Incorporated in 2003, the City of Maricopa in Arizona is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country with an approximate population of 52,000 residents from a variety of different cultural backgrounds.

Over the years, city leaders realized the need for a robust IT vision to serve the community efficiently and achieve customer excellence. In early 2019, Avèro Advisors were asked to conduct a city-wide IT and Operations Analysis to gain a thorough understanding of the city’s IT platform (infrastructure, staffing levels, processes, operations, systems and software.) To approach the project objectives of this initiative, Avèro’s team conducted insights into the current (AS-IS) state of the IT environment by working with various stakeholders (e.g., Directors, departmental staff, business process owners).

During the discovery interviews, Avèro gathered data from stakeholders about how their respective departments’ experience with IT, in terms of service delivery, and identified existing pain points. Our project team also conducted a series of visioning sessions to capture “wish list” improvements for the desired future state (TO-BE), where departmental processes are strategically aligned with technology. Based upon crucial findings gathered from these interactive sessions, Avèro conducted a thorough Gap Analysis to uncover any hidden flaws and identify inherent gaps between the “AS-IS” state and the city’s aspirations for the “TO-BE” state. Our team also performed an IT Best Practices Analysis to identify some best practices demonstrated by local governments to alleviate gaps similar to those identified at the City of Maricopa.

The final deliverable for this initiative was an IT Modernization Strategic Plan that explicitly addressed the gaps identified regarding the city’s operations and technology. The IT strategies were presented to city management, where a collaborative effort was made to prioritize them appropriately, based on urgency and budgetary feasibility. This IT Modernization Strategic Plan served as a guideline for the organization’s IT investment decisions and efforts in the next three years.

Completed in April 2019, the following items were some of the IT modernization strategies that Avèro Advisors developed to assist the City of Maricopa in achieving the objectives of this initiative:

Establish Periodic IT Skill Gap Review Process

Lack of a deep-rooted IT talent management prevented IT staff from delivering efficient services. Avèro recommended an establishment of a formal periodic IT skill gap review process to evaluate the current skill level of existing IT staff and determine areas for improvement, along with the development of a training plan, succession plan, and a recruitment and retention plan.

Update IT Policies and Procedures

Failure to maintain relevant policies and procedures for managing systems and IT-related service requests placed the City of Maricopa in a position of vulnerability as it related enforcement and expenditures on inappropriate use of IT infrastructure.

Avèro suggested the development of an Enterprise Architecture Plan, policies and hardware and software standards for computer usage, remote and internet access, IT equipment procurement, etc. The detailed action steps for this recommendation acted as a guideline to achieve success and lead to an establishment of a formal process for managing projects that allowed the city to keep its stakeholders apprised of the progression of the project from initiation to execution to closure.

Implement citizen self-service portal

Lack of an optimized self-service portal for citizen records requests prevented the city from interacting and serving its residents efficiently and effectively. To help the organization keep up with growing demands for human services, Avèro recommended Maricopa evaluate Customer Relationship Management functionality within its existing ERP system (Tyler Munis) and determine if the level of citizen/city engagement required was supported sufficiently. Avèro provided a comprehensive list of action steps to lead the city’s efforts to conduct the analysis and identify solutions that best met the needs of Maricopa and its community.

Consider cloud-based email system

The existing self-hosted Microsoft Exchange application reached maximum capacity and needed to be upgraded to continue to provide a functional & secure email system. Avèro suggested Maricopa implement a cloud-based email system to increase flexible scalability, improve data security, simplify administration for managing version control issues, and enhance remote access as well as cost savings.

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