A forum of managers in local government in northern Illinois, the Leadership Roundtable, came together in early 2015 to generate a list of common problems they could solve together. As the list of project ideas grew one of them quickly floated to the top of the list. As a result, the managers prioritized a project that would enhance service by improving communication between residents and the municipality.
Next, the managers authored a charter document that outlined clear outcomes for the project, and then selected their top Thought Leaders to participate on an innovation team who would work together to achieve the desired outcome.
In 4 months’ time the team…
- used the innovation process
- wrote user stories
- issued a Request for Information (RFI)
- short-listed five vendors
- conducted interviews and demonstration
- created a presentation
- presented their recommendation to the managers of the Leadership Roundtable.
The team’s recommendation was to partner with a solution provider they found would achieve the outcomes of the charter best. The recommendation to implement a Citizen Service Request system has been accepted by 14 communities and we expect that number to keep growing. The communities are now in the process of negotiating collectively with the vendor of choice to obtain the best possible outcomes. Implementation of the solution will begin in the first quarter of 2016.
We will accomplish more together than we will on our own!
The Village of Northbrook has recently launched the MapOffice Web Access tool called Business Intelligence. Business Intelligence is a tool that allows users to filter and display live data from community or custom databases.
Three attributes of Business Intelligence, filtering, visualization, and live data, make it a very powerful tool. Business Intelligence allows users to visualize data on a map by plotting that data by address or XY coordinates. Many times, community databases or software do not have great ways to display the wealth of data they hold. Business Intelligence helps solve this problem by connecting to those databases and displaying the data on MapOffice so users can gain further incite about the data or look for trends.
When looking for trends it is sometimes necessary to manipulate how you view the data. Business Intelligence permits the user to filter the data by date and/or a field within the data. For example, Northbrook has set up a connection to a custom home foreclosure database that allows users to filter foreclosures by date and the foreclosure status. Now the user can narrow the data that is displayed to show only what they are interested in.
Finally, Business Intelligence offers live connections to the databases. This can be extremely powerful as users can view and analyze data held in the database as it is updated without having to wait for data to be uploaded to MapOffice.
The Village of Northbrook looks forward to taking advantage of this useful and powerful tool by connecting to community databases and software such as FireHouse, an ERP system, and many others to come.
The Village of Northbrook has many utility systems and features that it maintains and tracks. One such system is the fiber optic network. Fiber optic cable has been laid throughout the Northbrook to provide fast and secure internet and communication for both Village and other governmental agency buildings. While not all of the fiber network is owned and maintained by the Village it is necessary to keep track of its location to prevent damage during construction work or for repairs and maintenance. For these reasons GIS was asked to assist in entering, maintaining, and providing maps for locates. To complete this project the GIS specialists combined imported CAD data from the Village and field notes from the JULIE locator to enter the most up to date fiber location information possible. After being reviewed by Public Works staff, a custom overlay was created and added to MapOffice Web Access detailing overhead vs underground, status, and ownership of the lines. Also included are the locations of hand holes, poles, and splice points. By making this map available on the MapOffice web application, staff in the field doing JULIE locates can easily pull up the information on their field laptops for use as well as send updates and additions using the ‘Markup’ tool from the field. Additionally, maintaining this utility network in GIS provides the Northbrook IT department with a clear picture of where their important fiber optic assets are located across the Village, and can be used to help locate outages if they occur.