Dublin City Council Case Study
Delivering Enterprise Web Applications
Dublin City Council (DCC) is responsible for public housing and community, roads and transportation, urban planning and development, amenity and culture and environment. The council has 63 elected members and is the largest local council in Ireland with over 6,200 staff members across the authority.
DCC have a large portfolio of social housing with approx. 27,000 dwellings, which makes them the biggest landlord in the country. DCC are responsible for the repair, maintenance and updating of all their housing stock. There are 300 trade, operations and administrative staff assigned to deliver this service across 8 admin locations.
DCC operate a maintenance system which manages repair requests from council tenants. The maintenance system (OHMS) used by DCC is a robust application but lacked modern digital integrations with other enterprise applications used around the council causing a disconnect resulting in manual, time consuming workflows for business users.
Citizens reported property repair needs over the phone, which council staff then logged into the OHMS system. Once logged, these requests were processed by each of the eight depots. This is carried out by the Foreperson. The Foreperson decides who the work is allocated to. The work could be allocated to the direct labour tradespeople or to outside contractors. This is done by printing the repair requests and physically handing them to the tradespeople and contractors.
Once the foreperson passed on the printed repair requests to the respective tradespeople at the depot, these tradespeople would then proceed to the field to carry out the necessary repairs. Upon completion, each tradesperson would fill out a paper form detailing the finished jobs. Weekly, over 80 tradespeople would submit these completed forms to the foreperson in each of the eight depots. The foreperson would manually update the job completion details back into the Housing Management System (OHMS).
This legacy process was paper based and subject to human error, lengthy delays, and lack of visibility on real-time repair status. The process was ripe for digital transformation, which would allow maintenance records to be collected and reported electronically in a timely fashion, and greatly improve efficiency.
IMGS were tasked with delivering a modern, digitally focused solution to enable depot forepersons to view, analyse, and issue service requests. Tradespeople were to be enabled to view, edit and close service requests from an app, issued to them by their depot foreperson.
With this brief, using FME as the backbone of the processes, IMGS was able to create “FiXiT” a modern desktop & mobile solution which empowered users with all the functionality to monitor and manage services request.
Dublin City Council Housing Repairs Portal
Why was FME the choice for this project?
- IMGS knew that FME was more than just a data mover, as we had over 20 years’ experience working and partnering with FME and Safe Software across multiple organisations.
- From our experience in local government, we knew that FME could be used to provide Enterprise Web Applications which facilitate low-code, self-service portals for use cases like this.
- As DCC were on a local government FME subscription, it removed procurement barriers and allowed us to put together a system prototype very quickly.
- Also, FME is well established and trusted by the IT department in DCC, as they have been using it for over 18 years with approx. 500k FME workspaces running annually.
- It could also be scaled rapidly to meet business needs.
High Level System Architecture
We envisaged 2 workflows for the DCC (OMHS) system:
- To allow the foreperson to see what maintenance jobs are scheduled for a given day or week? What’s pending, what’s been allocated or currently on hold, (due to missing parts or tools).
- Secondly to allow tradespeople in the field to access a progressive web app on their phone and view what jobs have been assigned to them, tenants contact details and GPS directions for each job, all via a button click on one interface.
The high-level workflow comprises user processes, the workflows driving them and the supporting infrastructure.
At the highest level of requirement, the system delivers the following:
- Progressive Web App (PWA) for tradespeople to view & update jobs.
- Web Application for forepersons to assign jobs via their browser.
- Server side, FME Workspaces to facilitate the above business logic.
- Updating of OHMS job status via webservices.
OMHS Digital Transformation Benefits
The shift from the paper based OMHS system to the dynamic digital FME Flow Apps system has made huge improvements in the day to day running of maintenance queries.
- 3 hours per week saved.
- 90 admin days saved annually.
- Faster time to insight and reduced human error.
- 80 tradespeople saving 1 hour daily.
- 400 hours of tradespersons time saved weekly.
- Equal to 5 full time tradespeople per month!
- 21,000 hours a year saved!
- No more printing and faxing.
- +250,000 A4 Pages saved annually.
- Tradespeople no longer required to drive to the depot.
- Greatly improved operational efficiency – near real-time updates (weekly to hourly).
OMHS System Future Enhancements
As with any system there is always a need for improvements and service enhancements. The following future requirements have been identified by DCC:
- SMS Service – Facilitate sending texts to tenants to with an approx. time slot for a tradesperson’s arrival.
- Before & After Pictures – will be helpful for depot management.
- Health & Safety Check List (SSWP).
- Operational Dashboards for Management & Forepersons – will enable concentration of trades staff/ resources where they are needed most.
“We are immensely proud of the transformation achieved with the FME Flow & Flow Apps; a project brought to life through our collaboration with IMGS. This digital overhaul not only streamlines our operations but also empowers our staff with real-time data and tools, thanks to IMGS’s expertise in data intelligence. The savings in time and resources are significant –thousands of hours annually that can now be redirected to enhance our Housing Maintenance operation. This ongoing project stands as a testament to our commitment to innovative solutions for urban management within the public sector and is a milestone in our journey towards a more efficient and sustainable city council”. (Mark Geoghegan, Area Maintenance Officer, Dublin City Council).
At IMGS, data Intelligence and information is at the core of what we do. We have been working closely with our partner Safe Software for over two decades. During this time, IMGS have delivered award winning projects using the FME integration platform for local authorities, government agencies, utilities, and communication organisations.
Safe Software are the creators and developers of FME, a world leading data integration platform with specialised support for spatial data. Based in Vancouver, Canada, they have a team of more than 200 staff with over 150 partners worldwide who are dedicated to helping data users discover the power that their data holds.