City of Irving, Texas Drives $25 Million in Revenue With Performance Analytics

WebFOCUS PMF Helps to Eliminate Waste, Improve Citizen Satisfaction for Texas Community

The City of Irving is the 13th largest city in the state of Texas. The city government supports 24 service departments, including law enforcement and compliance, fire protection and emergency medical, water and sewer, refuse collection, street maintenance and traffic management, parks, libraries, recreational and cultural programming, and capital improvements. On the national level, Irving is one of just two municipalities to have received the Malcolm Baldrige Award, the highest presidential honor given to organizations that exhibit performance excellence.

While the city was relatively comfortable with the existing performance measurements it had in place, managers wanted to further their ability to create a true culture of transparency and – more importantly – accountability. Historically, performance measurement in the city was activity-based. Annual reports were not tied to departmental goals and funding allocations. As a result, measurement selections and outcomes were not adequately discussed.

“We tracked how many work orders were completed and how many phone calls were answered,” recalls Aimee Kaslik, performance administrator for the City of Irving. “But we really needed to make our measurements and key performance indicators (KPIs) more meaningful.”

The city turned to Information Builders and implemented its WebFOCUS Performance Management Framework (PMF) to measure and improve performance in the city. PMF has enabled Kaslik and her colleagues to establish and communicate executive strategy across the organization and align actions with goals. “We can manage, measure, and improve performance through dashboards, strategic scorecards, and user-friendly interactive reports,” Kaslik continues. “Now the city can define related metrics and involve pertinent stakeholders in monitoring and measuring progress – all from a single, intuitive, easy-to-access environment.

“We made the right decision by going with PMF,” adds Kaslik. “Our measures are tied to our strategic plan and are reflective of key work processes and regulatory and customer requirements. PMF has been a huge improvement for our performance measurement system.”

A Fast and Effective Implementation

It took only three months to implement the new performance management system, including migrating data, configuring dashboards, tailoring interactive reporting capabilities, and training users. Partnering with Information Builders Professional Services helped jumpstart the project. “The consultant helped us determine how we could launch the project exactly the way we needed it to be,” says Kaslik. “That was significant for us. Implementation was very easy from start to finish. PMF provided a great way to deliver data to department directors and city management to see where we had gaps and where there were opportunities to make improvements.” 

Decisions quickly became data driven as the culture started to review the dashboards to track goals and monitor exceptions. Kaslik says users were quick to adopt the system as they realized the benefits of improved reporting functionality. “In our old system just the simple act of updating data was a tedious process,” she confirms. “We had to take multiple steps to revise the data and during that time the system was unavailable to other users. People immediately saw the advantages to PMF.”

Strategic Planning and Process Efficiency

Today, Irving has a fully deployed strategic planning process integrated with key customer requirements that includes input from residents, businesses, visitors, and employees. The eight-step process shares results and goals through multiple methods, including quarterly reports and regular presentations to the city council and city management. Stakeholder involvement helps prevent potential blind spots while aligning the strategic plan with work functions that reflect the city’s mission, values, and vision.

Kaslik describes it as a centralized, cascading data collection system with KPIs tied to strategic actions, strategies, and goals as well as functional areas within individual departments. “In sum, we track nearly 500 measures,” she says. “More importantly, 89 percent of our employees can tell you exactly where they fall in this measurement system and how they contribute to the overall success of the organization.”

The annual strategic planning process also is aligned with the city budget. Leaders identify resource-saving operational initiatives to offset potential shortfalls; implement the Lean Six Sigma concept of process enhancements; and use planning, reporting, training, and monitoring tools to deliver high levels of service while managing risks.

Lean Six Sigma prescribes a management focus on the information that can be gleaned from performance data. “If a department wants to request an additional service or more personnel, additional funding, for example, we say, ‘Show us the data that supports this request,’” explains Kaslik. “Show us what you’ve done to address that need before we allocate any additional resources. The new metrics and measurements help us align our budgeting processes with our strategic planning processes so we know precisely what to focus on and how to allocate resources. PMF delivers the data for our decisions.”

City leaders credit the new performance management system as a crucial factor in their receipt of the Malcolm Baldrige Award. Baldrige is a performance excellence program that focuses on strategic planning, leadership, workforce and customer needs, process improvement, and performance measures. To be considered for this award, organizations have to show the results of their performance – and that’s precisely what PMF delivers. “I truly believe that PMF helped us to get organized and helped us to excel in the category of performance measures that satisfied award requirements,” notes Kaslik. “It really was a plus for us and helped us on our way.”

Tracking Progress and Analyzing Trends

By having analyzed key work processes through Lean Six Sigma, with a focus on data maintained in PMF, the city reduced variation, eliminated waste, increased workforce productivity, and saved or avoided costs. For example, the city has significantly increased the number of commercial plans reviewed within six business days from 34 percent in 2008 to nearly 100 percent today. Irving’s focus on process efficiency has resulted in more than $44 million in cost savings, more than 50,000 hours of increased productivity, and $25 million in increased revenues, according to statistics developed in conjunction with the award.

Focusing on its strategic plan has become easier with PMF scorecards. City leaders have established ten goals in the plan with a scorecard for each goal. For example, land use and economic development scorecards help ensure vital neighborhoods and a safe, secure city with recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities. Other goals include diversity, sound government, infrastructure improvements, and environmental stewardship. Scorecards for team leaders reveal how they’re performing and how all their strategy actions are tracking to the strategic plan.

Irving uses a Lean Six Sigma scorecard to continuously monitor those processes that have been reviewed and improved through Lean Six Sigma. PMF makes sure that they’re staying in line with their control measures and, if not, PMF indicators show where focus is needed.

As a means of obtaining citizen feedback on the level of service performance, Irving solicits resident input through a resident survey every 12 to 18 months. PMF tracks the data and provides a history for trend analysis. Leadership can see, for example, how well Code Enforcement is performing. “That group typically doesn’t rank well among residents,” states Kaslik, “but since using data to make decisions and focusing our improvement efforts, we’ve seen a 30-point increase in how our residents rank that department’s performance as ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’ This is just one of the outcomes brought about by focusing on our data. PMF has moved us further in our performance measurement programs, and the reporting is by far superior to anything we’ve had before. It helps us visually see where we need to focus. That has been key for us.”