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CitySmart Blog

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Problem 
The City found itself using a finance system that had reached its technical end of life. Many of the processes in place required manual tasks such as printing various reports and then using those reports to rekey data, sometimes within the same system. Many of the capabilities the City saw as vital for future development were simply not available to them.

Similarly, the Public Safety department had utilized desktop software technology for many tasks, but could go no further. Along with many manual processes, simple requests for information required days or even weeks of manual review by personnel. Police reporting required Officers to return to the station for completion, consuming up to 2 hours of each shift by each officer every day.

The City needed not just a new accounting system, but an entire Enterprise Resource Planning application to tie all of the different areas of the City – from City Hall to Public Safety and Public Works - together into one cohesive whole. They needed a way to add efficiency, reliability, and predictability to their environment.

Solution
Sophicity initially conducted an assessment where each department’s use of technology was cataloged, future recommendations developed, and a plan of action initiated. Once complete, we developed requirements for the new systems through detailed interviews of each department and mapping of existing workflows.

Once the assessment and requirements were gathered, we were able to draft a robust, 70-page RFP that detailed exactly what the city needed. We then managed the distribution to a number of vendors in the ERP space and assisted the City through the RFP process by building consensus on the critical decision factors and guiding City personnel through making sound decisions based on objective proof and evidence. 

Results
The City was able to quickly, and easily choose the right vendor to implement the system. Once the City decision makers had chosen, Sophicity was able to garner unanimous agreement on the Vendor of Choice by all 29 City Departments. We then helped City staff make the presentation to City Council, resulting in the Council’s unanimous approval of the project and Vendor.

Once the contract with the Vendor was negotiated, Duluth was able to attribute a savings of $1.6 million to Sophicity’s expertise and involvement in the project based on Sophicity’s advice during the selection and negotiation phases of this project and our detailed requirements and workflow mapping provided to vendors prior to the purchase of the ERP systems. The detailed RFP allowed the Vendor to exactly tailor the response to the City’s needs instead of providing a more costly one-size-fits-all solution. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009
John Restivo, IT Director, Georgia Municipal Association

We had a development environment with no processes, no documentation on any applications and black boxes. Under Sophicity's guidance, we have been able to implement a software development process that includes full project life cycle, staged deliverables, documentation of all phases of our projects, code reviews, code inspections and consistent, repeatable processes. We have been able to bring in new engineers and have them easily integrate into the environment. We have no more black boxes and are not dependent on any one engineer to develop or enhance a system.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Teresa Lynn, City Clerk, Duluth, Ga

When Duluth needed to update our software applications across all City departments from Finance to Public Safety, we didn’t know where to begin.  All we knew is we were going to have to live with our decision for a very long time, so we had to get it right. That’s why we called Sophicity. They spent the time needed to define our requirements and construct an RFP that both detailed our needs and protected our interests. As a result, the vendor responses we received were tailored to our city.  Sophicity’s process was thorough and most importantly, objective.  They didn’t lead us to someone’s favorite vendor; instead, they equipped us with the knowledge we needed to find the best fit.  Sophicity even helped us make our case to the City Council, resulting in timely approval of the proposal. In the end, their industry expertise and understanding of vendor negotiation saved us nearly $1.6 million. I would recommend Sophicity to any city that needs help making technology decisions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Sophicity (sophicity.com) announced today that it has saved the City of Duluth, Ga. (duluthga.net) nearly 1.6 million dollars on the purchase and implementation of a new enterprise resource planning application. Sophicity’s CitySmart℠ vendor management consultants worked with Duluth’s staff to define the requirements and draft the RFP for the system, which was then sent out to a number of vendors in the ERP space. Sophicity fielded questions from the vendors and then thoroughly reviewed the responses to the RFP, detailing how each one stacked up to the project requirements. This report was then provided to City staff and presented in front of City Council, enabling Duluth to make an informed decision on which vendor would win the project. Due to the attention paid to the requirements and vendor selection process, Mimsware was able to reduce the total cost of the ERP system purchase and implementation by nearly $1.6 million.

Teresa Lynn, City Clerk for Duluth, had this to say about the engagement:

When Duluth needed to update our software applications across all City departments from Finance to Public Safety, we didn’t know where to begin. All we knew is we were going to have to live with our decision for a very long time, so we had to get it right. That’s why we called Sophicity. They spent the time needed to define our requirements and construct an RFP that both detailed our needs and protected our interests. As a result, the vendor responses we received were tailored to our city. Sophicity’s process was thorough and most importantly, objective. They didn’t lead us to someone’s favorite vendor; instead, they equipped us with the knowledge we needed to find the best fit. Sophicity even helped us make our case to the City Council, resulting in timely approval of the proposal. In the end, their industry expertise and understanding of vendor negotiation saved us nearly $1.6 million. I would recommend Sophicity to any city that needs help making technology decisions.

