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Hosted Web Applications for Local Governments & Consultants

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  1. Hosted Web Applications for Local Governments & Consultants Ward Zerbe Info Tech, Inc.

  2. Agenda • The challenge • Description of hosted/cloud-based apps • Benefits • Features/considerations when selecting • Case studies of success: • Construction administration – New York State • Estimation – Jacksonville, Florida • Internet Bidding –Toledo, Ohio

  3. Customers include 41 U.S. state agencies, two Canadian provinces, more than 125 locals, hundreds of engineering firms, and thousands of contractors Annual contract with AASHTO to maintain, support and enhance the AASHTO Trns•port® products Own and operate Bid Express® Internet Bidding Service Info Tech, Inc. • 30+ years in this industry • Corporate office in Gainesville, Fla. • Regional and project offices throughout the U.S. • www.infotechfl.com

  4. Challenges for infrastructure construction • Increased funding for local government projects • Reduced resources (IT and other) • Increased oversight from stakeholders • Reliance on consultant engineers • Infrequent projects • Affordable IT solutions

  5. What are hosted/cloud-based apps? • Used interchangeably, but really a bit different •  A hosted service is a technology service offered by a provider that hosts the physical servers running that service somewhere else. • Access to the service is provided through a direct network connection and/or the Internet • A cloud service is a hosted service that’s accessible over the Internet that was built to capitalize on the new range of collaboration and interconnectivity that is inherent in the cloud. Source: http://www.itnewsafrica.com

  6. Hosting/cloud computing benefits • No lengthy installs • Little/no implementation costs • Removes the burden from IT • Web browser access • Automatic updates • Easy, online access for stakeholders • Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, 2011 • “The cloud computing model can significantly help agencies grappling with the need to provide highly reliable, innovative services quickly despite resource constraints.” • “Cloud benefits: Efficiency, Agility, Innovation”

  7. Considerations in our field • Accessibility/usability/reliability • Functionality • Security • Accountability • Easy to install/upgrade/support • Compatibility ü

  8. Accessibility/Usability/Reliability • Needs to be accessible by anyone with rights from anywhere at anytime • 99% uptime • Multiple Internet routes • Intuitive – easy to learn and easy to use • Adaptable to project types and business rules

  9. Security • Data should reside in a secure area • Data should be mirrored and backed up daily • System should allow security through user roles • Roles should be controlled by you

  10. Accountability • Audit trail • Communicate before issues become issues • Allow for participation by all stakeholders

  11. Easy to Install/upgrade/support • Minimal training needed • License includes new releases • Unlimited support (included in license fee) • Flexible licensing – only buy what you need

  12. Compatibility • Compatible w/customer standards • Estimation software • Estimation bid price catalogs • Bidding software used by customer and contractor

  13. Examples of success with hosted, cloud-based applications Example #1: Hosted Construction Administration and New York State

  14. Hosted construction app – New York • 2008: Consultant firms began using the Appia® software as a hosted construction administration application for their city and county customers for highway and bridge projects • 2009: New York FHWA office and NYSDOT approved the use of an automated tool as a ‘reimbursable’ for local projects • 100+ projects to date, including highway, bridge, airport and utility

  15. Hosted construction app – New York • Used by the project engineer, inspector, office engineer, construction supervisor, owner, oversight orgs., etc. • Produces an audit-able record while providing an efficient and effective means to track and administer the progress of a construction project from award through final • NYSDOT Region and Main Office staff monitor local projects from their desk • FHWA also has access to all projects • All audits of projects using the software have been satisfactory

  16. Additional example - hosted construction • Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. (Tennessee) • 2 days of training • Managing city/county highway construction projects online • $20+ million Veteran’s highway project • 263 items, 2 funding packages and sources

  17. Benefits for construction administration • Live collaboration • Time and travel saved by construction supervisor • Time and travel saved by oversight staff and auditors • Accountability • Secure data storage – easily retrieved • Source data entry • Standardization • Elimination of redundant entries in Daily Diary

  18. Benefits for construction administration • Material tracking and calculation of insufficiencies at estimate time • Search/find capabilities – daily, at audit time and at claim time • Timely and accurate contractor payment estimates • Item Balancing – when doing change orders during project and at final • Readily available reporting on payments, items, COs, certs, personnel, etc. • Usage calculation on stockpiles

  19. Examples of success with hosted, cloud-based applications Example #2: Hosted Estimation application and Jacksonville (Fla.) Transportation Authority

  20. Jacksonville, Florida experiencing explosive growth largest city in the continental US (in terms of geographical area) Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) independent regional state agency multi-modal responsibilities light rail, regional bus service and paratransit, bridge, highway Works with Florida DOT and the City of Jacksonville Hosted estimation software

  21. Engineer’s estimates are often ‘hit and miss’ Lack of uniformity Impacts the entire department/project lifecycle Systems for accurate, reliable estimates are needed Estimation: Chronic issue for locals

  22. Low volume of projects Low volume of data to draw upon Low number of bidders Manual compilation of bid tab data Don’t keep standardized list of historical bid data Consulting firms: Frequently use their own item numbers Often don’t have access to extensive bid histories Create ‘special’ item numbers on the fly Make it difficult to compare data across projects Estimation issues for local agencies

  23. Standardized its Master Item List Created a subset of Florida DOT’s Created a tailored bid history data base using readily available FDOT data Implemented a hosted estimation application that brought all the pieces together in a structured format How did JTA achieve its goal?

  24. Agency is producing accurate estimates quickly and easily Database was built – ‘primed the pump’ Multiple views, models and analyses of their data Simple, easy-to-read reports Database dynamically updates after contractor bids are received The result: using effective data makes a difference in your bottom line JTA’s estimates today

  25. Examples of success with hosted, cloud-based applications Example #3: Hosted Internet bidding in the City of Toledo, Ohio

  26. City of Toledo streamlines bidding • Adopted Internet bidding service in use by the Ohio DOT • Hosted service serving 50+ agencies in the US and Canada • Contractors download bid data and submit bids online • System checks for errors, omissions and amendments

  27. City of Toledo results • Adopted in 2009 • 80+ projects posted online • Service has 99.97% actual uptime • Contractors happy to use one system for state and local bidding • Contractors can also access plan sheets online

  28. Examples of success with hosted, cloud-based applications Example #4: Construction Administration, Estimation and Internet bidding with one application

  29. City of Gainesville, Florida • Adopted a modular application that includes functionality for • Construction administration • Estimation • Internet bidding • One app, one vendor • Data flows through phases/departments in the same application

  30. Summary • Hosted solutions are easy to implement • Hosted applications are economical yet robust • Applications are available for construction administration, estimation and bid management • Many agencies and consulting firms are already reaping these benefits