In 2007, frustrated with reliability issues and concerned about operational costs, the City of Wilmington Department of Public Works (DPW) set out to find a better way to maintain and distribute accurate data related to their infrastructure assets.
The city’s hard-copy record-keeping system was labor intensive and did nothing to support records management or promote the sharing of information throughout the department. The city looked to Azteca Systems’ business partner, CH2M HILL, to develop a GIS program to manage and maintain the city’s asset inventory, as well as implement Cityworks as the city’s work order management system.
The purpose of the program was to develop and maintain reliable, accurate infrastructure data that would enable a broad range of GIS asset management applications to be developed and implemented. These applications would cost-effectively increase management efficiency and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction. DPW’s ultimate goal was to move from a paper to a digital enterprise system.
The City of Wilmington began using Cityworks in June 2007 when the DPW first introduced the solution to 24 stand-alone users. A few years later, Wilmington realized the need to move to an enterprise solution and secured a Cityworks Enterprise License Agreement (ELA), along with an ELA from Esri for their GIS. This provided the city with the ability to quickly and easily deploy Cityworks throughout the organization at a substantially lower cost than traditional licensing. In April 2011, DPW migrated to Cityworks Server AMS and increased to 60 users; and in February 2012, the city added Cityworks PLL (Permits, Licensing, Land) to meet the needs of even more staff and citizens.
With Cityworks built directly on Esri’s ArcGIS, adding its capabilities instantly produced a complete enterprise solution. To further leverage their GIS and Cityworks investment, DPW decided to implement Cityworks Server PLL to manage DPW’s permitting process. Further, in keeping with the GIS-centric environment, Dig-Smart was added to manage utility location requests. CH2M HILL developed a host of reports to track user performance and metrics in Cityworks.
Wilmington engaged CH2M HILL, partnered with Azteca Systems’ staff, to implement Cityworks Server PLL to facilitate roadway cut requests and other DPW permits. Because Cityworks Server AMS and PLL are seamlessly integrated, permits are directly tied to their associated work orders. PLL provides a web-based permit submission capability, allowing contractors and citizens to interact with the permitting process utilizing the same map-based tools. This solution eliminates unnecessary steps and significantly improved the permitting process. Cityworks has helped DPW users improve overall efficiency, ensuring accurate and current status updates on active permits, work orders, and reports.
Cityworks PLL quickly delivered benefits as it replaced DPW’s custom SharePoint solution, initially configured to manage roadway cut permits. Among the first PLL customers to use the contractor web-submittal page for permits, the City of Wilmington will soon offer online payment options to both contractors and citizens. Meanwhile, the city is developing more permit types with plans to make them available for web submittal as they are completed.
Work Order Management
The addition of Cityworks immediately improved maintenance, tracking, and management of the department’s work activities. Now, with more accurate data, field supervisors are able to plan their work and dispatch crews to projects with the proper tools and materials specifically suited to resolving the situation. Directly linked to the GIS, DPW is able to route crews in response to service requests such as special pick-ups and pothole repairs. DPW is also able to use the system to schedule preventive maintenance activities, thus prolonging the life of the city’s assets.
Cityworks also allowed DPW to consolidate its call center operations. By providing access to service requests and work orders, DPW call center operators have improved response time and information accuracy as they respond to citizen requests. Other city agencies now have access to Cityworks as well, and can directly enter requests and track progress. Further, the City of Wilmington will soon launch DPW’s citizen request website, where citizens can submit and monitor their requests electronically.
Utility Locate Requests
The city further engaged CH2M HILL to implement the GIS-centric Dig-Smart solution to support the state’s One Call system for utility location requests. Dig-Smart was implemented as a first check for contractors looking for DPW utility information in an area. As tickets are received by utility operators, Dig-Smart integrates the power of GIS to locate the dig site and determines if the excavation site is in proximity to buried infrastructure.
The implementation of Dig Smart allowed DPW to save valuable time by automating the process of searching for utilities and providing positive response to the ticket originator.
With Dig Smart linked to Cityworks, DPW can not only facilitate utility location and marking, but also reduce risk exposure. By being linked to Cityworks, DPW is able to retrieve information on contractors’ utility cuts if there are problems with service restoration or citizen calls. Additionally, spatial locations of mark-out requests aid inspection staff as they ensure proper mark-outs have been requested and made before work commences.
With the implementation of Dig-Smart, the city’s response times to each request was improved drastically. Historically, it might have taken up to two days or more to respond to a ticket using the print and research method. Using Dig-Smart, that time was reduced to minutes, resulting in a more efficient process and cost savings.
The enterprise systems implemented and maintained by CH2M HILL are built upon a service-oriented architecture. This enables data to be shared and queried between the various databases and applications. This integration greatly improves the usefulness of the system by unlocking the boundaries which restrained previous applications from working with one another. Dig-Smart and Cityworks have been integrated, and the city’s MUNIS financial system also ties into Cityworks AMS and PLL. It is used to update employee rates and permit fees in the Cityworks database.
Currently, the CH2M HILL team is working on improvements to include spatial querying to trigger database events and automated service request and work order creation based upon events in other systems. Further, CH2M HILL developed and implemented an ArcGIS Server application to grant all DPW staff access to GIS data and source documents through the city’s intranet. Through the portal, staff members are able to view GIS asset data and open service requests and work orders, DPW records and drawings, active Dig-Smart mark-out requests, roadway cut permits from PLL, and all DPW real-time vehicle locations. This provided DPW staff a quick view when and by whom work is being performed on all their assets.
SQL Reporting Services
Cityworks’ open architecture allows for easy web-based reporting using the city’s standard Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. CH2M HILL worked closely with city staff to develop a host of reports to measure user performance in the Cityworks systems. The reports examine such metrics as data quality, staff utilization, work order cost summary by division, service request and work order backlog reports, and many others. Each report includes links enabling users to view specific information about a service request, work order, or inspection in the system. Further, CH2M HILL set up weekly e-mail notifications to supervisors and division directors of all backlog service requests, work orders, and inspections.