Seeking End-to-End Integration, Granicus Acquires Government Website Builder Vision Internet



Government websites are not like other websites. With the exception of a very small group, most people who visit a city’s website do so for a very specific purpose. So how does a city create a website to serve these specific purposes?

This is the central issue behind Granicus’ acquisition of website creation company Vision Internet in a deal announced on February 14.

The move integrates visionLive, a cloud-based content management (CMS) solution designed for the public sector, into a growing suite of features under the umbrella of Granicus. The company already offered federal, state and local governments the ability to send messages to voters through multiple channels, live stream meetings and manage agendas, manage record keeping tasks, and more.

Acquiring Vision effectively creates a path for these elements to connect to each other through websites. Mark Hynes, CEO of Granicus, specifically pointed out the company’s existing database of more than 150 million users subscribed to customer messaging channels. From this database, Granicus already knows the interests of its end users.

“When websites are published, we have the ability to reach them and tell them what interests them,” Hynes said.

There is a lot of overlap between the customer bases of the two companies. Granicus has around 3,000 customers while Vision has around 800; some 300 already use both.

“The type of customers we target and serve are very similar,” he said.

Vision does more than just a CMS – the company provides primary and backup hosting, designs desktop and mobile versions of the website front-ends, works in cybersecurity measures, and offers digital service integration. It also does a lot of user experience work.

When building websites, Vision enjoys collecting feedback from government stakeholders, asking citizens what they want, and collecting data on how people use the current website. A user experience team gathers all of this information and gives recommendations to guide the design process.

This ties in with Vision’s thesis that the bulk of visitors to the government website are there for a specific purpose, according to company CEO David Nachman. It also helps to avoid bringing too many cooks into the kitchen.

“If you find yourself in a position where you don’t have good data, you often end up with a website made up of a series of compromises,” Nachman said.

The company also has a customer working group where it brings customers together to discuss the features it wants to add to its platform, gather feedback, prototype quickly, test users, and then iteratively improve new features. before deploying them.

The move is the latest in a series of big deals for Granicus since late 2016. It was at this point that Vista Equity Partners acquired Granicus and GovDelivery and quickly merged them. Shortly thereafter, Granicus recruited Hynes as CEO, then acquired legislation management firm Novusolutions.

There are almost certainly more deals on the horizon for Granicus as Vista seeks to increase the value of the business and ultimately pull out of the investment. For Hynes, he said the company remains on a path of end-to-end civic engagement as state and local governments increasingly look to the cloud.

“We see this trend picking up steam and we want to be the primary supplier that delivers on this digital promise,” Hynes said.

None of the parties involved have announced the price of the deal.

Ben miller

Ben Miller is the Associate Data and Business Editor for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features, and technical topics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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