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50 Best Workplaces of the Year 2020

Zac Bookman, OpenGov Inc. Co-Founder and CEO: ‘We are Helping Governments Become More Collaborative with Technology Designed Exclusively for the Unique Budgeting, Financial Management, and Citizen Services Needs of the Public Sector’


“With a strong culture and good alignment from the top down, we keep our dream team engaged, productive, and successful.”

OpenGov Inc. is the leader in modern cloud ERP software for our nation’s cities, counties, and state agencies. On a mission to power more effective and accountable government, OpenGov serves agencies across the U.S. Built exclusively for the unique budgeting, financial management, and civic services needs of the public sector, the OpenGov ERP Cloud makes organizations more collaborative, digitizes mission-critical processes, and enables best-in-class communication with stakeholders.

More than 1,000 governments nationwide partner with OpenGov to drive more effective and accountable operations and strengthen public trust. Built exclusively for state and local government, OpenGov’s software, services, and expertise are backed by over 300 years of employee experience in the public sector.

The company was incorporated in 2012 and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA.

Zac Bookman, OpenGov Inc. Co-Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your solutions in brief.

Our ERP Cloud is the only modern cloud ERP designed to unify and automate the mission-critical processes of local governments…transforming public administration through collaborative budgeting, robust financial management, and intuitive citizen services powered by our industry-leading Reporting & Transparency Platform. We have raised more than $140 million in capital from Andreessen Horowitz and other top venture funds, and powers more than 1,000 governments across the United States.

On average, our customers experience a 50 percent reduction in budget development time, 80 percent time savings on reporting, and re-allocate up to one percent of their budgets for more strategic outcomes by eliminating their reliance on paper, spreadsheets, and outdated processes.

Our ERP Cloud is the only ERP that provides a) one modern, integrated cloud solution for your many critical processes, b) industry-leading budgeting, reporting, and transparency capabilities, c) trusted and secure technology to protect your data, operations, and reputation, and d) subject matter experts who share your passion.

In addition to this, our platform lets you manage all of your core processes with comprehensive, integrated, and purpose-built cloud suites:

Budgeting & Planning: Our platform enables maximum effectiveness for your entire budget and planning cycle, from near-term forecast adjustments to long-range capital initiatives.

Financials: We streamline Fund Accounting and GASB-compliant reporting, procure and pay, account for assets, automate payroll, and manage billing for utilities, and other services -- all without paper, Excel, errors, and pain.

Permitting, Licensing & Code Enforcement: Our platform accelerates citizen services with a user-friendly constituent services portal seamlessly integrated with configurable back-office approval workflows to process requests faster.

Reporting & Transparency: We centralize and automate reporting for all stakeholders while strengthening public trust with a unified platform for resident and board communication.

Providing reliable cloud ERP solutions needs experts in the house. How did you manage to form your dream team?

Recruiting top talent has been a priority for the company since day one. We’ve been able to attract and recruit a world-class executive leadership team with extensive experience from top tier Enterprise Software companies and GovTech companies. We work hard to identify top talent nationally and globally through our distributed work culture, which enables us to find talent without being restricted by geography. We want to hire candidates who are smart, fun, humble, real, and have passion for our mission. With a strong culture and good alignment from the top down, we keep our dream team engaged, productive, and successful.

Q. Do you think your services are ready to cater to the needs of never-ending digital transformation?

Yes. As the only full-cloud modern ERP in the GovTech market, it is the smart future-proof ERP investment to center a government’s digital transformation around. Our ERP platform provides a connected digital environment that makes modern and virtual collaboration, planning, and communications possible as well as increases the efficiency of core processes like accounting, budgeting, permitting, licensing, and code enforcement.

Q. ‘When people are having fun, they work together better and they produce better work.’ How do you interpret this saying?

Having fun is important to morale and productivity. Before the pandemic, it was typical to see a group of co-workers from all different teams like support, professional services, engineering, ops, sales, and legal teamed up to build a bar complete with on-tap cold brew coffee, kombucha, and beer. Also, it was typical to see ping pong competitions, happy hours to build team camaraderie, baby shower celebrations, and much more. Now that we’re in a virtual world, we still want to foster fun with trivia time, virtual happy hours, competitions, and whatnot. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years and a lot of that has a direct correlation with the fun we’re having while knowing the work we do every day is meaningful. At that same time, we have seen a consistent trend with our employee engagement results increasing, and surpassing industry benchmarks, and we take pride in that.

We foster a culture where we encourage employees to be comfortable being themselves. Our employees feel safe and able to do their best work, all while having fun. There’s a common bond where our employees all have a passion for the mission. We know the work we do is important each time a new government signs up with us. Employees enjoy seeing their hometown sign up as OpenGov customers because we know we’re helping that community be more effective and accountable.

Q. Growing the company based on employees’ passions must be a priority. Do you ask your employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career unfold?

Career development and growth is something we care deeply about at OpenGov, and we provide training to all levels of employees, from new hires to ICs to managers and leaders. We train and partner closely with our managers on giving feedback and providing career development opportunities to their teams. Employees partner with leaders on setting formal development plans and goals twice a year and we have a variety of resources in place to promote learning and development across the company. Employees who are interested in lateral career transitions are encouraged to explore different roles and opportunities within OpenGov to keep them engaged in learning and developing new skills.

Q. What does the future hold for OpenGov Inc and its employees? Are exciting things on the way?

With our entrance into the ERP market as the only Cloud ERP designed exclusively for the needs of government, we are now in a much larger and more mission-critical market that has long been underserved by its ERP technology. That said, it is time for our public servants across the country to get the ERP technology that they deserve. This combination of size and need is extremely exciting for the future of OpenGov and its employees as we get to build the ERP of the future and fill a critical need for governments across the nation.

All of us at OpenGov are driven by our mission of powering more effective and accountable governments. We are building the technology to make this a reality and are so thrilled to be building a team of smart, passionate, and hard-working colleagues from all walks of life and many different professional backgrounds.

We have built the best team in the business and are building the best ERP on the market.

Zac Bookman: The Leader at the Helm of OpenGov Inc.

Zac Bookman, co-founder, serves as Chief Executive Officer of OpenGov Inc. Before co-founding OpenGov, Zac served as Advisor to U.S. Army General H.R. McMaster on the Anti-Corruption Task Force at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. He previously practiced trial litigation at Keker, Van Nest & Peters in San Francisco and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sandra S. Ikuta on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Zac studied corruption in Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow, teaches American Government at San Quentin Prison, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the YPO. He holds a JD from the Yale Law School, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, and graduated valedictorian from the University of Maryland.

“Our ERP platform provides a connected digital environment that makes modern and virtual collaboration, planning, and communications possible as well as increases the efficiency of core processes like accounting, budgeting, permitting, licensing, and code enforcement.”