The City of Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest city in the state, and like many other cities throughout the nation, has experienced economic hardships over the past several years. Some of these hardships include budget cuts, staff reductions, and equipment degradation; however, the city has managed to stay positive and overcome their challenges by being innovative in their use of software and technology.

The city has been using Cityworks Server AMS for more than three years to create and manage service requests, helping them become very familiar with the service request functionality of the Cityworks software. In the winter of 2011, the city expressed interest in expanding their use of Server AMS to include work orders, inspections, and a financially sound and productive mobile solution for Public Works Department employees. This interest led to a second phase of the city’s Server AMS implementation: work orders with mobile support.

Previously, service requests were the only method used to capture information. Without access to work orders and inspections, the city could not capture data regarding labor, materials, or equipment costs associated with work orders or inspections. By expanding their Server AMS functionality, city staff will now be able to capture and record work data much more effectively.

With the necessary functionality becoming available to the Public Works Department, the city also recognized the need for a mobile solution. After careful review, the Public Works Department decided to use mobile phones and the Freeance Mobile software feature for their mobile solution.

This second phase began in March of 2013 and went live with work orders, inspections, and the Freeance Mobile software in fall of 2013. Because service requests were the department’s primary source for capturing data, each of the divisions began adjusting their processes to take advantage of the new tools available. This second phase also included the following divisions that make up the Public Works Department: Paved Streets, Water Maintenance, Sewer Maintenance, Traffic Maintenance, Care and Maintenance, Solid Waste, and Bridge and Drainage.

These divisions went through a series of business process review workshops with Woolpert to develop new processes or modify existing processes to incorporate the use of these new tools. After understanding the Public Works Department’s new or modified business processes, Woolpert worked with the city to configure Server AMS accordingly. In addition, Woolpert also worked with both Freeance and the city to configure the mobile software for field use. Once these milestones were complete, training was held for administrators and end users and was followed by the final go-live for the City of Jackson Public Works Department.

Because there is a limited Public Works Department staff, employees have all welcomed the change, trying to learn and understand more efficient and effective ways to perform work within the city. By the end of 2013, they will be running Server AMS 2013 with mobile field support, providing an admirable example of how cities can rise above the worst of times, overcome hardships, and continue to strive for excellence.

By Jen Coughlin, PMP Project Manager, IT & Management Consulting | Infrastructure Management, Woolpert


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