such as maps, globes, address locators, and geo-databases, across their agency and with citizens and public users.

ASI

See Custom Fields.

Asset

Any object that an agency owns or maintains. Some examples of assets in this context include: buildings, desks, fire hydrants, manholes, parking lots, street signs, telephone lines, trucks, and valves.

Asset Management Solution

An Accela solution offering that enables agencies to track and manage the lifecycle of assets, work orders, and resources. Accela Asset Management automates costing, inventory, maintenance, investigations, and inspections; provides a means of managing the operation, maintenance, upgrade, and disposal of tangible and intangible assets.

Attachments

The various types of files and documents that users can add to records in Civic Platform or to email messages and calendar requests in Microsoft Outlook. Attachments can be any document type or EDMS (Electronic Document Management System. ) object type.

Audit

A means of analyzing the records in your Civic Platform database. You can specify the audit frequency and audit records randomly within a specific time period, then filter and run reports of the data according to your agency's analysis requirements.

B

Barcode Scanning

A method for populating application fields by using a scanner to read computer-generated barcodes. Commonly used in the payment processing portlet of Civic Platform to read and retrieve system-generated invoices by scanning barcodes on invoices. A means of processing multiple records for payment via the Intermec SR30 handheld scanner.

Base Installation

The core components of the Civic Platform family of products, not including add-on products, that the Civic Platform installation program installs.

Basemap

Within the Map Dashboard, the map background loaded within the dashboard with options that include imagery, topographic, street, and several others.

Batch Processing

An efficient way for users to execute common processes on multiple related records. For example, users can create a set of related records that share the same workflow, and then execute a batch process that updates the workflow task status for the entire set.

Best Practices Templates

Accela’s out-of-the-box configurations for Asset Management, Land Management, Licensing and Case Management, and Public Health and Safety solutions. BPT provides specific record types, workflows, custom fields, standard comments, and so forth, that represent best practices for each of the solution-based modules.

Bookmark location

Within the Map Dashboard, a saved location within the map. This allows a user to immediately load areas of interest within the map.

Buffer

Within the Map Dashboard, an area defined by distance from a point or polygon centroid within the map. This is typically used in the Planning solution to identify adjacent properties for notifications as well as to verify or alert the user to sensitive land uses.

Building Module

See Permitting and Inspection Module.

Business Licensing Module

See Licensing and Case Management Solution.

C

Calendars

Civic Platform calendars integrate with Microsoft Outlook/Exchange and provide a means of scheduling and managing hearings, inspections, meetings, and events in Civic Platform. The Outlook integration enables users to view the availability of attendees and manage attachments to meeting requests.

CAP

CAP is old terminology that has evolved into what we now refer to as a record. CAP represented the identification number of a basic case, application, or permit. A record now defines a broader range of items or forms that users manage within Civic Platform, such as application, case, license, permit, service request, and work order. See Record.

Case

The basic record in Accela’s code enforcement module. Each permit, license, complaint, internal service request, or evaluation that an agency manages is identified with a unique case number. See Record.

Case Management Module

See Licensing and Case Management Solution.

Cashier Station

Civic Platform cashier stations provide Point of Sale functionality; agency users (cashiers) calculate the amount due, provide options for public users to make payments, and then issue receipts. Civic Platform's cashier station functionality integrates with an electronic cash drawer and a slip printer, enabling cashiers to print receipts for POS transactions, process payments, endorse checks, and track the balance of funds in their cash drawers.

Citizen Access

A customizable, web-based application that integrates with Civic Platform to provide the public (citizens and business professionals) with online access to government services and information.

Civic Cloud

An Accela platform that enables government agencies to automate and streamline core civic processes and extend them directly to businesses and citizens in their communities. Through the Civic Cloud, agencies can quickly and easily provide access to business services and deploy civic engagement apps on mobile devices.

CivicID

A social media identity or user name for accessing Accela products, including Citizen Access, Civic Platform, and Accela mobile apps. You can connect your CivicID to your other social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter, and log in to Accela products with your Facebook and Twitter credentials.

