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City of Calgary, Development & Building Approvals: ePlans.

1. System Name--ePlans

Category: Single Process Systems

2. See attached letter from David Watson, General Manager, Planning, Development & Assessment

(available June 6th)

3. ePlans Summary

The ePlans system qualifies as an exemplary system as a fundamental change and improvement to the processing of Subdivision applications at the City of Calgary. ePlans is different from other systems because:

1. ePlans is 100% electronic--any subdivision application now submitted via ePlans is now retained as a 100% electronic file. No paper file exists and the official document of record for the application is in the enterprise document management system.

2. ePlans integrates a number of technologies, including:

--POSSE[TM] for workflow management

--Livelink[TM] for document management

--Adobe Acrobat[TM] and AutoVue[TM] for electronic review and markup of subdivision plans

--Adobe Acrobat[TM] for electronic stamp

--Smart Boards for team review and markup of subdivision plans

3. ePlans was developed with a customer-focused approach--during the design phase of ePlans, customers who accounted for a significant portion of the subdivision applications in Calgary were engaged to be part of the design. This partnership with the customer ensured a customer-centric and user-friendly design. At each subsequent phase, customers were given the opportunity to provide feedback into the system design.

4. ePlans measures performance--one of the components of ePlans was the development of both applicant and City staff balanced scorecards. The system captures and measures performance, which are shared with both the applicants and City staff in a continuous improvement feedback loop.

5. ePlans is a reusable framework--ePlans was designed as a modular framework which could be easily applied to other application types. The ePlans framework includes:

* Business Process Modeling Techniques

* Project Delivery Methodology

* Change Management (Cultural and System) Process

* Customer and Stakeholder engagement strategies and Communications Plan

* Balanced Scorecard and Performance Metrics

* Training Plans for internal and external customers

* Document Management Certification

B. Jurisdiction Information

1. Name--City of Calgary

2. Population--956,078 (Census 2005)

3. Annual Budget for the City of Calgary

Operating Budget (2005)--1.5 Billion $CAD

Capital Budget (5 yr)--2.55 Billion $CAD

4. Chief Elected Official

Mayor Dave Bronconnier

Office of the Mayor

The City of Calgary

P.O. Box 2100, Station M

Calgary AB T2P 2M5

Phone (403) 268-5622

Fax (403) 268-8130

Email: themayor@calgary.ca

5. ePlans Contact Person

Pat Drake, Program Manager

City of Calgary

Development & Building Approvals

800 Macleod Trail SE

Calgary, Alberta

T2P 2M5

Phone (403) 268-8059

Fax (403)

Email: pat.drake@calgary.ca

C. System Design

1. What motivated the system development?

The City of Calgary has experienced record-breaking growth and development over the last decade. Calgary's strong economy has fueled immense real estate growth for the region, whether it is new businesses or individuals making the move to Calgary or local businesses or residents relocating. In order to meet the demand of servicing and residential lot inventory required while still maintaining quality service levels, the City of Calgary embraced technology to help them meet the challenge of demanding growth.

ePlans was largely fuelled by:

* The desire by Development & Building Approvals, and the City of Calgary as a whole, to do more of its business on the web as eBusiness.

* Development & Building Approvals' move to a cost recoverable business unit in 2003, which required efficiencies to be made.

* A strong desire to improve on the cycle times for the processing of subdivision applications and to track performance against agreed targets.

2. What specific service was the system intended to improve?

Calgary has experienced dramatic population growth over the last decade and is anticipated to maintain a strong and steady pattern over the next decade. Despite continued development and redevelopment within the built area of Calgary, the vast majority of the population growth has been, and will continue to be, accommodated in Calgary's newly developing suburban communities. It is this strong preference of Calgary's growing population to locate in the suburbs that has prompted the need for a more direct link between the long-term projected pattern of growth, the planning processes and the coordination and delivery of growth related capital projects.

Improvement of the related subdivision processes was a key business driver for the first phase of ePlans. The project team set a target for an overall improvement in the processing time of conforming tentative plans that were submitted via ePlans to be reduced by 35%, or by 40 days.

The first phase of ePlans was delivered in early 2005, addressing the implementation of electronic submission of Conforming Subdivision Applications and Conforming Plans for Endorsement. This system allowed applicants to submit applications for subdivision over the web and also review the circulation and review status of the application over its duration.

3. Unexpected Benefits

One of the processes in ePlans--the Endorsement process--was not well understood by applicants prior to the project. Automating through ePlans, establishing business rules and associated metrics lead to a 50% improvement in the cycle time for the endorsement process. The process was also documented from a workflow and business perspective, improving the transparency and understanding of the process from all sides.

4. System Design Problems

As with any system implementation, certain system design issues were encountered. The submission of electronic documents over the web proved to be a challenge as ePlans' existing technology infrastructure did not accommodate the virus scanning requirements set down by the City's IT staff. The City IT group required a real-time virus scanning solution which would scan the associated electronic documents as they were uploaded.

