Texas city updates reporting system

The city of Richardson, Texas has updated its reporting technology to better support its revitalization efforts.

All departments, including the police, finance and human resources departments, are using new business intelligence software, called WebFocus. WebFocus runs on all major hardware platforms, such as Windows, Linux, UNIX, System (AS/400) and System z (mainframe including MVS, z/Linux and OS/390).

The software provides strategic, analytic and operational business intelligence to optimize business performance. The solution includes key performance indicators reporting and analysis with Web-based information access. WebFocus utilizes data from all connected data sources — from data marts to operational legacy systems — allowing users to create, customize and share reports from enterprise data, and includes dashboards and scorecards, event management and a customizable portal interface for users to manage their information.

Some departments, such as Neighborhood Services, have created external reports for the general public; the agency maintains a running history of citations for citizens to view.

The fire stations are using reports to track the operational status of fire hydrants. Police chiefs take advantage of the system by delivering relevant crime data to their BlackBerrys. And both police and fire chiefs can also track active 911 calls with their mobile devices, discovering the status of active patrol cars, fire trucks and ambulances. The new system integrates reporting with GIS mapping from ESRI GIS software, creating visualization capabilities.

In total, more than 500 city workers use WebFocus from New York-based Information Builders to run between 150 and 200 reports.

"While Richardson works toward revitalization, there is an increased need for timely, accurate information to help make real-time decisions regarding city resources,” said Eric Matthews, deputy chief information officer for Richardson. "With WebFocus, we put the right tools in place to improve citywide communication and are reaching many of the city council's goals for neighborhood improvements.”

The software is saving the city both time and money, said Matthews.

The new reporting system is part of a broader project to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, information systems and civic projects. Richardson has a population of about 100,000 citizens and spent less than $70,000 for this solution.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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