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  City of Tempe

City of Tempe, AZ

"It's the first time I have ever had a vendor come to a demonstrate a product to me which I immediately fell in love with. There was no smoke and mirrors"

Vic Appelt  - Applications Server Supervisor, Tempe  

     
 

The Information Systems department for the City of Tempe, Arizona, home of Arizona State University, has accomplished something that most IS departments still dream of - standardization of client/server development across a diverse organization.

Vic Appelt, Applications Services Supervisor for the City of Tempe, attributes much of the city’s new ability to standardize development efforts to CS/10,000, the network architecture and methodology tool by Client/Server Connection.

Prior to adopting CS/10,000, Tempe’s IS department had been hard-pressed to deliver on the growing demand for faster, more flexible systems. "Thirteen years ago," notes Appelt, "we had two mini-computers and six dumb terminals. I never dreamed that one day I would be in charge of the development, installation and management of software across an enterprise network of over 1,200 PCs."

Over the past several years, as the IS projects grew larger and staff size increased, formalizing and managing projects became increasingly difficult while the technology involved became more complex. Appelt acknowledges that his group’s lack of standardization often led to chaotic development. "We realized the problem and made some attempts to create methodologies and standards in-house. We just didn’t have the time and resources for the effort it would take to formalize our development process ourselves," says Appelt.

"I definitely saw a need for standardization," says Appelt. "I knew that there were products on the market that could help us with standards development efforts; however, they were far too expensive for us, both in terms of money and learning curve."

In April of 1996, the City of Tempe was introduced to CS/10,000. Immediately, Appelt and his team knew it was the solution they had been seeking to standardize their development efforts.
"It’s the first time I have ever had a vendor come in to demonstrate a product to me which I immediately fell in love with," he says. "There was no smoke and mirrors; I knew that CS/10,000 could help our team out. I was also incredibly happy to discover that we could easily afford to bring in CS/10,000." Appelt purchased a six-user pilot license. The CS/10,000 software was initially issued by a team of Tempe’s business analysts for use on laptop computers. Appelt was pleased to find that the process of implementing CS/10,000 was very simple, since the product was so easy to use. "We started working with it immediately, and we spent about two weeks really getting to know the software," he says.

Tempe’s business analysts employed questions from CS/10,000’s Architecture, Task and Estimation Advisors to interview their customers (personnel from the City of Tempe’s agencies) and gather project requirements. CS/10,000’s architecture-driven Product Selector was used by the analysts to determine what additional products their customers would need. Together with Library Customer Services personnel, the analysts used the product selector to research available Interactive Voice Response (IVR) products for an upcoming project.

Using CS/10,000, the analysts have found that not only are they getting better responses due to the standardization of questions, but they are also assured that no issues are slipping through the cracks or being left out of the requirements gathering process.

The complete set of data collected in the field by the business analysts is brought back to the central IS office and integrated into Tempe’s centralized CS/10,000 project repository. This data includes business and technical requirements for all of their upcoming projects, as well as standard documentation.

To date, Appelt’s group has used CS/10,000 to complete the first of six data marts that comprise a $1 million, integrated enterprise-wide data warehouse. The data warehouse provides criminal justice data to law enforcement, social agencies and legal personnel throughout the city.

With a critical and large scale project to manage, Appelt appreciates CS/10,000’s comprehensive, automated documentation facilities. "Our first data mart was designed and developed exclusively with CS/10,000, and we have been extremely pleased with CS/10,000’s support for documentation of this project. It really has provided a world of help for us."

The group also used CS/10,000’s Project Estimator to establish a baseline for the amount of time it would take to implement the project. "It was amazing!" Appelt exclaims. "The CS/10,000 estimate was only one or two months off from what we had originally expected."

"Everybody has been impressed by CS/10,000," Appelt asserts. "We now have a routine way of working together to design, manage and document projects. Also, communication with our other city agencies is becoming much easier."

In the near future, Tempe plans to utilize CS/10,000 for upcoming projects in several other departments, including customer support services, the technical services group, and the planning and research group.

"The best news," says Appelt, "is that we have formalized our methodology, but we haven’t had to spend hundreds of hours to get there. We can now enforce proper planning, and CS/10,000 has given us a level of standardization that we never had before. From this point forward, we will not do a major project without using CS/10,000."

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