The Geneva City Council voted 7-2 Monday night to spend up to $515,000 to overhaul the city's computer software, uniting multiple city departments under one system.
Provided by New World Systems, the "enterprise resource planning" software will allow citizens to view utility account history and make payments online and allow city employees to see payroll history, accruals and personnel information.
"All of these eSuite modules will provide a greater level of customer services to our employees and the citizens we serve," said Assistant City Administrator Stephanie K. Dawkins in a summary to the City Council. For a limited time, you can see a PDF of the full packet of city information by clicking here, then clicking on this link: http://www.geneva.il.us/agendas/cc.pdf.
Two aldermen said they understand that the old software needs replacing but voted against the purchase agreement Monday night because of its expense.
"I just think there’s a lower-cost alternative out there," 2nd Ward Alderman Richard Marks said. "I can’t believe that a half-million dollars is the lowest price you can get."
First Ward Alderman Sam Hill said he voted against the motion "for the same reasons as last week," when he voted against recommending the proposal at the .
"Since then, I've received several e-mails from constituents saying how happy they were that I voted it down—and one of them's a software expert," Hill said.
The city's present software is two decades old.
In order to conserve resources, staff took on the task of comparing software systems rather than hiring a consultant.
Areas that staff identified as ripe for productivity and efficiency improvement are:
- The ability to handle complex finances (unable to do so with MSI without having to create numerous work arounds) in order to streamline financial processes.
- Allow individual departments to share information in a standardized way.
- Eliminate multiple systems and reduce duplication.
- Ease of on-line inquiry and reporting of relevant data. The current MSI system does not provide for on-line inquiry and the report writer is far from user friendly.
- Integration with off-the-shelf Microsoft Office applications, Outlook, Excel and Word.
- Allow self-service opportunities for Utility Billing Customers.
- Better budgeting tool and tracking.
- Citywide salary and benefit projections for budget (currently accomplished through multiple spreadsheets and manual entry over a three- to four-week process).
- Purchasing controls as purchase order are processed electronically and routed for approvals through work flow rather than a manual, paper driven process.
- Better miscellaneous billing capabilities. Departments currently rely on manual record keeping.
- Incorporate best practices (improve citywide efficiencies).
- Time sheets online and employee self-service.
- Timely end-user and technical support.
- Need a product that is used by other local communities to allow for networking among users.
- Allow city staff to inquire and enter information based on assigned security levels.
- Minimize the number of Excel spreadsheets used for supplemental reporting.
- Uniform look and feel across modules and functions to allow ease of training, cross-training and overall acceptance of the application.
"Based upon the responses to the RFP, on-site demonstrations, and client references New World is best suited to fit the city’s needs both short and long term. Additionally, because New World is also an ERP client of Kane County, Geneva will be able leverage parts of their installed hardware and software infrastructure to provide redundancy, off-site backup, and additional technical support for our daily operations," Dawkins said in the report.