- The mayor of Salt Lake Metropolis created the Innovation Workforce to modernize the town’s enterprise processes.
- The staff plans to fully overhaul the town’s monetary, human assets, and payroll techniques.
- Thus far it has transitioned authorities software program to Workday and began conducting resident surveys.
- This text is a part of a collection centered on American cities constructing a greater tomorrow referred to as “Advancing Cities.”
Salt Lake Metropolis Mayor Erin Mendenhall created the Innovation Workforce in 2021 to foster a “tradition of innovation” and modernize the town’s enterprise processes to enhance transparency, streamline inefficiencies, and higher use information to make selections.
The four-person staff, which is led by Nole Walkingshaw, the town’s chief innovation officer, is overhauling Salt Lake Metropolis’s monetary, human assets, and payroll techniques. It falls underneath the town’s Data Administration Companies division.
“The massive thrust of the Innovation Workforce is to concentrate on inside providers,” Walkingshaw instructed Insider. He stated the staff shouldn’t be public-facing, however its work will in the end profit the general public by heightening transparency and serving to Salt Lake Metropolis transfer towards data-driven decision-making and program-based budgeting, the place funds for issues like infrastructure and packages for weak residents might be distributed primarily based on predicted outcomes.
“We will not obtain these objectives with out going by a fairly critical reconstruction of how we handle funds and human assets within the metropolis,” he stated.
Walkingshaw, a Salt Lake Metropolis native who’s labored for the town in numerous roles for twenty-four years, stated he is enthusiastic about instilling a “change tradition” amongst metropolis departments and innovating its behind-the-scenes processes. “It is that funding sooner or later that is actually vital,” he stated.
Here is a have a look at how the Innovation Workforce is driving digital transformation and planning for the longer term.
Revamping Salt Lake Metropolis’s monetary techniques to spice up effectivity
Salt Lake Metropolis’s monetary system has been a “sophisticated mess” for the reason that early Nineteen Nineties, Walkingshaw stated. The town has been utilizing almost 30 several types of software program throughout 15 totally different departments.
The Innovation Workforce is working to combine and streamline the system. To begin, they partnered with the Authorities Finance Officers Affiliation (GFOA) to restructure the town’s chart of accounts, an inventory of accounts for recording monetary transactions within the group’s common ledger which might be the “architectural construction of the monetary system,” Walkingshaw stated.
The town started utilizing the software program Workday in July as its enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) instrument to handle its folks, cash, and belongings. Workday replaces the a number of, outdated packages the town had been utilizing and combines every little thing on one platform.
Walkingshaw’s staff started coaching metropolis workers on the brand new software program earlier than it was applied by explaining why the town was shifting to a brand new system and the right way to use it. They plan to conduct unit testing periodically and host follow-up coaching.
Transitioning to program-based budgeting
The brand new monetary system will assist Salt Lake Metropolis transfer towards project-based accounting and budgeting, which Walkingshaw stated could take a while.
Metropolis leaders will achieve higher perception into how a lot is being spent on totally different packages, resembling for the homeless or neighborhood providers, and use information to be extra deliberate about allocating funds.
“Then, over a few funds cycles, we’ll transition away from the previous line-item funds in direction of program-based, and ideally performance-based, budgeting,” Walkingshaw stated. This can present extra inside and exterior transparency within the budgeting course of, which can assist the town keep organized and higher allocate its spending.
The staff can also be engaged on enhancing the method for capital tasks, resembling upgrading or constructing new infrastructure. They’ve additionally launched a “Challenge Administration Toolkit” to assist metropolis managers plan and implement new tasks.
Surveying residents to grasp their priorities
The Innovation Workforce can also be liable for Salt Lake Metropolis’s resident surveys, that are performed each different yr to gauge residents’ approval of metropolis providers, emotions about their neighborhoods, and the way they like to speak with the town. The following survey is in 2023.
Walkingshaw stated they’re working to restructure the survey to put extra concentrate on metropolis packages to see what the neighborhood values and what’s most helpful from a monetary standpoint.
They’ve additionally achieved funds surveys to study residents’ priorities for metropolis spending. Within the final funds survey in 2021, residents recommended the town focus spending on atmosphere and sustainability, recreation, housing affordability, and supporting small companies. The staff plans to start out holding funds panels this fall, the place residents are invited to debate particular funds points, like building, police and hearth division points, and housing.
Boosting digital fairness
Digital fairness is one other focus for the Innovation Workforce. Salt Lake Metropolis adopted a digital fairness coverage in September 2020 to extend reasonably priced entry to broadband web and dependable units.
The town launched Metropolis Join in 2020, which provides public Wi-Fi in neighborhood facilities and parks. A partnership with Comcast Elevate Zone provides broadband at neighborhood studying facilities and services that help the town’s Youth and Household Companies packages.
The staff can also be engaged on a venture to donate laptops that metropolis departments now not must the neighborhood. Walkingshaw stated the town at the moment sells about 500 laptops — which have been scrubbed of delicate information — a yr to an auctioneer. The computer systems are auctioned off to people who then resell them for a revenue. Quickly, the town will as a substitute donate round 200 of those computer systems to neighborhood companions that assist weak teams, like homeless and refugee communities.
Although it is simply getting began, the Innovation Workforce is already making progress. Walkingshaw stated the staff will proceed shifting priorities to drive digital transformation and assist Salt Lake Metropolis modernize its operations.
“I am excited to see what that consequence might be over time,” he stated. “We’re a staff of individuals which might be advantageous with shifting priorities. To me, that is thrilling.”