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      4 min read

      Municipality of Weert boosts effectivity with TimeXtender and Power BI

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      As is the case for most public and private organisations, the amount of data that the Municipality of Weert has to handle has increased exponentially in recent years. To use this data to improve performance, you need an environment that allows you to filter exactly the right information for analysis and decision-making. This issue is a high priority for all municipalities, and Weert is no exception. 'To enable better data-driven management at the operational and policy level, we established the topics of data quality, data management, and management information as key pillars of our 2019-2021 Digital Transition Master Plan,' explains Marco van Dijk, Digital Transition Programme Manager at the Municipality of Weert.

       

      Although the municipality had not yet made any investment in this area, it recognised that each department was collecting its own specific management information and buying systems to do so. 'The first steps towards becoming a data-driven organisation were organising our data centrally, implementing data management processes, and ensuring a simple and effective process for the resolution of all problems concerning management information,' says Marco. 'To do this, we decided to implement a business intelligence system.'

       

      'TimeXtender improves data quality, enables effective data management, and provides exactly the data we need to boost the effectiveness of our policy.'

      Marco van Dijk, Digital Transition Programme Manager, Municipality of Weert.

       

      Data provision: a vital internal skill

      As FourPoints had already achieved excellent results with the Municipality of Horst aan de Maas, the Municipality of Weert decided to approach this firm for advice. 'We developed a solution outline based on the input documents provided by the municipality,' says Gerrit Versteeg, senior consultant at FourPoints. 'This process took approximately six weeks and resulted in an architectural sketch as well as recommendations concerning which tools to use. For municipalities, we like to use TimeXtender to build a data lake and a data warehouse in combination with Power BI for reports and analysis. The key benefit of TimeXtender is that it automates a vast number of data processing processes. It is also self-documenting and guarantees the traceability of the data. TimeXtender is also reasonably easy for staff to use, whereas classic tools tend to be more complicated. This final aspect is vital to the service we provide, as our work is based on the assumption that data provision is a skill that municipalities want to develop internally. For this reason, we always aim to develop a solution that we can deliver to the client secure in the knowledge that they will be able to use it independently.'

       

      From architectural sketch to finished product in 6 months

      Following an approval period, the Municipality of Weert chose to roll out an architectural sketch developed by FourPoints based on TimeXtender and Power BI. 'TimeXtender allows you to link information from every data source, so it doesn't matter which application a department is using,' explains Marco. 'You create a central hub in which all data is collected, processed, and used to make connections before it is sent to Power BI for visualisation. We recognised that this structure would streamline all data within the organisation both now and in the future as well as optimising compliance with the GDPR.'

       

      'If we hadn't invested in a future-proof data management environment using TimeXtender, then in a few years, we would have had to allocate around 10 FTE to handling data issues.'

      Marco van Dijk, Digital Transition Programme Manager, Municipality of Weert.

       

      FourPoints selected a two-stage migration method. The first stage consisted of implementing TimeXtender, setting up a data warehouse, organising several training sessions, and designing the first dashboards, while the second stage consisted of rolling out a data research environment. Over the course of six months, we implemented the entire environment step by step and transferred ownership to the municipality. 'At first, we mainly focussed on the departments "Sociaal Domein" (decentralised integration of Dutch social policy) and HRM,' explains BI Implementation Project Manager Sanne Leenders. 'Both departments were familiar with management information and had a number of concrete issues to resolve. HRM required predominantly operational information at the practical level, such as recruitment, staff turnover, leave, and vacancy capacity, while the Sociaal Domein department was grappling with concrete strategic issues concerning both existing and future policy.'

       

      Investing in cultural change

      By establishing a data research and management information environment, the Municipality of Weert has taken huge strides towards becoming a data-driven organisation. 'TimeXtender is a highly effective environment that gives insight into what is actually happening,' says Marco. 'In the past, we would create separate cost-benefit analyses throughout the various departments, yet now we have access to all of this information at all times. If we hadn't done this, then in a couple of years, it would have taken 10 employees to handle all data-related issues within the organisation.'

       

      'Becoming a data-driven organisation is not just a question of ICT: it's a new mindset and way of working that will be a vital factor in providing effective municipal services in the future.'

      Marco van Dijk, Digital Transition Programme Manager, Municipality of Weert.

       

      One thing the municipality is noticing is that becoming data-driven requires a significant cultural change. 'Our municipality wants to be impact-oriented,' says Marco. 'Every policy officer must formulate SMART objectives and the progress towards these objectives can then be clearly displayed using TimeXtender and Power BI. This process asks a lot of our staff: you need to ask the right questions, indicate which figures you need, and then draw accurate conclusions. As well as investing in a future-proof data management environment, I would also advise other municipalities to invest in its ability to adapt. Ultimately, becoming a data-driven organisation is not just a question of ICT: it's a new mindset and way of working that will be a vital factor in providing effective municipal services in the future.'

       

      Summary

      Municipal government

      Municipality of Weert

      Weert is home to around 50,000 residents and encompasses an area of 104.3km², making it the sixth largest municipality in the Dutch province of Limburg.

       

      Solution Snapshot

      To become a data-driven and impact-oriented organisation, the municipality needed to organise its data centrally, implement data management processes and ensure that all problems regarding management information can be resolved in a simple and straightforward manner.

       

      Benefits

      • A straightforward process for resolving management information issues
      • A more data-driven organisation
      • Improved data quality
      • Improved information exchange facilitates accountability and management information
      • Automated information provision
      • Improved GDPR compliance