Civic Platform

Accela’s flagship product. Civic Platform provides complete solutions for automating critical tasks associated with Asset Management, Land Management, Licensing and Case Management, Legislative Management, Public Health and Safety, and Right of Way Management. Civic Platform provides government departments and entire agencies with the tools to better manage workflow, track and enforce regulatory services, and communicate more effectively with office and field workers, the public, businesses, and other stakeholders. Also referred to as Accela Automation (AA) or Vantage 360.

The Accela Civic Platform is also an engagement platform used by government agencies large and small to streamline civic processes and engage with their communities. It includes the Civic Platform Developer Program, a program that enables Accela partners and developers to extend existing solutions, build custom solutions, and create innovative mobile apps. See Developer Portal.

Classic

Civic Platform's legacy administration page, where agency administrators configure the various components that comprise their agency-specific implementation. Many classic administration functions are now ported into Vantage360®, with the notable exceptions of FIDs and standard choices, which remain configurable in the Classic interface.

Cloning

The act of creating a duplicate application, asset, or service request using an existing application, asset, or service request as a template.

Code Enforcement Module

The code enforcement component of Accela’s Land Management Solution; enables agencies to create cases, issue citations, and manage investigations and evidence relevant to code enforcement activities. Code enforcement officers can create and manage cases using their mobile devices – whether they are performing proactive sweeps or following up on issues reported by police, fire professionals, or citizens. Integrated picture mark-up makes it easy to snap a picture to include visuals of difficult-to-explain situations in field reports.

Communication Manager

A centralized communications hub that consolidates Civic Platform’s communications functionality into a single, centralized portlet. Communication manager integrates with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, enabling agencies to send meeting requests via the calendar portlet, view the calendar availability of meeting attendees, and maintain Outlook emails and attachments in the Civic Platform database. Communication manager also integrates with SMS text messaging services, enabling you to communicate with agency users by text message.

Condition

A certain requirement with regard to an application that an applicant must fulfill to qualify for approval. Although conditions do not necessarily impose holds, they can prolong the application process until the applicant meets the condition. You can also use conditions to halt work. For example, if an application fails to meet certain established agency standards, you can place a hold on the application. A hold is a condition type that restricts the addition of an activity to a case. Conditions let you limit the activities or tasks that users can perform on an application.

Conditions of Approval

Use conditions of approval to define a list of requirements to be met before an applicant receives approval for a permit or an inspection. Generally, Civic Platform applies conditions of approval to records, inspections, or set members in a record set. The process of working with conditions of approval is very similar for records, inspections, and record set members. The only difference is the starting portlet. Besides, the Conditions of Approval tab for a record or a record set displays the conditions of approval applied to the record or the set members and those applied to the inspections associated with the record or he set members. The Conditions of Approval tab for an inspection only displays the conditions of approval applied to the inspection itself.

Configuration Data

Configuration data consists of two components: 1) information about the agency, module, record type, and so forth (the Accela schema), and 2) information about the main console layout and main console setup (the Jetspeed schema). Contrast with Transaction Data.

Console

The customizable workspace within Civic Platform V360 Administration, which includes a control panel, main links, portlets, etc.

Construct API

The Construct API is a RESTful API enabling innovation and extension of the Accela Civic Platform. This API provides expansive coverage of Civic Platform features and functions. It empowers both internal developers and external partners to build tools for integration, productivity, transparency, citizen engagement, and other related functions. See RESTful API.

Contact

Any significant party (excluding licensed professionals) who participates in the application process, such as the applicant, billing contacts, or legal contacts. These are individuals or entities that are associated with an application/record but do not have a license number attached to them that provides a regulatory function in relation to the record. Licensed professionals are treated as distinct entities within Civic Platform. See Licensed Professionals.

Contacts exist in the Civic Platform as both "Data : Daily" and "Data : Reference". See Data : Daily. See Data : Reference.

Custom Field

A field an agency can include on forms, such as application intake forms, in addition to standard fields. Custom Fields are used when collecting a single answer to a question. Administrators can customize the fields within each custom group, and determine whether users can search for an application based on those fields. Also referred to a ASI or Application Specific Info fields.

