City & County of Denver

Results

  • Projected five year savings estimated at $1.5 million
  • Improved citizen engagement
  • Shortened the city’s contract approval time
  • Replaced Denver’s contract records system with Alfresco
  • Automated and simplified multiple business process
  • Improved auditing of city contracts and financial documents
  • Developed reusable Web services
  • Flexible workflow process to manage document approvals

Challenge

The City and County of Denver has a population of over 600,000 people and is the 21st largest city in the United States, employing more than 10,000 people with an operating budget of $1 billion. Like many cities, Denver’s information technology functions were previously federated within the 70+ separate agencies, with 14 separate document management systems —none of which interfaced with each other.

In 2005, the mayor created a centralized IT group called Technology Services to provide a unified technology strategy for the city while helping to managing IT costs. The group quickly realized that it needed to consolidate on one document management system that could serve as the backbone for many document-centric business processes and applications. First and foremost, the Technology Services Group had to address Denver’s contract records system which stored all city contracts and associated financial records. This system was outdated, hard to search, lacked sufficient security and needed to be rebooted every night.

With the city facing a number of fiscal pressures, technology investments needed to be strategic, cost effective, easy to integrate with PeopleSoft and Oracle Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), robust, scalable, based on open standards and quick to implement. The city selected Alfresco Enterprise Content Management.

Solution

In 2009, Denver turned to a local technology firm and Alfresco Platinum Partner, Zia Consulting, to help implement and support a new consolidated content management strategy. Together they designed a multi-phased approach to implement Alfresco and automate business processes without any disruption in city services.

Over a 15 month period, two Zia consultants partnered with the Technology Services Group to implement Alfresco and integrate it with PeopleSoft and other key applications using Oracle ESB. The consultants worked for periods of six to 12 weeks on implementing specific projects, configuring the systems, designing workflows and user interfaces, writing new web services as well as testing the new applications for roll out and performing migrations. This approach has allowed the city’s IT services team to roll out new services to employees on a regular basis, increase user adoption and incorporate user feedback.

Phase one consisted replacing Denver’s outdated contract records system with an Alfresco application for storing and managing approved contracts. Key to the application’s success was its integration with PeopleSoft, which has allowed city employees to search and view contracts directly from PeopleSoft and see attached content metadata.

Next, using the CMIS content management standard, Denver easily wrote a web service to communicate and move documents between Alfresco and PeopleSoft Financials. Within weeks, the city rolled out a new integrated procurement process that included an Alfresco content repository for storing, tracking and managing all retention policies on financial documents.

To improve citizen engagement, Zia made the Denver 311 service, which allows citizen’s to easily report non-emergency items such potholes, dogs barking or graffiti, available online and through iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. Reusing the Web services already created, Zia integrated Alfresco with the city’s call center and CRM technology and created a metadata form that can be filled out online or through an iPhone/iPad application.

Receiving positive feedback on the new Contract Records System, the city wanted to fully automate the process for requesting, writing and approving contracts. To do this, Denver augmented Zia’s Fresh Process product, creating a ‘boot strap’ workflow structure in Alfresco that integrates directly with PeopleSoft. Understanding that workflows can change quickly or vary from contract to contract, Zia has designed the contracting workflow to be flexible without creating a burden on the Technology Services Group and budget. Zia built digital signatures into the application using Alfresco’s single sign on to ensure that each step of the process had the appropriate approvals.

Conclusion

  • Denver saw immediate cost benefits from using Alfresco which allowed them to automate and streamline key business processes
  • The online and mobile 311 application improved citizen engagement and non-urgent matters are resolved more quickly
  • City contracts are moving quickly through the process and are not delayed
  • Saved employees’ time by providing one unified system that is secure and adheres to audit requirements

What’s Next

Denver plans to continue automating other business processes using the Alfresco, PeopleSoft and Oracle ESB infrastructure. Leveraging the technology used for the 311 application, Zia plans to extend the city’s licensing, inspection and permitting process online and to mobile devices for both citizens and city employees. In addition, Zia is helping Denver further consolidate its content management systems by migrating Documentum content to Alfresco.

The city estimates that this will save them $1.5 million over 5 years by consolidating on one content management system and eliminating multiple licensing and maintenance costs. Other projects on the horizon include Human Services Case Management which will include integrating with Ephesoft scanning and faxing technology.