How Hayward, California Increased Internal Reporting Flexibility Amid Uncertainty

POPULATION: 149,500 | AGENCY TYPE: City | ANNUAL BUDGET: $286 Million

The City of Hayward, California is located in Alameda County on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. The sixth-largest city in the Bay Area, Hayward is the third-most ethno-racially and linguistically diverse city in America. It is home to California State University East Bay campus and encompasses over 3,000 acres of open space and parks. And as with many cities struggling with an uneven economic recovery and growing demands, Hayward wrestles with ways to ensure its fiscal sustainability and operational effectiveness while preserving high quality services – all with limited resources.


Increased Expectations to Do More with Less


Weathering a period of fiscal adversity is a situation not uncommon to municipal leaders. Hayward’s Director of Finance Dustin Claussen and his team sought to effectively respond to council and citizen priorities while managing a projected deficit compounded by growing labor costs.

This tenuous environment led to difficult decisions, including reluctantly using the General Fund Reserves, reducing overall operating costs, and finding ways to stretch existing dollars.

Providing on-demand access to internal data has helped Hayward’s management team address the city’s strategic priorities. (Photo: OpenGov)

As stated in the city’s FY 2017 budget, “The previous recession forced the organization to make hard choices about which services to provide to the community, and how best to provide them. Through it all, the organization has continued to do more with less, based on a strong ethic of commitment to the community we serve; and to do it with creative energy and an innovative approach.”


OpenGov’s On-Demand, Flexible Reporting Aids Staff


Claussen and his team implemented the OpenGov Smart Government Platform™ to empower the city’s departments with on-demand data available as intuitive visualizations and reporting. Because departments could access information relevant to their own functions in real time and create reports they determined were meaningful, the entire organization experienced benefits.

Specifically, opening internal reporting beyond the city’s finance-focused Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software was integral. Claussen noted that OpenGov’s ease of use and on-demand availability to non-finance staff reduced other departments’ reliance on the finance team to run informational reports from the ERP system to meet their needs. Furthermore, for department heads who struggled to gain insights from the ERP reporting, the OpenGov solution has offered much-needed flexibility.

Hayward’s departments, including the Fire Department, increased the flexibility of their internal reporting, allowing each department to access, visualize, and analyze relevant information online. (Photo: City of Hayward).

The additional flexibility has allowed the non-Finance staff to refocus their time and energy on strategic initiatives rather than manual reporting. “Given the city’s limited resources and growing service demands – a reality other municipalities know all too well – we needed to increase department heads’ engagement with critical, relevant data that impacts their work,” Claussen said.


Embracing an Innovative Approach


Both Hayward’s community and city management value efficiency and innovation. As the FY 2017 budget stated, “...Our executives, managers, and employees are successful in their efforts to identify innovations and define better and more effective ways to deliver services.” In OpenGov, Claussen says the city has found a complementary solution to enhance the city’s efforts. Claussen described the platform as “effective” and “high-quality,” while noting the “passion for innovation” his staff and OpenGov’s team members share.

For a team focused on stewarding their city through uncertain times and doing more with less, integrating the OpenGov platform into the government’s operational workflow provided Hayward’s staff with the ability to better analyze the city’s finances and performance. Leveraging government performance solutions for data-driven decision-making has proven to be a critical asset in addressing the community’s needs and addressing priorities.

Amid uncertainty, improved data access has helped Hayward’s make data-driven decisions to deliver effective services to its residents. (Photo: City of Hayward)

Results

  • Internal Staff Empowered.

    OpenGov empowered Hayward’s city staff with the ability to create and leverage flexible, on-demand reporting to analyze data and inform strategic decision-making.

  • Staff Time Redirected to Strategic Priorities.

    Departments outside of Finance gained useful access to their own data outside the city’s existing Enterprise Resource Planning system, reallocating valuable finance staff hours to better align with strategic priorities.

  • More Informed Internal Decisions.

    On-demand financial data strengthened departmental collaboration and allows for more informed decision-making, which proves critical to navigating uncertain times.

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