Sophicity’s CitySmart℠ consulting services include IT assessments, RFP/Requirements Drafting, Vendor Management, Project Management, and Process Enablement for city governments of any size. These services adding peace of mind, efficiency and cost saving measures to every step of new technology project implementations. For more information on how we can help your city, visit sophicity.com.

ABOUT DULUTH, GA
Duluth is recognized as a model city for Gwinnett County. It is poised with a perfect blend of small businesses, entrepreneurial enterprise, major corporations and visionary developers. Its success rate has been obtainable through sound economic efforts, business advocacy and leadership development. The vitality of Duluth is no accident. It is the result of careful planning and great foresight on the part of its business and community leaders. From tangible communication programs to local events that influence and impact the business environment, Duluth embraces a unique, concentrated form of government.

ABOUT SOPHICITY
For over 10 years, Sophicity’s expertise has unleashed the potential of government IT for municipal leagues and their member cities, meeting the needs of everyone from city hall to public safety. Our senior consultants help improve budget efficiency and increase employee productivity beginning with detailed assessments that identify risks, opportunities, and guidelines for planning. Sophicity makes any IT project worry-free by defining the requirements, managing the project and implementing the right solution. If the project requires a vendor, our experts will draft the RFP and provide guidance in choosing the best respondent. Whether it’s a stable and secure network, a new website, or a custom designed municipal league risk management application, our simple best practices approach brings every city’s vision to reality. At Sophicity, we put the IT in city℠.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Gail B. Bembry, City Administrator, Vienna, Ga

The new website for the City of Vienna has been a challenge with a great reward. With training from Sophicity, our clerical staff has been successful in compiling information and building pages to make the website work for us. We enjoy being able to navigate, add pictures, and change information as needed. We are very pleased with Tribune City Website Manager and with our partnership with Sophicity.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Teresa Lynn, City Clerk, Duluth, Ga

The City of Duluth contracted Sophicity to conduct a citywide CitySmart State of the City IT Assessment. They started immediately by conducting on-site interviews with each department within the city to understand our processes. I cannot say enough about the knowledge and professionalism of Mimsware. They spoke to staff members on a level that they could understand and really worked to make the staff know they were important to the process. Throughout the project, Sophicity has kept me informed about where they are in the plan of action and what steps needed to be taken to complete each action. This would have been a monumental task for staff to undertake and Sophicity has assisted the whole way. We now have a detailed vision that lays out the City’s technology needs which we can use to plan for, budget, and build improvements across the City’s departments well into the future. We are very pleased with Sophicity and are moving ahead with our first step of action from the report.  This initial step is to replace the City’s existing accounting system.  Sophicity has worked with the City to draft requirements, draft the RFP, distribute the RFP, and are now managing the RFP process with the City.


Thursday, October 2, 2008


Mimsware Corporation sponsored the 11th hole at the first annual Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade Golf Tournament held September 22nd in Dublin at the beautiful Riverview Park Golf Course.  The over $15,000 in proceeds from the tournament will go towards the  Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade charity event in December.

Mimsware’s management team also golfed in the 18-hole event, scoring an amazing 120 (compared to the first place team’s score of 53) and walking away with the coveted last place prize. One participant of the tournament, speaking under condition of anonymity, stated: “I now realize why Mimsware is so good at IT: you guys are clearly not spending any time out on the golf course.”

While thanking the mercy of a double bogey limit, Dave Mims, President of Mimsware and Captain of the golf team said, “It’s great to see this money go to charity. Sadly, I must now also donate my new driver to charity because our Director of Business Development, Kevin Howarth, broke it on the 5th hole.” From the shade of his golf cart, Tim Verras, Director of Marketing, stated: “It was really nice to see the high skill level amongst the other golfers. It allowed our complete and total ineptitude at this sport to really shine through.” Finally, Jeramie Mercker, Director of Technology, was overheard telling the grounds manager, “This is a lot harder than Wii Golf.”

According to GMA’s website, “the Mayors' Christmas Motorcade began in 1958 at the request of then-Governor Ernest Vandiver as a way of providing holiday gifts for the patients of Georgia's mental health and retardation hospitals. The program is also aimed at raising the awareness of the needs of Georgia's mental hospitals.” Mimsware proudly supports GMA’s efforts to help Georgia’s less fortunate during the holiday season.

ABOUT GMA
Created in 1933, the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia. Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its members. 

