Often times, when people think of local government facilities, the picture that pops into their heads is far from anything futuristic. This is selling many municipalities short. With continuing advancements being made in the world of technology, city offices have not been shy about jumping on the innovative bandwagon.
No matter where municipality facilities may be located throughout the United States, they can all encounter a number of benefits by adopting technological tools. Anything from cloud-based programs to mobile applications could allow facilities - with public and private affiliations alike - to completely overhaul their operations.
Are you not exactly convinced that incorporating certain innovations into your facilities core functions could actually be worth your while? Take a look at several prime examples of cities that decided to do so, combating common concerns and reaping a bunch of benefits in the long run.
Ad Age recently highlighted several city offices that invested time and money into integrating sophisticated solutions into the way they run every aspect of their public works. Maybe two of the most impressive cases of cities converting to the cloud were seen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Jersey City, New Jersey.
Philadelphia overcomes conversion obstacle
In Philadelphia, local government officials had reached the decision to make public records - well, public. Up until now, city residents had to exert a lot of effort to be able to view documents containing city data. While some information may have been published in newspapers, other material was only available to individuals who dragged themselves down to Philly's various facilities to physically get their hands on documents.
All of that has recently changed. Philadelphia's various facilities have started using third-party, cloud-based solutions that allow people to access public data with minimal hassle. Now, information regarding city budgets, criminal records and even bus schedules can all be accessed instantly from any location. All individuals have to do is use some city-adopted apps, and they will be able to view a number of different types of data.
Even though these cloud computing programs are up and running in the City of Brotherly Love, that is not to say that local officials have not faced some hurdles. Mainly, government facilities had to find ways to tackle sorting and digitizing all of their old archives.
Despite the challenges presented by having to computerize decades worth of city documents, this move will ultimately benefit Philadelphia facilities and residents now and in the future. With outdated legacy systems out of the way, cities won't have to worry about losing important documents because everything will be stored on a centralized, computerized location.
Tech tools increase Jersey City transparency
Like Philadelphia, Jersey City has also implemented innovative tools to store their data and make it readily available. This municipality has recognized that is has had problems communicating information between its 17 departments. Officials believe that this has led to inefficiency and even corruption.
To confront these issues, the local government decided to increase transparency by developing its own applications. At the moment, facilities are still in the planning stages, putting together spreadsheets so that it can computerize all of its data on one platform. Once it is done, branches of the government can have immediate access to information that was previously housed in specific facilities. This will allow everyone to know exactly what other officials are up to.
Additionally, residents will be able to partake in this initiative. Jersey City is coming up with an app that will enable members of the public to request public service requests and point out problem areas throughout the municipality.
FacilityDude improves municipality communication
If this resident participation seems like an appealing option for and your city facilities, then you may want to look into FacilityDude's MaintenanceEdge program. With this program, not only will your municipality residents be able submit a request with public works, but they can also view the progress of that work order.
For example, just see the wonders that MaintenanceEdge worked for the city of Revere, Massachusetts. To increase communication and transparency between the municipality and citizens, Revere officials decided that FacilityDude was their best bet.
Mayor Daniel Rizzo explained, "Now, we have a better dialogue with our citizens and they have a way to hold us accountable for work requests. Automatic updates from the system let requestors and employees know exactly what is going on with issues. The increased transparency with MaintenanceEdge has helped us close the communication loop and improve the customer service we offer the community."
Thanks to improved communication, the city is now able to make sure that their performance is up to snuff. Revere public works can now have ready feedback about how well residents feel they are doing in terms of maintenance, and individuals can point out issues that it still needs to address.
"It's brought to light a lot of issues that we didn't know about before," Rizzo affirmed.