A year ago the Citywide Performance Delivery group at the Office of the Mayor of Atlanta was given the mandate to find an alternative to IBM Cognos, the BI solution used at the time. The city considered Cognos to be a very difficult to use and expensive legacy BI provider. The group wanted to find a solution to modernize city’s reporting and analytics needs and save money, but also to put Atlanta on the path of becoming a more data-driven city.
The goal was to find an economical service that lets city employees quickly analyze data across 18 departments, from 911 dispatches, speeding tickets and arrests to road repairs and city revenues. The new BI tool had to be easy to implement and wouldn’t break the bank. Ultimately, what was needed was a BI solution that could become Atlanta’s new dashboard, putting key metrics and insights into the hands of several hundred analysts and top city officials.
The breakthrough came at a hackathon organized around city data, when a participant demoed cloud BI provider BIME Analytics to city representatives. BIME was eventually chosen over other vendors such as Tableau, based on its cost-effectiveness, ease of use and being very self-service oriented. As a pure cloud BI solution, it made mining performance data fast and sharing it with many stakeholders much easier for the city.
“With dropbox sync there is no more bottleneck”
After being up and running in a matter of days, Matt Malament’s team with Citywide Performance Delivery collects data from 18 different departments, ingesting around 300 metrics on a monthly basis. Because of its cloud-based connector to Dropbox, city employees can enter their data into a spreadsheet at any time, have it connected to metadata and give analysts immediate access to the data.
“We get better access to our data and get answers faster”
In sum, cloud BI has made Atlanta a more self-aware and data-driven community whose administration can ask better and more complex questions in the moment and deliver concise answers and insights to top managers. Analysts can immediately drill down and visualize key performance indicators (KPI) as well as identify emerging trends that impact city services. The most compelling result is a city “heat map” presented in a monthly two-pager to the city’s leadership.
The next step for Atlanta is already on the horizon. Starting in early 2014, the city will use its cloud BI tool to give citizens access to KPIs and performance dashboards on its website.