ABOUT MIMSWARE CORPORATION
Mimsware is an Alpharetta, GA-based business solutions consultancy that uses Microsoft technologies and people-focused consulting to foster stability and growth in any size organization. From custom software and database development to network infrastructure and web content management, Mimsware’s senior level engineers and consultants insure that IT lends strength, flexibility, and value to an organization. Mimsware is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tim Verras, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience
The internet can be a powerful tool for aiding your Parks and Recreation department in its mission to provide relaxation and education for citizens. By leveraging your city’s web site in combination with other resources on the web, your city can see an increase in event attendance, sports registrations, and organizational efficiency. Here’s how:
  1. City Website – Take all of the information from the flyers, mailers, and banners that you use to advertise Parks and Recreation events and put that content on your website. Convert all of the registration forms to PDFs so they can be printed. And most importantly, keep everything up to date. It may seem time consuming, but the time and money it saves by eliminating calls to the office will add up in no time.
  2. E-Registration – Invest in online registration software and integrate it with your website. Allow people to buy and print event tickets, sign up and pay for sports team and class registrations, even pay licensing fees online. There is an upfront cost, but the time saved by not doing everything manually will quickly justify the cost. Plus, people can pay at any time, 24/7.
  3. Calendar – Keep an event and sports calendar on your website (large cities might want one of each). Not only does it help busy citizens to plan on getting from game to game, but it drives a constant flow of traffic to your website. Again, a calendar is only as good as the information so keep it up to date.
  4. Mapping – Using mapping utilities like Google Maps or MSN Live Search can help get people to the right field for the game or the correct place for the event. You can even create custom maps so that people to go on a guided e-tour through the attractions in your city.
  5. Sports Statistics – Everyone loves tracking the statistics for their favorite pro team and now they can do the same for their local city league. Put up score and statistics pages for all of the sports leagues on your website and keep them updated after each game. Use high-traffic pages like this to advertise other events or news around the city.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Mimsware Corporation today announced its acquisition of Catalyst Consulting, a Microsoft-based network infrastructure consulting firm located in Atlanta. For over 7 years, Catalyst has provided managed network services to clients including Brown and Company Jewelers, Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center and Children’s Advocacy Group, Homeside Properties, and Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

In acquiring Catalyst, Mimsware will leverage the firm’s experience to bolster its growing Network Infrastructure team and further build out its own Managed Network Services program. This program will include managed network maintenance, back up, and disaster recovery services for Microsoft-based networks.

Clinton F. Nelms, Principal of Catalyst, will join Mimsware as the Network Infrastructure Practice Manager, overseeing all Network Infrastructure customers and services. Clint brings with him over 10 years of experience in delivering technology consulting to metro Atlanta businesses in the accounting, real estate, health care, and not-for-profit industries. 

"Acquiring Catalyst Consulting is a perfect next step for Mimsware” said Dave Mims, President of Mimsware.  “As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Mimsware offers an umbrella of technology services.  Growing our Network Infrastructure Practice with additional services, staff, and client base is the right move. Clint brings much to the plate.  His technical, management, and customer relationship skills will allow him to shine in his new role as Practice Manager for our Network Infrastructure services."

ABOUT MIMSWARE CORPORATION

Mimsware is an Alpharetta, GA-based business solutions consultancy that uses Microsoft technologies and people-focused consulting to foster stability and growth in any size organization. From custom software and database development to network infrastructure and web content management, Mimsware’s senior level engineers and consultants insure that IT lends strength, flexibility, and value to an organization. Mimsware is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Mimsware Corporation announced today the release of the new website for the City of Vienna, Ga. - www.cityofvienna.org. The city's website was completely rebuilt from the ground up to use MimswareCMS and now has branding and graphical elements that are representative of what this unique city brings to the state of Georgia.

Gail B. Bembry, City Administrator, had this to say about the project: “The new website for the City of Vienna has been a challenge with a great reward. With training from Mimsware, our clerical staff has been successful in compiling information and building pages to make the website work for us. We enjoy being able to navigate, add pictures, and change information as needed. We are very pleased with MimswareCMS and with our partnership with Mimsware.”

Getting information onto the web in an efficient and cost effective manner is important for any organization. MimswareCMS helps by making it easy to update and manage web site content without programming knowledge or special tools. Add content at anytime from anywhere using only a web browser.

ABOUT MIMSWARE CORPORATION

Mimsware is an Alpharetta, GA-based business solutions consultancy that uses Microsoft technologies and people-focused consulting to foster stability and growth in any size organization. From custom software and database development to network infrastructure and web content management, Mimsware’s senior level engineers and consultants insure that IT lends strength, flexibility, and value to an organization. Mimsware is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.

ABOUT CITY OF VIENNA, Ga.

Founded in 1841, Vienna has a rich history and a bright future - our renovated downtown district and commitment to our downtown development has helped to win Vienna recognition as a "City of Excellence" from Georgia Trend Magazine and the Georgia Municipal Association.
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