Custom List

A field table an agency can include on forms, such as application intake forms, in addition to standard fields. Custom Lists are tables where you can provide more than one answer to the same series of questions. Also referred to as ASIT or Application Specific Info Tables.

Custom Portlet

A customized List Portlet, such as a Quicklinks or FAQ portlet, that an administrator can create to help agency users access information, functionality, and agency best practices in Civic Platform.

D

Dashboard

Task-centric and Map-centric views of records, inspections, and reference objects within Civic Platform

Data Dictionary

A centralized repository of metadata that defines data’s relationships to other data, its usage, and its format.

Data Language

The language in which any data elements that support multiple languages display in administrator portlets. Administrators can choose to display the customizable data either in the default data language, English, or switch the data to a language for which the agency has installed a language pack. The data language is independent of the Preferred Language.

Data Manager

A tool for migrating Configuration Data across agencies and environments. Data Manager enables the migration of all record types, associated elements, and configuration settings in Civic Platform and Citizen Access.

Data : Daily

Transactional Data: The intake of an Application, Scheduling of and Inspections, Payment of an Invoice, Licensed Professionals and Contacts copied to or entered on an Application, Data entered during processing of an Application/Record.

Data : Reference

Configuration data: Licensed Professionals, Contacts (Non-Licensed), Parcel Information, Drop-down lists, Parcel Owners, Questions on Input forms, Inspectors, Users, etc.

Database

Accela Database hosted locally by an Agency or by Accela. This database contains all Daily, Reference, and Accela configuration information.

Delegate User

A user who has permissions to perform operations in multiple agencies with a single user ID. An administrator can assign a delegate to a public user group for Citizen Access so that public users can create records and view record data across multiple agencies.

Developer Portal

A secure location on Accela's website (https://developer.accela.com) that provides all of the necessary tools and resources for partners to develop mobile apps for the Civic Platform.

Drilldown

Drilldowns are multiple fields with drop-down lists where the available options are displayed depending on the option selected in the preceding field. e.g. The values available to select in a field are dependent upon the value selected in a preceding field.

Dynamic Themes

In Accela Civic Platform GIS, the result of a query that you run against the Civic Platform database. As the data in the database changes, the query results can change. For example, if your agency performs routine safety inspections on buildings in an area, a dynamic theme can show you on a map which buildings have been inspected and which have not.

E

Electronic Document Management System

A back-end repository that supports the storage, use, and maintenance of electronically-created documents. Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) is a generic term referring to any platform that stores and manages documents. Accela includes two EDMS systems as standard, out-of-the-box solutions:

  1. ADS (File folder network share level storage): Attachments are stored on a network file share and are directly linked to the appropriate area in Accela.
  2. ACCELA (Database level storage): Attachments are stored directly to the database.

Organizations can also elect to use a 3rd party EDMS integration (FileNet, SharePoint, LaserFiche, Documentum).

Entity Relationship Diagram

A graphical representation of data entities and their relationships to each other that illustrates the organization of data in a database. An entity is a piece of data (an object or concept) about which data is stored. A relationship is how the data is shared between entities – the metadata – that defines the data's relationships to other data. There are three types of relationships between entities: one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many.

Environmental Systems Research Institute

An international supplier of Geographic Information System (GIS) software and geo-database management applications. Esri provides the standard in geographic and spatially referenced systems and applications. Accela partners with Esri to provide integrated GIS functionality. See Accela Civic Platform GIS.

Epay

An electronic payment processor that provides electronic products and services via mobile applications and integrated Point of Sale systems.

Establishment

A business or residence that occupies space in a structure. Establishment records can have address, parcel, and owner information attached to them. Establishment records are often part of structure records. See structure.

Event

An action or occurrence detected by Civic Platform that is then processed programmatically, according to event handling protocols.

Event Management Scripting Engine

Civic Platform’s scripting application, which enables the automation of events and processes. EMSE uses Javascript to extend functionality associated with Civic Platform events. Civic Platform uses the Rhino open source JavaScript engine to convert configured master scripts into Java classes that Civic Platform can execute. Civic Platform supports an EMSE API for handling EMSE event parameters.

