Challenge: Delivering Mobile Milpitas App to Citizens
The Milpitas Information Systems (IS) Department wanted to streamline its system of communicating digitally with citizens. The department investigated turnkey applications specifically made for municipalities, but wanted more control over the application than offered by these applications “We wanted to have a flexible app, where we could build upon services and offerings to our citizens. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley, our citizens are very tech savvy. We did not want to be locked into software that would not let us customize apps for our fast-growing city,” explained Michael Luu, IS Director, City of Milpitas.
The City of Milpitas also wanted to augment their green initiative by communicating digitally via a My Milpitas App. Prior to implementing the My Milpitas App, Milpitas used to send out thousands of paper newsletters to citizens to notify them about news, announce upcoming events, and to provide a directory of Milpitas city resources. “Mailing out City Newsletters did not seem to be an effective way to communicate. We also saw an increased request on being able to communicate with mobile devices. There were also demands from internal staff and directors to have access to resources in the field, so deciding to build an app to serve our citizens became our mobile initiative,” said Luu. We are also very fortunate to have staff that can develop apps for multiple platforms. Workspot has enabled our internal teams to serve the City of Milpitas in real-time and gives us a quick total cost of ownership (TCO).”
The mission of the My Milpitas App was to disseminate the latest news, announce city events, give people a forum to report concerns, and give citizens access to the city’s directory and resources. While the IS team was in the process of building the Milpitas app, they collaborated with the city’s most utilized resources – Public Works, Fire, Police, Building and Safety Departments, surveying each department about the way they would respond to citizen concerns once the app was live.
Solution: Milpitas App Transformed Communications between Citizens and City Officials
Prior to IS launching the My Milpitas App, Luu sought a secure mobility solution to support citizens’ concerns about reporting issues Luu shared, “Our IS team decided to create a “ticketing” system for our citizens, one online resource where citizens could input their concerns,” says Luu. “Citizens could enter a ticket on-line for graffiti or a pothole needed to be filled on their street, and the app could route the requests to the right city resources. We also knew we had to build internal workflow apps to support these requests for our teams that were secure and easy to use.”
The City of Milpitas IS department researched mobile device management (MDM) to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, and selected Workspot. “With Workspot, our pilot set-up took less than an hour to get up and running,” said Luu. Workspot was also sold as advertised, which was important to Luu. “We have a lean IS team and when we are evaluating solutions, a key criteria to selecting a vendor is their approach to their architecture. Workspot’s cloud approach where the data and control is separate stood out to us,’ Luu said. ‘Being able to leverage our Cisco Any Connect VPN investment was important: we didn’t want to add more work to our security team, and not having to purchase or maintain hardware in our data center like a MDM solution was a different approach than the other vendors.”
Benefit: Selecting Workspot helped create a Secure Mobile App Delivery
Delivering the My Milpitas App to its citizens provided unlimited potential for future capabilities. City staff can be equipped with smartphones and tablets to service the app tickets. There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the App.
Public Works teams now have workflows and alerts set up for project approvals and scheduling. “With Workspot, our teams can get notified on tablets and their smart phones in real-time. Approvals have been streamlined and we have been able to communicate back to the citizens in real-time,” reported Luu.
During the building of the My Milpitas App, the Fire Department asked the IS team to build a traffic and fire hydrant app that could respond to emergencies. “Our, Fire and Battalion Chiefs wanted a mobile app to be able to respond to first response alerts. With Workspot, we are able to securely deliver the Fire departments’ app behind the firewall and VPN,” adds Luu.
The Milpitas team still continues to innovate improvements to the My Milpitas App. The city services continue to approach IS with requests to build additional new apps and features to better serve the City of Milpitas. To further its green initiatives, the city is also developing an on-line timesheet application that will increase efficiency for staff on a weekly basis. With the Workspot app installed, Milpitas employees will be able to input their time cards securely using their own mobile devices.
“As we develop more features and apps to service the City of Milpitas, we need to budget for our mobile initiatives and growth. Workspot pricing is not complex like other vendors where they tack on services,” shared by Luu. “Workspot is a flat rate and based on each person, not by per device which gives us a quick total cost of ownership (TCO).”
Delivering the My Milpitas App for updates, news and to report concerns has transformed the city and enables Milpitas to add future services like utility bill presentment and payment in the future. Workspot has delivered critical internal apps, making the Milpitas’ IS mobile strategy complete. “We knew we had to deliver a high-end user experience for our citizens as well as a secure, user experience for our employees. With Workspot, this has enabled our internal teams to serve the City of Milpitas in real-time,” said Luu.