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Software gets a much-needed upgrade

| Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cranberry will spend up to $250,000 over the next six months to upgrade software municipal employees use to track $60 million in assets -- everything from fire trucks to manhole covers.

The software, developed by Hansen Information Solutions in Rancho Cordova, Calif., also tracks customer requests and complaints, aids with enforcement of zoning ordinances and allows repairs and work orders to be processed electronically.

Last year, the township handled 10,500 work orders, 7,500 service requests and collected $2 million in fees, chief township information officer Jonathan Zygmunt said.

"It wasn't too long ago we used to shuffle around these service requests on pieces of paper," township Manager Jerry Andree said.

Implementing the upgrade will increase efficiency and accountability, he said.

The current version of the Hansen software focuses on collecting and managing information, and creating reports based on that data, Zygmunt said. Each township employee works with the same set of tools, whether or not they are needed.

The upgraded software will allow each employee to tailor the software to his or her specific responsibilities, Zygmunt said.

Township workers can also use the new software to generate maps that pinpoint the location of a troublesome manhole cover, he said. In the past the township had to hire someone with mapping software expertise to turn satellite coordinates into maps.

"Rather than having to think like a computer, I can think like a person," Zygmunt said.

Other features include to-do lists; a "digital dashboard" that helps managers see quickly whether or not projects are on time; an appointment calendar; and handles the township's e-mail, Zygmunt said.

The fund supervisors approved for the upgrade on March 3 includes setting up the new software and re-training employees, Zygmunt said. The cost of the software was included in the price of the original software.

Zygmunt said similar projects have come in under budget and he anticipates the actual cost of the Hansen upgrade will be around $154,000.

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