City’s analytics dashboard makes performance management public (and manageable)

Dashboard makes city's performance management public (and manageable)

A new performance management application built for Fayetteville, N.C., lets the city track its goals and spending and display the data on a public-facing interface.

TRACStat captures key performance indicators (KPIs) from departments across the city and combines them with budget and financial data to provide a high-level snapshot of how Fayetteville is meeting strategic goals, according to city officials. 

In 2014, the city’s performance management system provided data semi-annually on Excel spreadsheets, according to Rebecca Rogers Carter, who directs the city’s Strategy and Performance Analytics Office. A change was clearly in order.

“We have data analytics teams, a very robust strategic framework and goals for the city, but one of the things we lacked…was the ability to really track key performance measures and the ability to move them through a workflow, so that the data integrity was there,” Rogers Carter told GCN. After conducting a number of and surveys with residents, the city council also found that the public wanted to be able to explore the city’s performance metrics. 

The city’s KPIs are varied. They measure, for example, the tons of household solid waste collected, the load factor of flights out of Fayetteville Regional Airport, the percent of work orders closed in one month and the percentage of resident satisfaction with the overall quality of city services.

The city uses its strategic goals and the KPIs to determine “targets for action,” or priorities for the next fiscal year. TRACStat allows the city to track those projects and report them to the city manager’s office and to citizens. The tool combines program-based budgeting with performance management data -- including the metadata behind KPIs -- to show how those indicators contribute to strategic goals, McConaty said.

Fayetteville’s solution was built on a software platform supplied by BOARD International, a business intelligence solutions company.  Fayetteville worked with integrator Neubrain to adapt the tool to the city’s functional requirements with applications customized to meet the city’s needs. TRACStat was rolled out in stages for the city to approve before it went live.

“What we wound up with was two distinctive environments,” Rogers Carter told GCN. One was the internal environment capturing the data and providing a workflow for performance, budget and project data reporting. The other was an external environment, or the public-facing and interactive scorecard.

The workflow in TRACStat begins with an assigned researcher in each department who is tasked with initial data collection, verification and entry. Once the researcher submits the data, an assigned director is notified for approval. This process of entry, review and approval continues until all KPIs have been reviewed and approved by members of the City Manager’s Office, Chris McMillan, a senior corporate performance analyst for the city,  explained to GCN.

Besides the data uploaded by each department’s authorized users, data is also captured through workflow modules, according to Yana McConaty, a partner at Neubrain, the project’s integrator.

The city’s Data Analytics Team then conducts a data integrity audit to ensure data quality and maintain a uniform approach to data reporting, Rogers Carter said. Those reports are then used for after-action reviews.

Performance is displayed on the TRACStat website, where citizens can drill down into the city’s data based on budget areas. Programs citywide are represented, including police and fire, permitting and inspections, economic and business development, parks and recreation, and transit and airport.

“TRACStat allows for long range planning at the organizational level with alignment to departmental operations and performance expectations,” Rogers Carter said.  “Commitment to strategic planning and performance management, plus open access to the public to that data, strengthens the City of Fayetteville, ensuring excellent services and a high quality of life for residents.”

TRACStat is managed on-premise on the city’s server, and the city is looking to upgrade and integrate its enterprise resource planning system with TRACStat in the future. For now, the city is focused on data governance and improving operations with data.

Fayetteville went live with TRACStat on Nov. 14, and since its release, internal users have enjoyed its ease-of-use and relief from spreadsheets, Rogers Carter said. For the city, it is not just a tool, he said.  “It really does drive a methodology and process for performance management.”

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.


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