Expression Builder

A feature in Civic Platform that provides an interface for writing expressions that perform dynamic, on-the-fly calculations, provide drop-down lists, and auto-populate fields based on values that the user selects. An expression is a computer equation comprised of any combination of values, constants, variables, operators, and functions that help simplify data entry work, reduce data entry errors, and automate repetitive processes.

F

Fee

An established price that an applicant must pay for a specific service, permit, or other case-related task, as specified in an agency’s ordinances.

Filter

Searches available on the Task Dashboard that show commonly searched items by type, assignment, due dates or any other combination of search criteria available for inspections, meetings, or tasks.

Form Layout Editor

A feature in Civic Platform that enables you to customize non-standard forms, such as custom fields and forms, asset forms, and APO forms in your Civic Platform implementation.

Form Portlet Designer

A feature in Civic Platform that enables you to customize the standard forms in your Civic Platform system. Forms are where agency users enter data, and where Civic Platform collects all of the data that it stores in the back-end database. You can design forms for use at the agency, module, user group, and individual user levels, depending on your agency's information gathering requirements.

Functional Identifier (FID)

Four-digit identification numbers used to enable fields, security, permissions, and functionality in Civic Platform.

G

Geocoding

In Accela Civic Platform GIS/ArcGIS, the ability to assign a location, usually in the form of coordinate values (points), to an address by comparing the descriptive location elements in the address to those present in the reference material (map). Geocoding enables sophisticated displays of addresses and map information that agencies can use for a variety of purposes.

GIS

Geographic Information System: GIS provides spatial information in a map format for Accela to consume. Accela can also retrieve meta data from the parcel layers if made available.

Accela supports two versions of this interface:
  1. Silverlight - Runs under the v360 user interface.
  2. JavaScript - Runs under the new user interface available in version 8.0 and beyond.

GIS Object

In Accela Civic Platform GIS/ArcGIS, a digital representation of a spatial or nonspatial entity. GIS objects usually belong to a class of GIS objects with common attribute values and behaviors.

GovXML

An Extensible Markup Language used as an application programming interface, that enables agencies to use various applications together with Civic Platform. GovXML is a standard for government solutions that provides a common interface for web-based government applications, and a means of information transfer between back-end systems and front-end, vendor-agnostic applications.

Guidesheet

A checklist, questionnaire, or outline of steps for an inspection. Guidesheets are designed to help inspectors complete their work in an efficient, routinized manner.

H

Hosted

An architectural model in which Accela hosts the Civic Platform server at its data center; one of two options for deploying the Civic Platform application. This model is ideal for agencies that don't want to deal with maintaining their own hardware and IT staff. Contrast with On-premise.

I

Inspection

A general observation of an asset or a permit application. An inspection can include many specific observations. See observation.

Intake Form Configuration Groups

A feature in Civic Platform that provides information about standard sections of an application intake form. Intake Form Configuration Groups enable you to designate fields as required or optional, specify where the information displays on the application intake form, and determine whether a user can validate information against values that currently exist in the database. These were known as SmartChoice Groups in earlier releases.

Intergraph OGC Service

A provider of engineering and geospatial software that enables the visualization of complex map data in Civic Platform GIS. One of two integrated map services in Civic Platform GIS that meet Open Geospatial Consortium standards. See also MapInfo OGC Service.

IVR

Interactive Voice Response. See Accela Interactive Voice Response.

K

Kiva

An Oracle-based database management system, integrated with Civic Platform, that encompasses several interconnected modules to manage information and streamline processes for city, county, and local governments.

L

Land Management Solution

An Accela solution offering that enables agencies to coordinate all of the necessary activities for consideration and approval of site and building plans, processing permits, and conducting code inspections and enforcement activities. Facilitates the regulatory activities for the development and use of land resources. Includes separate modules for permitting, planning and zoning, and code enforcement.

LDAP

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a directory service protocol that runs on a layer above the TCP/IP stack. It provides a mechanism used to connect to, search, and modify Internet directories. The LDAP directory service is based on a client-server model.

License

A professional document, plate, or tag issued as proof of legal permission to do or own something.

