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Budgets / Municipal government

RFPs going live for city’s $120 million project to upgrade IT: “Anyone out there who’s been waiting for an opportunity to participate, this is it,” says CIO

The city's $120 million initiative to upgrade its IT isn't just about technology, says Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid. It's about transforming the way the city's agencies work.

The front of the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall, where much of city IT leadership is based, featuring the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo.

The city’s $120 million initiative to upgrade its IT isn’t just about technology, says Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid. It’s about transforming the way the city’s agencies work.

The project, which was first announced under the city’s previous CIO Allan Frank back in 2010, is an unprecedented, six-year investment in revolutionizing the city’s workflow and efficiency.

“This is a historic moment in Philadelphia’s history,” says Ebeid, “where we’re going to spend $120 million to modernize the city.”

Technically Philly caught up with Ebeid to get preliminary details on how the money will be spent.

But first, here’s Ebeid’s vision of how the initiative will play out: His office, the Office of Innovation and Technology, will oversee the upgrades and provide an “engagement manager” to communicate OIT’s viewpoints, but Ebeid says he hopes to empower city agencies to take ownership of their respective projects.

He wants to focus on transparency throughout the upgrades and make sure that city offices know how the project is coming along. There will be a project review board, composed of members appointed by the mayor, that will be responsible for tracking the initiative’s progress, Ebeid says.

$12-$15 million will be spent on planning and support for the whole initiative, Ebeid says. The contractor will perform duties like business process analysis — determining how an agency can be more efficient — but not implementation, Ebeid says.  The Inquirer reported on this contract earlier this month. Check out the RFP on the city’s website (only viewable with Internet Explorer though you can see the RFP itself in PDF form here).

Here are the eight areas Mayor Michael Nutter has prioritized for the project (though, Ebeid says, this does not preclude other upgrades):

  • Licenses and permits system
  • The city’s cashiering systems, which deal with how the city collects money, Ebeid says, like taxes, violations or permitting fees. This contract is for $1-2 million.
  • Property data and computer aided mass appraisal (CAMA) system, which the city’s property data chief Saskia Thompson spoke to Technically Philly about earlier this year.
  • Workforce management (Human resources, pensions, etc)
  • The city’s 311 non-emergency call center system.
  • Inmate management system.
  • “Revenue modernization,” which refers to “a handful of small systems that support the the Department of Revenue,” Ebeid says.
  • Preliminary arraignment reporting system (PARS), the city’s “offender system,” that Ebeid says almost every public safety office uses.

The Licenses & Inspections RFP (viewable here) and the cashiering systems RFP were the first two to go up (as well as the overall planning RFP) and have already closed. Next up is the 311 call center RFP, Ebeid says.

As for a timeline, Ebeid says cashiering and 311 will “unfold next year.” While some projects will take longer than others, Ebeid says if his office can complete the majority of the eight system upgrades in the next three years, that would be a success.

The city will consider every firm, big or small, for the contracts, Ebeid says.

“So anyone out there who’s been waiting for an opportunity to participate, this is it,” he says. “We’re not going to have this chance again.”

Companies: City of Philadelphia / Licenses and Inspections
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