Making the connections
Project: Enterprise Collaboration Solutions
Jurisdiction: Coral Gables, Fla.
Agency: City Clerk’s Office
Vendors: Australia-based Tower Software
Date began: 2005
As Coral Gables, Fla.’s multitude of databases developed over the years, they spread across the city’s IT networks largely unconnected to each other. For example, the Police Department’s crime data was in a geographic information system, which was separate from the Building and Zoning Department’s large blueprints database and the city clerk’s recordings of city commission meetings. Adding to the mix, much of the city’s archival information was in both paper and electronic formats, making it nearly impossible to find information.
About three years ago, city leaders began working to make the information more accessible to internal users, outside agencies and residents. The city contracted with Australia-based Tower Software to set up a records management system that would capture, manage and secure all electronic and physical records. The system allows staffers to convert paper records to electronic records, stores them in a widely accessible format, and automates the city’s records retention schedule. Now, anyone can find the information online.
Once that system was nearing completion late last year, city officials already had decided to develop a dashboard to easily access information in the records retention system as well as all the databases. At the same time, the University of Miami needed a laboratory to test dashboard technology. The two organizations began working on a three-phase plan. The first phase, which is under way, is developing a dashboard for each city department using an Excel spreadsheet with hyperlinks to databases. The second phase will roll out the dashboard to city departments and the public. The third phase will incorporate the records-management software.
When all phases are complete within six months, the dashboard will be available online and through public kiosks around the city. Managers and residents will be able to track key indicators for projects and services through charts and graphs in the dashboard. For example, elected officials will be able to see basic information about building projects through the dashboard and then drill down into databases and the records management system for more details. The Building and Zoning Department will be able to identify city codes that create an undue amount of problems, and residents will be able to identify problems in their communities and point them out for improvement.