REVIEWER: David Edwards, program management officer for the City of Atlanta.

BACKGROUND: Atlanta is a world-class city, the commercial and cultural heart of the New South. Atlanta has grown into a financial leader and is home to offices of 400 of the Fortune 500 companies. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, with a population of more than 450,000 residents. The Office of the Mayor is responsible for the daily administration and operation of the city. With 8,000 employees, the city provides basic municipal services for public safety, operations, internal support and management of Hartsfield International Airport.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000 server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Upon taking office, Mayor Shirley Franklin articulated a strategy to change the operating model of the City of Atlanta, making it more outcomes oriented and customer centric. The City had faced some big problems including a deficit, neglected operations, low morale and a lack of availability of valuable management information. The public sector faces unique challenges when it comes to performance management; local government is a conglomerate of at least 15 very different lines of business, with no financial "roll-up" that converts all operations to a single comparable metric. As a result, we sought a solution that could meet our specific needs. Using CorVu CorStrategy.Scorecard, we have created The Atlanta Dashboard, which provides periodic operating statistics that convey the state of the city, increases accountability and allows the public to easily understand the performance of city services. The design of the dashboard reflects the strategic priorities of the mayor, thereby ensuring that departmental operations are aligned directly with the overall strategy of the city. Using the dashboard as the central management tool, the mayor sets performance goals, tracks progress against those goals and holds managers accountable. The city is currently rolling the dashboard out to all of its subsidiary departments, providing department heads and their managers with the ability to create departmental-level dashboards, which they can use to manage the operations within their own departments. The public sector has not traditionally embraced the concept of outcomes-oriented performance management, but this is changing. The availability of these types of tools is helping to make it possible.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CorStrategy.Scorecard offers flexible scoring at all scorecard levels, interactive cause-and-effect diagrams, strategy modeling, integrated initiative management and collaborative communication. Currently, all measures are entered manually, but eventually we will be linking directly to all of our legacy databases. In the near future, we will begin to publish The Atlanta Dashboard online, sharing the higher levels of our performance results with the community.

STRENGTHS: CorStrategy.Scorecard is extremely easy to use. CorStrategy is a 100- percent Web-based enterprise performance management solution; the City of Atlanta will soon begin communicating performance to the entire community through a performance portal. Atlanta is one of the first cities to provide such detailed information online, and CorStrategy has helped us to achieve this goal.

WEAKNESSES: The user interface of CorStrategy could be sleeker and more interesting, but I understand that the forthcoming release will include enhanced visualization options.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The City of Atlanta required an easy-to-use, highly functional and flexible, but affordable solution. We researched vendors through analyst reports and determined finalists. CorVu's CorStrategy.Scorecard met all of our requirements. We were particularly impressed by the ease of implementation and use. We have been able to train dozens of users with little investment. The user interface is very intuitive and therefore has encouraged us to decentralize the design and development of individual scorecards. This reduces the need for central administrative support while engendering ownership throughout the organization.

DELIVERABLES: CorStrategy.Scorecard delivers performance dashboards, scorecard presentations and the ability to publish online performance portfolios, empowering our staff with the information they need to make better decisions for the city. Our balanced scorecards are dynamic, offering the ability to drill into underlying analyses and reports for further detail. Also, scorecard owners are kept abreast of measures that fall below set standards. With CorStrategy, we have been able to reallocate resources based upon performance analyses.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CorVu has gone to terrific lengths to ensure that all requirements were met pre- and post-implementation. We have been impressed by both the on-site and remote support that we have been given.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is very easy to understand.

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