Licensed Professional

Licensed Professionals are any entity requiring a license to do business with the County or within the County. It also includes any entity that has a professional designation/license number that involves a regulator function in relation to the application/record. Examples include: Contractors, Plumbers, Electricians, Builders, Architects, Couriers, Attorneys. etc.

These are maintained as Reference data within the Accela Civic Platform so they can quickly be reused across multiple records.

Licensing and Case Management Solution

An Accela solution offering that enables agencies to track and manage regulatory processes associated with licensing, registration, inspection, investigations, complaint handling, hearings and legal action. Enables agencies to streamline customer service to licensed professionals and business entities and prioritize revenue-generating activities.

Link Portlet

A portlet that displays links to websites and to functional areas in Civic Platform. Administrators can create custom link portlets and can display these portlets on different pages throughout Civic Platform to provide agency-specific best practices and customize the user experience.

List Portlet

A portlet that contains a list of items.

Lock

A condition that prevents users from performing certain operations.

Lookup

A button that enables users to look up existing records (contacts, addresses, and parcels, for example) and view the associated information.

M

Main Link

A navigation link on the Civic Platform console page that users can click to quickly access a portlet.

Map Service

A standard protocol developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium for delivering maps and geospatial images over the internet. These map images are generated from data stored in a GIS database and contain geocoding.

MapInfo OGC Service

Location intelligence software that provides tailored views of geographic data and automates business processes. One of two Civic Platform GIS integrated map services that meet Open Geospatial Consortium standards. See also Intergraph OGC Service.

Mask Definition

A prefix that determines the format of an automatically generated number. For example, each new permit number might have a prefix indicating the type of permit and a date code in addition to the incremental number. A citation number can have a prefix that identifies it as a citation and not a permit, receipt number, or other incremental record in Civic Platform.

Master Scripts

Civic Platform provides a set of master scripts that extend functionality for events. Scripts perform custom activities that extend standard event processing in Civic Platform. For some events, Civic Platform provides a master script file unique to that event. For other events, Civic Platform provides a universal master script that you can use as a template for developing event-specific scripts.

Menu Navigation

Drop-down menus that agency administrators create to organize and group daily tasks.

Metadata

Descriptive information that provides information about the data that resides in a database. In short, data about data. Metadata is stored in the database along with the data that it describes; the metadata element is associated with the data element to provide a frame of reference.

Migration

The process of moving a deployment from a Civic Platform source database to a Civic Platform target database. You can migrate both configuration data and transaction data.

Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps are lightweight applications that can be used in the field. These apps run on mobile devices using Android, IOS and Windows. Apps are targets for specific disciplines like:
  • Building Inspectors
  • Code Officers
  • Management
  • Work Order Updates
  • Contractor interactions

See http://www.accela.com/civic-apps for a complete list.

Module

A component of an Accela solution offering that provides functionality to achieve a specific purpose. The modules in Civic Platform enable users to perform a specialized set of tasks related to land management, planning, permitting, or other agency-specific tasks. See Code Enforcement Module, Permitting and Inspection Module, and Planning and Zoning Module, for examples.

My Filters

A search pre-defined by an administrator that helps users to quickly access a list of items.

My Navigation

A portlet in the V360 version of Civic Platform that provides flow diagrams users can refer to when performing their daily tasks. Flow diagrams help users follow agency procedures by providing a visual aid for the task at hand, and simplify their user experience by providing links to the portlets they need to access to accomplish specific tasks. This is not available in the New UI.

N

Notice

A condition that displays special instructions to the person completing an application.

O

Observation

In Accela Asset Management and Land Management, a specific activity in an inspection.

On-premise

An architectural model where an agency hosts its own Civic Platform Server. This hosting option is ideally suited for the business needs of agencies that want to maintain complete control over hardware and IT operations. Contrast with the Hosted model.

Open Geospatial Consortium

An international industry consortium of 477 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. OGC® Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the web, wireless, and location-based services. The standards empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful within all kinds of applications.

Organization

A group or society associated with a case, project, or parcel, including public agencies, private businesses, and non-profit organizations.

