This year’s budget allocated considerable capital dollars to upgrading the City’s information technology systems. What does this mean? The City is upgrading “dinosaur” hardware and implementing new software programs so it can perform its administrative services better and more efficiently. Currently, many of the programs the City uses are outdated. To fill in the gaps, stand-alone spreadsheets are used to supplement the deficiencies. This does not allow for a fully integrated system, making it very difficult to retrieve data.
The first step in this process will happen in January, when the City plans to switch from its current HTE financial software package to MUNIS. This is a huge undertaking. In order to implement this changeover, we must analyze how we currently do business, identify our processes and policies, and determine who does what, when and where. This knowledge is important as we begin setting up all of the behind the scenes information that makes the system work as efficiently and effectively as possible. The success of this new software depends upon the initial setup. To date, considerable time has been spent on the payroll process. Employees have now begun the setup process for requisitions and purchase orders, budget, general billing and cashiering.
Once the new software is launched, the City will be able to begin implementing and updating other applications, such as its utility billing software. The City also plans to abandon its cumbersome stand-alone Lotus notes calendar and e-mail application and change to a more widely compatible Microsoft Outlook.
The City has undertaken a full information technology assessment and is working toward upgrading all of its systems over the next three or so years as budget permits. This is an exciting and perhaps a bit intimidating time for employees as they work together to implement these changes. In the end, the City will see the benefit of these new systems through increased efficiency and better administration of its business operations.
These improvements probably aren’t as tangible to you as a resident. However, as the customer that the City serves, it is my hope that you won’t notice a thing--except for faster, more efficient government services.
Visit Roger at http://www.bcnv.org/CityCouncil/Tobler.asp.