AssetOptics Helps City of Elgin, Illinois Streamline Processes; Serve Citizens More Effectively
When the Elgin, Illinois City Council green-lighted a broad improvement initiative to deliver high-quality services for the city and its citizens at the lowest possible cost, Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall and Senior Management Analyst Dan Ault viewed the project as a catalyst to update Elgin’s technology approach and leverage the benefits of cloud computing. After selecting Salesforce CRM and AssetOptics’ Facilities, Equipment and Fleet Maintenance for Salesforce (AssetOptics EAM) to complete the effort’s initial project, Ault has continued collaborating with AssetOptics to develop an end-to-end, integrated, fully mobile solution for work order management that can only be described as revolutionary.
Connecting 311 with 811
The first development project Ault and Elgin ‘s CTO Jeff Massey tackled was a new 311 Contact Center that included a seamless workflow and work request system for 811 (“call before you dig”) requests. Prior to implementing the solution, the legacy system couldn’t read the XML documents generated by the statewide 811 Call Center for Illinois, thus requiring manual, inefficient input.
Now, operators receive information and map the location, collect details, and initiate service requests to the relevant utilities and government authorities. AssetOptics EAM maps the data to a work request, looks at the priorities and the lead times for the dig, and takes actions based upon whether the request is an emergency or standard priority.
From there, the system notifies team leaders, puts each request into a queue and assigns it to a specific city employee or team. If a city employee hasn’t processed the work order within a few hours of the scheduled dig start time, AssetOptics EAM generates email notifications to designated team supervisors so they can escalate the effort to an emergency status.
Asset Tracking, Mobilization and More
The 811 project made it virtually impossible for 811 requests to be overlooked—and reduced locator request processing time to a fraction of what it had been—but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Since that first project, Elgin has migrated its entire utility database to the new system, and AssetOptics EAM has helped Ault streamline and automate work order initiation, reporting and tracking for nearly every public works activity.
Elgin is also using the solution to track and maintain city-owned assets, from street trees to heavy equipment and even the consumables ordered for city departments and external resources such as fire stations.
The solution is completely mobilized, with field employees able to enter and update information—and initiate new requests—directly from their mobile devices. Should work priorities change, field workers can be rerouted on the fly via mobile alerts.
All activities also update to the 311 Contact Center, allowing citizens to receive real-time updates when they call. Eventually, Ault says, citizens will be able to look up city resources, report problems such as street light outages, and view statuses for issues directly. Not only does this functionality empower (and delight) citizens but it also reduces load on the 311 Contact Center.
Water Department on the Move
Another effort for which Ault reserves praise is workflow development in the Water Meter Shop, where the new system is helping the city achieve greater service efficiency and visibility. The shop crew handles a variety of service requests, including installing and repairing water meters, turning them on and off in response to service requests or non-payment issues, and performing manual reads when customers challenge their bills.
Now, an update or request input into the system automatically associates with the related asset—the water meter—and triggers a work order specific to that meter.
Once the crew completes its tasks, all the information populates back across the system, providing historical information for billing and address-based status reports, and generating additional work orders, if required.
An Eye on the Future
With the “activities” portion of the project largely completed, Ault reports that the City will soon use the system to enhance permitting and code enforcement operations. “Since the AssetOptics solution is tied in with our locator functions, we will be able to verify every dig, each of which should tie back to a permit,” he says. “That information will help code enforcement determine when there isn’t a permit and be more proactive in pursuing action.”
Ault is also looking forward to rolling-out preventive maintenance, with automated tracking, reminders and work order generation, for all of Elgin’s assets. In the new year, the city will complete an inventory of its major assets, enabling it to manage the lifecycle of every single asset—from a building to a sapling—under the city’s purview.
Nestled along the banks of the Fox River, Elgin, Illinois is approximately 38 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and is home to more than 110,000 people. The growing city enjoys ready access to public transportation, diverse housing stock and a mix of commercial establishments. Many national and international businesses have taken advantage of Elgin’s close proximity to the Elgin-O’Hare Tollway and to the “Golden Corridor of Technology and Commerce” along Interstate-90. A recent recipient of the Governor’s Hometown Award, Elgin features a nationally acclaimed library system, an array of healthcare options and educational opportunities for all ages. Residents and visitors enjoy a thriving cultural arts community, world-class parks, historical museums and more than 200 places of worship. This vibrant, diverse community is a registered Cities of Service to recognize its volunteer-rich community and history of civic engagement. For more information, visit www.cityofelgin.org.
AssetOptics is a privately held company with deep domain expertise in enterprise asset management. AssetOptics Facilities, Equipment and Fleet Maintenance for Salesforce is a native Force.com application, benefiting from the reliability, scalability and performance of Salesforce. com’s trusted enterprise cloud computing platform. For more information, visit www. assetoptics.com.