P

Page Flow

A Java class that controls how a web application functions and what it does. Page flows control all of the major features of a web application: how users navigate from page to page, user requests, and access to the web application's back-end resources.

Parcel

A specific unit, usually a piece of land, with a specific location and legally defined boundaries.

Parts Inventory

A feature in Civic Platform that enables agencies to track and manage their supply of mechanical parts used for municipal facilities maintenance and asset management.

PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Accela meets the latest PCI Compliance standards.

See https://www.pcicomplianceguide.org/pci-faqs-2/ for more information.

Permit

Basic Form or Record Type used in Land Management. See Record .

Permitting and Inspection Module

The permitting and inspection component of Accela’s Land Management Solution . Enables agency staff to access data, verify activities, check permit status, and obtain complete parcel information from Civic Platform’s centralized, SDE-enabled database (see Spatial Database Engine ). Enables public users to complete applications and make payments online; enables agency users to manage the processing flow, data collection, fee collection, and inspections for plan review and building code compliance. Inspectors can interact with complete case information, access their daily inspection schedules, create new cases in the field, and submit inspection results remotely. Accela’s GIS integration enables inspectors to prioritize their work schedule for maximum efficiency.

‘PERMITS’ Plus

A permitting system, integrated with Civic Platform, that encompasses several interconnected modules to manage information and streamline processes for city, county, and local governments.

Planning and Zoning Module

The planning and zoning component of Accela’s Land Management Solution . Provides agencies with a comprehensive solution for electronic plan submittal, review, public notification, and approval of land use exceptions. Enables agencies to manage designated land use based on current zoning regulations; track zone changes, variances, and easements; and assign documents to multiple departments for parallel review, enabling plans to move quickly to certificate of occupancy.

Point of Sale

An integrated system for conducting financial transactions; the point at which a customer (citizen or public user) makes a payment to a merchant (agency) in exchange for goods or services.

Policy

A security rule that controls accessibility or restriction to a feature or capability in Civic Platform.

Portlet

A section within Civic Platform dedicated to displaying information or performing tasks specific to an agency’s objectives. Portlets divide modules into smaller functional areas. Portlets also act as containers, or frames, for certain operations, files, or links.

POS

See Point of Sale.

Preferred Language

The language that you select when logging in to Civic Platform. All data elements that support multiple languages display in the preferred language.

Preventative Maintenance Schedule

A schedule of tasks that an agency user must perform on specific assets to keep them in good working condition. Administrators specify preventative maintenance schedules in time and usage intervals.

Primary Address

The principal address for an application or license. Sometimes referred to as the project address, street address, or site address.

Project

A group of related permits and other applications for a large-scale development effort. Each project has a unique name and a project number.

Public Health and Safety Solution

An Accela solution offering that enables agencies to manage and promote their community’s health and safety; assist in the prevention of disease and injury; protect food, air, and water; and ensure that safety equipment complies with maintenance guidelines.

Public Users

Anyone who uses the public facing portion of Citizen Access, Accela IVR, or other Accela add-on products. Public users include Anonymous Users and Registered Users who either navigate the agency’s Citizen Access website or who use the Accela IVR phone and follow the call flow. System administrators can control which functions are available for both types of public users.

R

Rating Formula

A formula used to calculate the condition of an asset.

Record

A broad range of forms that users create and manage within Civic Platform, including applications, cases, licenses, permits, service requests, and work orders. Records provide a means of collecting the data that Civic Platform stores in its back-end database, enabling users to access the data and process it to achieve their agency’s objectives. This is sometimes referred to inside the Accela Civic Platform as a "CAP" (Case, Application, Permit).

Reference Data

Administrator-defined information, such as parcel details, licensed professionals, and drop-down lists, that users can interact with and copy into a Record. For example, an administrator creates a parcel record, with information on the location and size of the parcel. This information is reference data. When a user creates an application to build a house on the parcel, the information contained in the parcel record is re-usable within the application. The copy of the reference data is transaction data, and it is independent of the reference data. See Transaction Data.

Reference Database

A library of reference data that allows users to search for certain types of stored information. A typical database might be address/parcel/owner information that resides in the assessor’s database. Users can search the reference database from within Civic Platform. An administrator must set up this functionality.

