PredPol, a SaaS product, eliminates the need for capital investment in software and is less expensive than a full-fledged business intelligence platform. It can be extended, however, and has the capability to perform additional analytics. Officers are now requesting that additional types of crime be built into the system, so the SCPD plans to expand its analyses into street crimes such as robberies and assaults.
PredPol achieves a delicate balance between sophistication and usability. "It was important not to increase the complexity of what officers already had to do on the street," says Jeff Brantingham, cofounder of PredPol and chief of R&D. "Although the mathematics are complex, the ‘hot spot' boxes tell the officers in a straightforward way where they can have the greatest impact." The several hundred inquiries that the company has received from law enforcement agencies reflect the need for an affordable and effective solution to the challenge of reducing crime at a time when resources are tight.
Greater efficiency in serving the public
The California Public Records Act is intended to ensure government accountability by providing prompt access to government files. Requests for such information can come in to government offices from constituents, lawyers, the media and many others. Because the scope of the requests can be very broad—for example, all records related to a construction proposal, or payroll records for a given time period—they can be very time-consuming to fulfill.
In Sacramento, Calif., requests for public records were fielded by multiple offices, which resulted in processes that were inconsistent and sometimes duplication of responses. "We thought this process was an excellent candidate for the efficiencies that automated workflow could bring," says Dawn Bullwinkel, assistant city clerk. Having tested xCP, a business process management suite from EMC Documentum, in a pilot project, the Office of the City Clerk decided to develop an application to automate those responses.
Departments are being brought online systematically, beginning with those that receive the highest volume of requests. "The goal is to have all requests handled centrally and tracked by xCP," continues Bullwinkle. "As each department comes on stream, we are able to quickly determine who has made the request, whether it is a duplicate and when it was made. We also can tell which records are most requested. This information is now driving our digitization process and Web delivery."
The initial rollout of the workflow freed the time of three full-time employees, who have been reassigned to work on tasks that had been deferred, and additional staff will be freed for other tasks as the xCP system expands. "The system has provided cost savings as well as improved our ability to respond," Bullwinkel says. She credits Wendy Klock-Johnson, assistant city clerk, with the design of the Public Records workflow, and Shirley Concolino, city clerk, with championing efficiencies that benefit not only the records department but departments citywide, and with consistently promoting the use of technology to help sustain city government during tough economic times.
xCP is affordable to smaller organizations such as local government agencies because its pricing is based on a per-user fee. The product can be deployed on premise or in a private cloud environment that is managed by the customer, by third-party service providers or by EMC. "xCP is very scalable, and fully integrated with our enterprise capture and customer communications management products," says David Mennie, group product marketing manager for ECM. "The predefined business process activity templates and user interface widgets provided with xCP facilitate composing applications quickly and easily, with minimal custom code."
An interactive dialog between the IT department and lines of business is critical, according to Mennie. "Even though the IT department is often involved in creating the application, business users are driving the requirements, and they should be central during the iterative development cycle," he says. Once an application is complete and in production, business users can modify the business process or the user interface based on their role and level of permission, should requirements evolve or new regulations be introduced.