Announcing NEOGOV !! LOGIS has entered into a Cooperative Purchasing Agreement to provide discounted pricing on NEOGOV service to our members. NEOGOV is a Software as a Service provider of specialty programs for government sector clients. You may have noticed the “Powered by NEOGOV” posted prominently on the League of Minnesota Cities Web site.
NEOGOV provides on-line access to its proprietary human resource management software and solutions including employee recruitment, applicant tracking and a reporting system called ‘Insight’. For more information on the NEOGOV Cooperative Purchasing Agreement for LOGIS members, please contact Daryl Sulander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LOGIS GIS staff has been busy preparing for the transition from ArcGIS v9.x to ArcGIS 10. We became a beta test site for v10 in 2009 in preparation for this major release and are currently testing the ArcGIS 10 pre-release.
ArcGIS 10 is ESRI’s first offering of its complete software suite that is fully Windows 7 certified. From a user perspective there are some major changes to the interface of ArcGIS desktop (ArcView and ArcInfo) and features that will make using ArcView easier and more efficient. Overall performance is improved; editing is more streamlined; search functions eliminate much of the hunt/peck of previous versions.
Derek Lorbiecki, our GIS Specialist, offered “What’s New” training sessions for ArcGIS 10 during April, instructing a total of 75 ArcGIS end-users from our cities. This is the highest attendance we’ve ever had for GIS training sessions at LOGIS. We now wait anxiously for the full release from ESRI!
ArcGIS 10 is expected to ship in June. When we get closer to the release date we will begin to schedule software upgrade assistance with those cities wishing to have LOGIS GIS staff assist with the upgrade, license distribution, and additional on-site instruction.
Decision making, statistical analysis and informational reporting in the public safety arena are helped significantly by easy to read reports available to users of the LOGIS CAD, Mobiles and Records systems. The users of these systems have two choices when creating reports, they can learn to create their own or have the LOGIS staff do the work. Reports are available to be run as needed but many are scheduled to run automatically and send results in PDF format to a wide range of public safety staff. Over 550 different CAD and Records reports are automatically scheduled to run without any intervention and are “filtered” by agency, incident type, address, beat, time period and many other criteria. Report output can also be in the form of a “CSV” file (comma separated values) for further analysis in Microsoft Excel. Security applies to report access just as it does for access to the CAD, Mobiles and Records components.
Examples of the reports include: all dispatch activity to a specified address or group of addresses, dispatch activity for certain call types for officer briefing reports, stolen vehicles, news releases, arrests, citations, year-to-date counts and fire calls. If you are interested in more information on this topic or how your agency can get a report contact Rich Sonenblum at email@example.com.
I commented at the last LOGIS Board of Director’s meeting that we’ve seen a significant benefit from the replacement of our aging servers with new blade server technology. Here are some of the details of that effort.
In late 2009 and early 2010, as part of a routine server replacement project, Network Services replaced two-thirds of the LOGIS server farm with blade server technology. Blade servers provide many advantages, including floor space savings and reduced cooling costs. From a management perspective they offer better standardization, fault tolerance, flexibility and performance.
From a dollars and cents perspective, the new LOGIS blade servers have already proven their worth in reduced energy costs. A comparison of the November 2008 and November 2009 energy bills showed a cost reduction of nearly 25%. Network Services reports that server energy usage has been reduced by 37% since the blade servers were installed.
LOGIS has recently released software upgrades to the Permits and Inspection Management System (PIMS) software. This release contains many enhancements requested by our user community and is in addition to the many enhancements that were released in January. The PIMS software is an in-house developed application designed to assist LOGIS members in issuing permits, tracking inspections and appointments, entering inspection results, and offers a wide array of reporting. The software also includes a Business License function, Code Enforcement, RPZ tracking, and ePermits. There are 21 members currently using the PIMS Software and its many capabilities.
The web-based functionality of ePermits allows homeowners and contractors the convenience to obtain a permit using the internet which significantly reduces the number of trips made to City Halls. The permits offered via this software are those that do not require a plan review or approval process and for ease of use, an applicant can access the ePermits site directly from a member’s website.