Registered Users

Public users with a registered Citizen Access account. System administrators can control which functions are available to both Registered Users and Anonymous Users.

Report Manager

A reporting tool in Civic Platform that integrates with major reporting engines such as Accela Report Writer, Crystal Reports, Microsoft SQL Report Server, and Oracle Reports.

RESTful API

A RESTful API is an application program interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data.

A RESTful API also referred to as a RESTful web service is based on representational state transfer (REST) technology, an architectural style and approach to communications often used in web services development.

REST technology is generally preferred to the more robust Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology because REST leverages less bandwidth, making it more suitable for internet usage. An API for a website is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each another. The API spells out the proper way for a developer to write a program requesting services from an operating system or other application.

Route Sheets

A feature in Civic Platform that enables inspectors to map their route for maximum efficiency by minimizing the time and distance they travel to complete inspections. For example, inspectors can minimize travel distance using the Optimize by Distance option, and can minimize travel time using the Optimize by Time option.

S

Script Controls

Controls that govern how Civic Platform performs before and after Event activities. Administrators configure script controls via standard choices and custom EMSE scripts. Script controls send parameters to master script functions within a framework of conditional (if-then-else) expressions. A single standard choice can contain multiple script controls. The master script evaluates the script controls in the order that the standard choice numbering specifies.

Sequence Definition

The basic elements that comprise an auto-numbering sequence; a schema or pattern for numbering records such as applications, invoices, and receipts in Civic Platform. Civic Platform divides all sequence definitions into three components: sequence definition, sequence interval, and mask definition.

Sequence Interval

In Civic Platform, the portion of a numbering sequence that defines the last number used, the next number to use, and its incremental value.

SERV_PROV_CODE

Service provider code. The agency name alias Civic Platform uses to differentiate agencies. The service provider code is a required field (Agency) on the Civic Platform login screen.

Service Request

A request for an action or service that a particular department within an agency performs, if appropriate. The request can come from a citizen or from another department within the agency.

Service Request Module

A Civic Platform module that handles requests, made by public users or agency users, for an agency to perform a task or service.

Set Processing

A function that enables agencies to organize multiple records (for example, permit applications or service requests) into groups (sets) that users can use for batch processing. You can use sets to simultaneously update the workflow for several permit applications or several service requests at a time.

SmartChart

A graphical representation of data that enables the filtering and review of specific items such as new permits this quarter, or the number of permits on hold this month in comparison to each of the previous six months.

Solutions

A group of modules and add-on products that work together to enable Accela customers to achieve specific objectives. An Accela add-on is an additional product that enhances the functionality of Civic Platform modules. Accela solutions include Asset Management, Land Management, Licensing and Case Management, and Public Health and Safety.

Spatial Database Engine

A repository for massive amounts of geographic data and its associated attribute information. Accela’s use of SDE is specific to Accela Civic Platform GIS.

SPEAR Form

Single-Point of Entry and Review form. Now referred to as an Application Intake Form.

SSO

Single sign-on (SSO) is a session/user authentication process that permits a user to enter one name and password to access multiple applications.

Standard Choice

Configurations an Accela administrator sets up for feature functionality, such as options available in drop-down lists, default field values, and other feature-specific functionality.

Standard Comments

Relevant, pre-written text users can select to populate in the Comments field of a record when completing applications, inspections, workflows, and guidesheets; streamlines the form completion process and improves data consistency.

Standard Reports

Out-of-the-box reports, available in all modules, that users can run to extract data from the Civic Platform database for analysis purposes. Accela developed these reports using state-of-the-art reporting tools such as Crystal Reports and Microsoft SQL Report Server. See Report Manager.

Status

A phase or milestone in a permit or an inspection process. A status can indicate a phase of a process, such as “Pending,” or it can indicate another application state, such as “Accepted” or “Failed.”

Structure

A building or a an establishment tracked and maintained in Civic Platform. Structure records can have address, parcel, and owner information associated to them. Structures can also have establishment records attached to them. See establishment.

