The Active Network (the developers of the Class Park and Rec Software) has a free eMarketing web site available to all LOGIS Class users. This site provides all sorts of resources to help promote your department’s courses, facilities, memberships, and services. Resources include case studies, website design tips, email campaign tips, graphic templates for publishing, marketing tactics, and webinars. (A “webinar” is a seminar that takes place over the Internet, through use of a browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.) A blog (similar to this one) is also available through the site. The blog is called “Strategies for Online Success” (SOS).
To access the eMarketing site, you will need a user name (your email address) and a password. You can either sign up yourself, or you can request that Paul Norton—LOGIS’ Class Support Analyst—get these items for you. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to sign up yourself, go to the following web site and click on the “Register Here” link at the bottom of the page: http://emarketing.activenetwork.com/login.htm. When you first enter the site, you will be asked to select the type of your organization. “Communities” is probably the best choice for LOGIS members.
LOGIS is in the process of upgrading the Advanced Utility Systems CIS Infinity software to Version 3. This is the current version of the software and it offers many functional improvements. The local system tables and free tables have been moved to the backend, which impacts the flow, functionality and performance of procedures and other processes. Below are a few of the enhancements Version 3 has brought to CIS Infinity:
Enhanced security features that protect data, fields and the system integrity.
More flexibility with processing data and using fields, menus, navigation bars and table profiles.
Faster and more accurate searching.
System-wide tracking of control table changes.
Enhanced system maintenance routine.
Enhanced menu features.
Grid settings can be customized per user by saving, restoring or clearing settings.
Crystal Reports upgraded to XI format.
In preparation of the CIS Infinity Version 3 upgrade project, 3 LOGIS representatives visited Advanced Utility Systems’ offices in Toronto, Canada to receive training on bill print, notice print, and control table configuration in Version 3. With this additional training, LOGIS staff has increased their knowledge and can effectively reduce the upgrade project time-line to 3 months. This aggressive schedule consists of 6 weeks of Soft Parallel testing, 4 – 6 weeks of Hard Parallel testing, and go-live.
Of all Utility Billing member cities, 4 were live on Version 3 as of January 11, 2010. Four more members will go live by the end of June, 2010. All of the remaining members will complete the upgrade to Version 3 by the end of June 2011.
In April, the Network Services Group added Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN to our network VPN concentrators and performed the installation and testing of our first SSL VPN. AnyConnect allows our members persistent client-based SSL/IPSEC or client-less SSL based VPN connectivity into the LOGIS network and supports a wide range of VPN clients from Windows 7/64 bit to the Apple IPhone, while enhancing our ability to enforce corporate security policies.
AnyConnect is now staged and supported at LOGIS to enhance our and our member VPN capabilities in accessing the LOGIS applications and systems. Members wishing to utilize AnyConnect VPN can contact the Network Services Help Desk.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.