There are currently 12 members utilizing the ePermits functionality and since April, 2003 over 50,000 ePermits have been acquired via the website creating substantial member staff time savings. For more information, please contact LOGIS at 763-543-2600.
In March of 2010, the LOGIS assessing cities (Brooklyn Center, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, and St. Louis Park) successfully sent over 108,000 value notices to property owners.
Value notice mailings are a great example of the LOGIS consortium advantage. In this case, shared printing and production costs resulted in significant savings for all of the cities involved. With the help of a local direct mail service we were able to do the entire mailing at greatly reduced cost, including postage as low as 33 ½ cents per piece, based on bulk mailing rates. In the past we have found that the savings in postage alone pays for the cost of using the direct mail service.
This year one city was able to take advantage of the USPS Full Service Intelligent Mail Option (a new barcode system). Next year more cities will qualify for this service, resulting in even better savings.
It seems fitting that we begin this platform of communication at the same time that the LOGIS staff begins using the Motorola Premier One Suite. Hopefully this will provide another avenue to update members on the progress. It was just over a year and a half ago that we realized we needed to make a move from the Printrak system, and now the day has finally come where the hardware has been installed and within a few days (and probably by the time you read this) the Records, CAD and Mobile applications will be installed at LOGIS.
The installation of this version is the version prior to what will be installed at agencies but it will give the LOGIS staff a chance to “kick the tires” and get a feel for how to configure the system. In the coming weeks LOGIS staff will receive training on configuration of the applications and how the applications themselves are designed and work. Motorola expects to do demonstrations of each application coming up in late April or mid May. We will make an effort to record the demonstrations for those that aren’t able to make the allotted time. The public safety groups will receive an email when the plans are finalized.
The City of Woodbury joined the LOGIS consortium in 2009 for a solution to meet their Utility Billing software needs. After a six month implementation, Woodbury achieved a very successful go-live with CIS Infinity on January 11, 2010. They experienced only one conversion issue which was quickly addressed by Advanced Utility Systems. They went on to apply penalties to a residential and commercial cycle, and bill approximately 90 final bills and three cycles of over 6000 accounts just six days after going live. In addition, Woodbury has implemented functionality including automatic write-off of refunds and small balances and sending an electronic bill print file to their mailing vendor to print and mail their bills.
The Utility Billing Support staff looks forward to working with Woodbury and welcomes them to future UB User Group meetings to network with our other member cities.
Business Analyst/Programmer Nancy Hilary has actively participated in the JDE Human Capital Management Special Interest Group (HCM SIG) for the last few years. This group works closely with Oracle to expedite resolution of issues in the software, as well as identify areas for enhancement. For the last six months Nancy has been the President of this group. The direct involvement in the HCM SIG is beneficial for the LOGIS consortium for advancing system enhancement requests.
Financial and Work Force Management Supervisor Dave Schleicher has recently been asked to become more active in the Public Sector SIG. Both of the SIG groups are a part of the international Oracle/JDE user community (Quest) which Oracle views as an important part of their relationship with their clients.
Exciting JDE enhancements!! Now available with the upgrade to V8.12 is the new type of application called Power Forms. This new type of application allows inquiries to be developed that can more readily retrieve data from multiple tables within JDE, and present that data in a more user friendly format. The ability to drill down to detail data is also available from summary information presented on the main screen. Filter criteria (data selection) can also be saved, making often used queries quicker and easier to use. Finally, an option exists on date fields to use “30 days from today’s date”, for example, which makes this filter criteria dynamic as a specific date does not need to be entered, thereby further enhancing the usefulness of saved queries.
On Friday April 9th, Kevin and Janelle presented the findings of the Network Services’ Management and Technology focus groups during the April IT Management meeting. These focus groups were made up from a representation of our members and were conducted over the past two months, with a goal of LOGIS gaining an understanding of the value of the services that the Network Services group provides and any enhancements or additions to these services that would be beneficial to our members.
These focus groups proved to be extremely valuable for us to gain the members’ perspective and will allow us to shape the Network Services group and the services we provide over the next few years for the benefit of our membership.