Super Agency

The primary agency in a multiple agency implementation. A single deployment of Civic Platform supports one super agency and multiple agencies. The Civic Platform installer creates the super agency and one user account with super administrator privileges. The super administrator creates additional agencies as required to satisfy business requirements. Super administrators can set up each agency as completely independent entities, or enable agencies to share information. All agencies and the super agency share a common database provided through the Civic Platform deployment.

Supervisor

An administrator role in the application. This role is often responsible for configuring options in Civic Platform’s Time Accounting Tracker.

T

Tidemark

A permitting system that Accela supports and integrates into its permitting and inspection module.

Time Accounting Tracker

A feature in Civic Platform that enables agency users to record the hours they spend working on specific projects. Administrators set up cost and billing rates, and users enter the hours spent and materials used in the service of a particular activity, such as an inspection or asset maintenance. Once reported, this data is useful for multiple purposes, such as calculating the monthly working hours of employees, seeing who's overloaded and who's under-utilized, or calculating the total effort invested on certain project.

Transaction Data

Information that Civic Platform collects and stores on record type instances during their lifecycle, from creation to destruction. Contrast with configuration data. See Data : Daily.

Trust Account

An account in which an agency (acting as an authorized agent) holds funds for specific purposes, such as the payment of property taxes and/or insurance premiums associated with a property or a developer deposit that can be used as a drawdown account toward future charges.

U

User Portal

A secure location on Accela's website (https://user.accela.com) that provides tools and resources for Civic Platform users.

User Interface

Depending on your role in the organization you may use one or more of the back-office interfaces.
  • Classic: This is interface is used by system administrators only and is slowly being phased out.
  • v360: This interface was developed as a replacement for the Classic interface approx. 10 years ago.
  • New UI / 8.0 UI: With the release of Civic Platform 8.0 a new interface has been released that will eventually replace v360. This new UI is the Accela preferred standard going forward.

V

V360

See Vantage360®.

Valuation

The monetary equivalent for a certain item, building, or a certain type of work. The value for a certain project is the total job value, which Civic Platform calculates using a single valuation or a group of valuations. Civic Platform conducts the valuation of a piece of work by multiplying a quantity such as linear feet of pipe by a unit cost such as $25 per linear feet.

Valuation Calculator

Civic Platform includes an automatic valuation calculator for job values. This value is unique for each application. Civic Platform calculates total valuation based on user entry and pre-defined unit cost. The job value for an individual application is the sum of all valuations for that application.

Vantage360®

A Civic Platform user interface primarily for administration. Built on the Accela Vantage360 architecture, which integrates information resources and enables users to access this information from the vantage that best serves their way of interacting with agency data. The Vantage360 interface can be personalized from a list of portlets, or business functions, and displays only the information used on a daily basis. Civic Platform enables easy configuration of application types, business processes, fees, and reports to match agency best practices.

VelocityHall

VelocityHall is now referred to as Citizen Access. A customizable web-based application that works with Civic Platform to provide citizens with online access to government services and information.

Voxeo

A third party integration with Accela IVR; provides high performance interactive voice response functionality for inbound and outbound customer self-service.

W

Web Services

Civic Platform uses web services primarily as a means for businesses to communicate with each other and with clients. Web services allow organizations to communicate data without intimate knowledge of each other's IT systems behind their firewalls. Web services also allow different applications from different sources to communicate with each other without time-consuming custom coding, and because all communication is in XML, web services are operating system-agnostic. Accela is beginning to use web services more to exchange information from the back-end database to the add-on products and to third-party vendors.

Work Order

Basic form used in Accela Asset Management. See Record.

Workflow

A set of tasks an agency defines and follows to process an application. Workflows can function as a checklist when a building permit is submitted or to track the major milestones during the processing of a record.

X

XAPO

External Address, Parcel, and Owner data - "eXternal APO". Accela Automation can retrieve address, parcel, owner (APO) data from an internal or external database. By default, Accela Automation uses APO data from a database internal to the Accela Automation deployment. When you configure Accela Automation to use external APO data, the external APO database provides all the real-time APO data displayed in the Accela Automation UI. See Address/Parcel/Owner.