Technology Enablement on the Way to a Smart, Vibrant, and Entrepreneurial City

City of Fishers: Tech Enablement

Setting the Stage

In 2016, Mayor Scott Fadness had a strong vision for what was ahead for the City of Fishers. He also realized that they had one big component holding them back: how they were using their technology and data. At the time, the City of Fishers was having to manually consolidate data points across innumerable platforms and applications, and manually execute data entry and other operational processes – so the question became, how can we become more efficient? How can our data enable us, instead of slow us down? How can the right technology push us forward in the direction we’d like to go?

“If I could venture a guess, I’d say there’s no city around without a horror story of software development.” – Mayor Scott Fadness, City of Fishers

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Problem

The City of Fishers had 114 apps in use when it brought in KSM Consulting for a Technology Assessment, which helped them identify areas for improved technological proficiencies.

“It was far too many,” said Deputy Mayor Elliott Hultgren. “Maintaining antiquated apps became IT’s side job, which was just kicking the can down the road.”

With all that legacy software patchworked together, Fishers’s systems lacked cohesion, and its team struggled with frustration. Moreover, there was no overarching technology strategy that was in alignment with what they were trying to accomplish overall, which was to become a smart, vibrant, entrepreneurial city. Clunky processes and data management meant that answering even a seemingly simple question as the mayor worked toward his ambitious plans for the city necessitated several hours and multiple spreadsheets.

“We looked like a Cadillac,” Mayor Fadness said, “but we had a Pinto engine.”

 

“Maintaining antiquated apps became IT’s side job,
which was just kicking the can down the road.”

– Deputy Mayor Elliott Hultgren

Solution

“We didn’t have the experience to do it alone,” Mayor Fadness said. “KSM Consulting took the time to understand our culture and understand who the City of Fishers was—what we were trying to do and accomplish—and then came right along with us, which is what allowed us to be successful.”

From KSM Consulting’s perspective, it was top priority to determine all of the key components to build enterprise software that would properly connect all of the critical pillars, to aid in better efficiency and overall decision making.

The widespread modernization effort included payroll and financial software, a document management system, and multifactor authentication, all of which needed to function seamlessly and efficiently to free employees from paper, time-sucking processes, and tedium that inhibited the kind of growth and creativity Mayor Fadness craved.

Creating Fishers’s Business Solutions Group was an important part of that push. Four BSG employees serve as change agents who lead day-to-day tech solutioning. They’re the problem solvers who keep the gears turning and the city moving forward.

Impact

Taking the “partner” approach, instead of the “project” approach, greatly enhanced the quality of the work completed, in addition to expediting the timeline. “The project approach often takes cities and governments years. Having a partner that not only understands you, but the overarching vision and strategy really sped things along” said the Mayor.

“Our data and information structure is immensely more sophisticated now than it was four to five years ago,” Mayor Fadness said. “Now that the structure is in place, we are able to spend our time solving problems.”

Rather than entering data or working through inefficient systems, city employees are freed to explore ideas. They can dive in immediately to dashboards, apps, and technology that enables them to consume data and work through the issues it presents.

“Those insatiably curious employees… if we are feeding them with information and data, we have a strong belief that they will come up with ideas and correlations that would not have been possible before,” Mayor Fadness said.

“The data EMPOWERS people. Our job is to create a culture and mindset to look for these opportunities daily and go solve them.”

– Mayor Scott Fadness, City of Fishers