Imagine a city where processes and information from every department and agency has been integrated. Every employee and all of our partners would be able to perform their duties without having to travel and translate between silos. The City and its partners would be able to work cohesively to provide high quality services to constituents in a manner not interrupted, abbreviated, and restarted when crossing department or agency boundaries.
To make it easier to visualize a seamlessly integrated City government let us take a look at this future vision from a few different points of view:
- Employee Perspective
- Partner Perspective
- Customer Perspective
Instead of detailing the benefits of integrated enterprise and business applications and normalized data cleanly segregated and secured by business domain and job functions, let us tell the story of a moment in the lives of three fictitious characters.
When Sharon turned on her tablet this morning at the Streets Department’s Right of Way Unit, she could see the three new permit requests that were ready for her review. Each had a set of plans, already annotated with comments from L&I and the City Planning Commission. One was submitted the old fashioned way, hand delivered to the counter in the concourse of the Municipal Services Building. Another was submitted online through the City’s web portal and the last was submitted from a mobile device.
Sharon determined that one of the requests would require approval from the Committee of Highway Supervisors, a governance body whose membership includes representation from private companies with assets in the public right of way. She was able to approve one of the remaining two requests after reviewing the attached electronic plan. The plan submitted with the last of the three requests was a photo of a relatively decent hand sketch. The hand sketch did a fair job of identifying the location of the permit request. It also helped that the customer included the coordinates of the location using GPS on his mobile device. However, Sharon right-clicked the request to access the aerial photography of the area, check for historic properties nearby, and overlay the geographic and textual zoning information. Sharon decided to forward the request on to the Planning Commission to check on a nearby zoning rule and to the Historic Commission because of an adjacent historic property.
In a moment of nostalgic reflection, Sharon thought back to the days when customers would line up at the counter. Frantic customers hoped to have their plans reviewed in time to run over to the other three buildings they needed to visit for approvals. She felt a lot better not having to deal with justifiably frustrated customers as she rushed to do her part to make their day a bit less confused and chaotic. Her momentary reflection was interrupted by the familiar chime that indicated new plans were ready for her review.
Bill began his day by logging into the City’s portal to check on the status of the Right of Way Occupancy requests that he submitted on behalf of his company, the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). He could see that several of the requests had been approved and that his associate Sharon, from the City, had forwarded a permit request for his approval. As a member of the Committee of Highway Supervisors (CHS), Bill was responsible for reviewing certain kinds of requests for the use and occupancy of the public right of way. He decided that he would discuss this particular request with one of his CHS counterparts to get their take on things. He was able to collaborate with his counterpart through the City’s portal to come to a decision.
Bill remembered his first days of work at PGW, when his now predecessor was showing him the ropes. His predecessor would go on and on about the days when PGW would have to produce a dozen paper copies of blueprints to be hand delivered to the City and other members of the CHS for submission and review. Apparently, it would take weeks for all of the plans to be reviewed and stamped by all necessary parties. Bill was glad to have missed those good old days.
Last night, Lauren remembered to submit her permit request to the City to replace the wheelchair ramp at her restaurant. She had submitted permit requests before using the City’s web portal, but those were for a major home improvement projects. She decided to give the City’s mobile app a try and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use. She was able to attach a photo of a crude hand drawing she made and use her phone’s GPS to supply the location of her restaurant. Overall, she decided it was a pretty good experience and was more than happy to click “Like Us on Facebook” once her request was submitted.
This afternoon, Lauren was pleasantly surprised to see a few notifications on her mobile device indicating that her request was moving along. Apparently, Sharon from the City sent her request to the Committee of Highway Supervisors (CHS) and the Historic Commission. Sharon had no idea what the CHS was but there was a link for more information that explained the group’s role in the management of the public right of way.
Suddenly, her device chirped with an instant message from Brian at the Historic Commission. A few minutes after she finished chatting with Brian, she received another notification from the City. The request had been approved, provided that the new ramp was not built atop a few underground utility lines. Apparently, PGW and PECO would be out to mark the locations of the lines.
With her mobile permit in hand and the optional paper version coming in the mail, Sharon was ready to replace the ramp. She was almost looking forward to submitting more request for her business in the future. Perhaps now she will add a sidewalk café.
Next: Part 3: Transformation (Coming soon)
- Transforming Government through Enterprise Architecture (phillyinnovates.com)
- What is Enterprise Architecture? (phillyinnovates.com)