Reviewing the requirements outlined in an RFP for a permitting and community development system, one of the requirements indicated the proposed solution must be easy to use. I had to ask myself, does Cityworks Server PLL meet that and who ultimately decides what is easy to use or not? Believing so, I put a “yes” next to the item and moved on with my review, though the “ease of use” thought lingered in my mind.

Easiness is contingent upon a person’s knowledge of and experience with a topic. It stands to reason then that as we learn something new, it should then become easier. Cityworks Server PLL, or any application for that matter, is no different. Most all things new and unfamiliar are a bit challenging. However, as we spend time learning the basics, it becomes easier and easier to use.

The “easy” standard for Cityworks Server PLL is not defined by me or Azteca Systems. It is defined by our user community. Because we continually strive to incorporate the features our users request, Cityworks Server PLL continues to meet that easy standard.

In making Cityworks Server PLL easier, we have added links from cases to work orders and services requests, along with automatic email notification to People Roles and Contractor Types based on case and workflow events. The result of a task can automatically create a work order (See Figure 1) in Cityworks Server AMS—unique to Cityworks.

The Task Manager is now available via the remote access application. This tool allows staff to complete assigned tasks via the web and without a VPN connection to the network. It works great on the iPad, for example. A new calendar-based task scheduler will be added enabling users to view, schedule, and reschedule inspections, hearings, and review tasks within a calendar view (See Figure 2).

New tools have been added to streamline task corrections—checklists of items on an inspection or plan review task—reducing the steps required to add a correction. Users can now prevent a task from being completed if there are open corrections associated with it. The ReCheck flag can now be set on a correction and carried through the workflow until the recheck is removed. Failed plan review checklists or corrective actions added to inspections are readily available when the follow-up plan review or inspection is scheduled (See Figure 3).

Cityworks Server PLL 2012 includes an updated user interface, simplifying navigation through the application. Improvements to the UI will continue and will include a new Admin page (See Figure 4). The new page is designed to improve the user experience with managing and configuring permits and case templates, and XML customization options will allow administrators more control. This capability will be expanded to end user pages in future releases.

The Admin page will also include a drag and drop workflow builder where users can easily create workflows by simply dragging and dropping tasks into milestones and arranging them accordingly. Easy and intuitive, the workflow builder will streamline even the most complex workflows.

While our users continue to define the easy standard for Cityworks Server PLL, we will continue to work to that standard. Ease of use is no doubt a focal point we strive to incorporate into Cityworks. Increasing efficiencies across daily workflows enables organizations to attain greater productivity—achieving more with fewer resources and at a lower cost.