December 5, 2012 By News Staff
A lot of government agencies use data analytics behind the scenes to measure program success, but the city of Boston is taking the concept a step further. A new website called Boston About Results (BAR) and the Citizen Insight mobile app let Bostonians view statistics on about 200 different data points, like fire department response times, number of vehicles towed and graffiti incidents.
Boston's Public Works department installed 578 pedestrian ramps this quarter, according to the BAR website. A single click into the Public Works section shows progress over time for seven projects run by the department. The user can view graphs comparing the city's goals with actual data, along with more detailed insights.
The website and the mobile app were the result of a $650,000 contract with software firm SAP America, which the city contracted with to improve its back-end analytics system.
“If you don’t measure the things that you do in the city well — or badly — you can’t do anything about it,” Sean Patrick O’Brien, head of SAP’s urban management and public safety division, told Boston.com. “A lot of cities are intensifying their focus on doing the right things well,” he added.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.