Signing up for the season
Last summer, the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department launched a Web-based system to process registrations for 8,000 classes and programs at 26 community centers and 27 pools. The new system transferred those transactions from a manual system to an automated one. “Accounting is thrilled with us,” says Senior User Technology Specialist Danny Wells. “It is a lot cleaner than when the manual paperwork would come in.”
The city began investigating online options to help manage registration for its popular classes and sports programs four years ago. Parks and Recreation staff considered building and hosting their own Web-based system, but they decided instead to contract with San Diego-based The Active Network to host the site. “After going over what it would cost to bring on more IT personnel, more accounting people and a part-time staff member as well as equipment, it just wasn’t cost-efficient for us to do our own connection,” says User Technology Specialist Lani Auwen.
To set up the new system, a consultant outlined the city’s business practices, formulated risks and mitigation strategies, and reformatted its existing database. When the online option launched in April 2006, one question remained: were Phoenix residents ready to use it? City staff had heard from neighboring cities that they could expect online registrations to make up as much as half of their registration totals. “The moderate end was saying 30 percent; we were wanting 50 percent,” Auwen says. “When we hit 75 percent, we were very, very satisfied.”
The Web-based registration software synchronizes with Phoenix’s existing financial system, so all information collected online is transferred directly to the city, saving time and eliminating duplication. The Parks and Recreation Department absorbed the cost of the new system, so class registration fees did not increase for residents.
Before the online system launched, the department’s walk-up revenue total was $260,000 for the previous fall season, with all 10,000 transactions processed by staff. When the 2006 summer registration peak had passed, Internet sales accounted for $594,000, totaling more than 18,000 transactions that did not have to be touched by human hands.
Parks and Recreation
San Diego-based The Active Network
April 15, 2006