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Case Study 2 min read
New processes and work management technologies help the city of Bismarck achieve its goal of reliable, timely, cost-effective service delivery.

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The client

The city of Bismarck, N.D., has a rapidly growing population of over 67,000 and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating multiple service areas to efficiently meet the public’s service-level expectations.  
 

The challenge 

Bismarck’s delivery of public services involves over 20 areas and a $600 million infrastructure base. Many departments had stand-alone or disconnected work management systems (WMS), preventing business units from sharing a common line of sight across the organization. Information capture and flow were hampered by inconsistent manual processes, and citizens and staff alike were frustrated when service delivery did not meet expectations. The city was seeking one, shared WMS to receive and properly route public requests and to coordinate staff work activities citywide — responsively and effectively. 

The solution

The city formed an executive-level steering committee of individuals who oversee service delivery in key areas. The committee engaged our experts to conduct a comprehensive business needs evaluation, develop a business strategy, and help select an off-the-shelf WMS platform. 

Our information technology consultants conducted a large-scale process review, engaging city staff and leadership in facilitated sessions to identify the complex business needs of 20 core service areas: utilities, public works, facilities management, public safety, airport operations, and others. This led to a specific, objective, set of outcomes for the entire organization: 
  • A current-state gap assessment that identified issues, opportunities, and recommendations for work management best practices. 
  • Proven techniques to improve information quality and accessibility for infrastructure decision support. 
  • Practices to harness the new WMS to support reliable service delivery from public infrastructure throughout an asset’s planned lifespan and prevent unexpected capital replacement costs and resulting rate increases. 
  • Performance measures to demonstrate improved productivity and efficiency, enabled by the ability to capture the right information for fact-based, decision support. 
  • Practices to harness the new WMS to support reliable service delivery from public infrastructure throughout an asset’s planned lifespan and prevent unexpected capital replacement costs and resulting rate increases. 
  • Performance measures to demonstrate improved productivity and efficiency, enabled by the ability to capture the right information for fact-based, decision support. 
  • Recommendations specific to each service area’s distinct operational needs to facilitate full adoption of the shared WMS, including portable, handheld devices to provide real-time statuses to staff and citizens on service requests from start to finish. 

The benefit

The city of Bismarck identified ways to support its business needs across all service areas through new processes and work management technologies to achieve its goal of delivering reliable, timely, cost-effective service delivery. The city’s inclusive approach achieved:
  • Increased visibility of work activities citywide. 
  • Improved responsiveness to all citizen inquiries. 
  • Greater accessibility to asset histories to improve decision-making. Improved documentation and workflow use to enforce operational practices. 
  • Improved efficient capture of direct time involved to better manage assets. 
  • Improved retention of institutional work knowledge. 
  • Expanded capability to capture and route staff and citizen communications including web browsers, mobile applications, in-person visits, over the phone, 311 systems, etc. 
  • Improved access to information to support asset replacement vs. overhaul decisions. 
  • Effective scheduling of planned and unplanned work activities across service areas, resulting in increased productivity and rebalanced workloads to manage variations in demand (winter snow removal, summer construction). 

"The city of Bismarck really appreciated the support, expertise, and patience of Plante Moran as we made our way through the assessment and selection phases. It’s been a great pleasure working with Plante Moran and their government technology and operations management consultants assigned to the project."
— KEITH HUNKE, City Administrator for the city of Bismarck