To meet the implementation targets, a workaround was developed which was transparent and also met the security requirements as identified by the IT department. The workaround involved having the web page submit

the documents to an email address at which time the email anti-virus scanning solution would scan the incoming documents for a virus. The email was monitored by Customer Advisory Services staff who would then load the documents into the electronic document management system until a real-time virus scanning patch could be implemented.

5. What differentiates this system from other similar systems?

ePlans is 100% electronic--any subdivision application now submitted via ePlans is now retained as a 100% electronic file. No paper file exists and the official document of record for the application is in the enterprise document management system.

ePlans integrates a number of technologies, including:

* POSSE[TM] for workflow management

* Livelink[TM] for document management

* Adobe Acrobat[TM] and AutoVue[TM] for electronic review and markup of subdivision plans

* Adobe Acrobat[TM] for electronic stamp

* Smart Boards for team review and markup of subdivision plans

ePlans was developed with a customer-focused approach--during the design phase of ePlans, customers who accounted for a significant portion of the subdivision applications in Calgary were engaged to be part of the design. This partnership with the customer ensured a customer-centric and user-friendly application was designed (see attached testimonials). At each subsequent phase, customers were given the opportunity to provide feedback into the system design.

ePlans measures performance--one of the components of ePlans was the development of both applicant and City staff balanced scorecards. The system captured and measured performance metrics which are shared with both the applicants and City staff in a continuous improvement feedback loop.

ePlans is a reusable framework for other similar initiatives. When the first phase of ePlans was designed it was designed to be a modular framework which could be easily applied to other application types. The ePlans framework includes:

* Business Process Modeling Techniques

* Project Delivery Methodology

* Change Management (Cultural and System) Process

* Customer and Stakeholder engagement strategies and Communications Plan

* Balanced Scorecard and Performance Metrics

* Training Plans for internal and external customers

* Document Management Certification

D. Implementation

1. What phases did you go through in developing the system?

The City of Calgary uses the SMART[TM] project management methodology. A SMART[TM] project charter was developed which included the following milestones:

Milestone 1--Plan

Milestone 2--Research & Analyze

Milestone 3--Design

Milestone 4--Build

Milestone 5--Test and Train

Milestone 6--Rollout and Retrain

Milestone 7--Continuous Improvement and Sustainment

The testing and training phase involved a soft launch of the system to the customers/partners who were involved in the design of ePlans. This allowed them to submit real applications into the City's production system but also allowed them to contact ePlans staff directly in the event problems were encountered. This soft launch approach helped mitigate the risk associated with an implementation of this size.

2. Were there any modifications to the original system design? Why? When?

The original system design was to provide the electronic submission of the plans, as part of the implementation. Changes were made to the existing workflow which was configured in the client server version of POSSE (DBA's internal database system). In order to accommodate the performance reporting requirements additional changes were made which would allow for the proper measurement of customer time and City staff time. These changes also include the design of a data warehouse to allow staff to analyze process information and identify areas for improvement and root cause analysis. The system currently has an interim performance metrics reporting solution but this will eventually be replaced by the data warehouse by the end of 2006.

E. Organizational Impact

1. What user community does the system serve and how?

The ePlans system offers numerous benefits, including:

2. What are the ultimate decisions/operations/services being affected? If appropriate, provide a few examples including, but not limited to: screen input/output forms, paper products, or other descriptive graphics. (see following value-added chain diagrams)

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

Quantitative

** ePlans provides the City of Calgary a robust method of measuring the cycle times not only of internal staff but the cycle time spent by measuring customer response time. Not only are cycle time measurements available but also quality measures to ensure that applicants are providing high quality plans and documents.

** Metrics have allowed The City of Calgary to work collaboratively with high volume applicants to improve training and streamline the process.

Qualitative

** ePlans provides an open process where both owners and applicants (not always the same individuals) can review the status of their applications.

** ePlans improves the quality of incoming applications by ensuring that applicants have all mandatory documentation prior to submitting an application.

4. What effect has the system had on productivity?

* The measurement and feedback has led to significant improvements in the Endorsement cycle time. The process capacity has improved by 50%, allowing staff to cope with the very large increase in volumes experienced in The City of Calgary for 2006.

5. What, if any, other impacts has the system had?

* This application is a "pillar" in the movement to electronic interaction with customers--providing services over the web. Additionally, the associated business process mapping is a key foundation for knowledge retention in a retiring workforce.

* ePlans has prepared The City of Calgary to move from what are often paper and pen-based systems to a collaborative, computerized environment.

6. How did the system change the way business is conducted with and/or service delivered to clients? Give specific examples comparing the old way with the new.

The following are examples of positive business changes and how ePlans has been a factor. Please also refer to the attached testimonials which attest to the business improvements made by ePlans.

** ePlans has provided a 24/7 application intake window. By being internet-based the applicant can now submit their application from their own desktop, eliminating the need to commute and park downtown during office hours (8am-4:30pm). Also, due to the increasing levels of development in Calgary, current waiting times at the Development & Building Approvals Customer Service counter are averaging 45 minutes to an hour and sometimes more. ePlans has eliminated the inconvenience of waiting in line by allowing customers to apply online at their convenience.

