City of Miami, Florida
Project: 311 Service
The City of Miami, with a population of nearly 5.5 million, has 3,600 employees who work in 83 locations. When the City’s centralized IT department needed to cut its budget by nearly 18 percent and was forced to drop nearly 20 percent of its already small staff, continuing to deliver quality and innovative services became a challenge. At the same time, the city sought to supplement its 311 phone line, used by citizens to report non-emergency situations, with an interactive online platform for tracking service requests and mapping them geographically.
The 311 website proposal posed several challenges to the city and its IT staff. The city needed to be sure it had adequate processing power to support its new, processing power-intensive mapping application. The city also needed to take into account disaster recovery measures, since the Miami area is frequently hit with hurricanes. Overall, the city was unsure it could provide the necessary resources to manage the 311 website in-house, so moving to the cloud was the logical next choice.
The City decided to leverage a scalable, cloud-based Windows Azure platform that provides developers with on-demand hosting in Microsoft data centers. From a technical standpoint, the City was able to seamlessly integrate existing technologies in use by development teams on other projects with the cloud-based platform. Also, the pay-as-you-go platform allowed the City to test out the application and only pay for actual usage, which was also beneficial when the application become more popular. Moreover, IT staff members were able to streamline development of the application and move from testing to production simply and quickly. The deployment of the 311 website application on the cloud-based platform was successful and the City is planning additional service offerings to citizens based on the overall value and efficiency of cloud computing.