** Application files are virtually paperless. Subdivision documents and plans are now submitted electronically, significantly reducing the amount of paper that was once used for 'manual' submissions. Documents and plans are now stored electronically and are available to staff at any time through Livelink[TM] (internal document management application). Previously, paper files were transferred from desk-todesk which has proven to be time consuming and also an increased risk of lost plans.

** ePlans has given the applicant (and their customers) the ability to monitor the progress of an application at anytime using the City of Calgary's online application system. Prior to ePlans, applicants would continually phone file managers to inquire about the status of their applications. This had a significant impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the file managers to complete their legislative requirements.

F. System Resources

1. What are the system's primary hardware components? Give a brief list or description of the hardware configuration supporting the system.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

2. What are the system's primary software components? Describe the primary software and, if a commercial package, any customizations required for the system.

ePlans was developed using tools from a variety of commercial vendors. ePlans used these tools to develop a consolidated system for the processing of Subdivision Applications. The following table describes the software components and system components used in the development of ePlans.

3. What data does the system work with? List and briefly describe the database(s).

ePlans is a component in a larger land development system. The following diagram illustrates the objects and conceptual relationships of the ePlans system.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

4. What staff resources were required to implement the system (i.e., report approximate staff and consultant time as FTE's)
E. Organizational Impact

1. What user community does the system serve and how?

The ePlans system offers numerous benefits, including

Stakeholder Benefits

CUSTOMERS * Improved turn around time for new plan
 circulation and approvals

 * Ability to submit plans electronically,
 reducing visits and calls to City Hall,
 saving time and money and generally
 more convenient.

 * Reduced printing costs as plans no longer
 have to be submitted in paper, only in PDF
 format.

 * Ability to see status of applications in
 'real time' without having to call City Hall,
 increasing transparency in City processes.

CITY APPROVING * Reduced storage space costs for paper
AUTHORITY records.
/ ADMINISTRATION
 * Reduced mailing costs.

 * Customers are able to query the status of
 their submissions, resulting in decreased
 direct staff contact.

 * Accessibility to data without waiting for
 paper circulation.

 * Versions of files are managed
 electronically. Plans can be tracked and
 accessed quickly and reliably.

 * Improved timelines for circulation and
 approvals, resulting in better turnaround
 for customers awaiting approvals.

 * Increased documents (plans) and data
 security.

 * Ability to track the location of the
 development and quickly track any
 changes to the submissions.

 * Leveraged investments in "pillar"
 technologies.

 * Process redesign opportunity to streamline
 the submission/circulation workflow.

 * Increased customer service deliverables
 (e.g. web adds hours of service to public)

EXTERNAL PARTNERS * City is able to submit updated and/or
 additional files to its customers
 electronically.

 * Addressing Plans for tentative subdivisions
 now available electronically and also
 available much quicker.

 * Standard file formats and consistency is
 improved when submitting electronic files.

 * Increased confidence that important
 documents are well managed and tracked.

TECHNICAL PROVIDERS / * Standard file formats and consistency is
DATA MAINTAINERS improved when submitting electronic files.

 * Geomatics group is able to notify
 applicants immediately if submitted CAD
 drawings did not conform to City of
 Calgary standards.

 * Addressing group is able to provide
 addressing information to external partners
 in a much more timely manner and also in
 an electronic format (PDF)

ePlans Component Software

Web Submission POSSE[TM] Outrider
Workflow Management POSSE[TM]
Document Management LIVELINK[TM]
Electronic Plan Markup Adobe Acrobat[TM]
 and Circulation and AutoVue[TM]

ePlans Resources

Electronic acceptance, circulation, storage and approval of
large scale plans and related documents for non-conforming
Tentative Plans and all Subdivision Plans endorsed by The City

Description Hours

IT Lead 500
POSSE Team (IT) Technical Analyst 500
Management Systems Analyst 700
Systems Analyst for VISTA changes (web) 50
Web Office 25
Data Warehouse Analyst 300
LiveLink and AutoVue Systems Analyst 300
Security 50
Systems Rep from non-POSSE Group (eg. CIAO, etc) 50

Program Manager from within DBA 800
Business Process and Change Analyst 1500
Coordination; Admin Support 100
Non-Conforming Tentative Plans Circulation Process; 300
Performance Metrics/Reports
Intake Process; Cashier Implementation; Workflow 50
 Documentation
Non-Conforming Tentative Plans Continuous Improvement & 350
 Endorsement Process Review
Endorsement Process Review; Performance Metrics 200
ARIS workflow analysis and mapping; business rules; data 500
 definitions
Municipal Reserve Tracking; Density Tracking 50
Business Support for LiveLink, AutoVue and Adobe 50
 Implementation
Communications/Cultural Change Analyst 100
Other BU's involved in Project / Alignment 50
Land Information & Mapping Alignment 50
Geocity Program Office Alignment 50
External Professional Consulting Services 1400

TOTAL 7525
COPYRIGHT 2006 Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:URISA AWARD NOMINATION: Single Process Systems
Publication:Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Annual Conference Proceedings
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:2753
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