Case Study

How Pittsburgh PA Is Saving Time and Exceeding Expectations with Procurement, Asset Management, and Budgeting

As the city of Pittsburgh, like many government agencies across the country, grappled with the challenges of staff turnover, heightened public expectations, and budget constraints, they found themselves at a crossroads. Faced with the urgent need to optimize their processes, they made the strategic decision to invest in Budgeting & Planning, Procurement, and Asset Management. The results they’ve achieved have been nothing short of remarkable: streamlined operations, heightened collaboration across departments, and an astounding threefold increase in bid volume.

Read on to see the real-world impact of their decision to invest in software purpose-built for the public sector.

Customer Results

Improved Street, Facility, Warehouse, and Equipment Operations

Increased Collaboration and Centralized Processes

3X Increase in Bid Volume


With a list of major Capital Improvement Projects on the horizon, the Pittsburgh (PA) Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) needed a more automated budgeting solution, so it partnered with OpenGov, the leader in modern cloud software for our nation’s cities and government agencies, on government budgeting software.

Breaking Up With Excel

The PWSA, the largest combined water and sewer authority in Pennsylvania, serves more than 300,000 people in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Using an Excel-based process, staff struggled with financial reporting and managing a large number of capital projects. With more significant projects planned for the near future, staff knew they needed a modern solution. Thanks to innovative budgeting tools, including an online budget book, staff were wowed by OpenGov Budgeting & Planning.

With OpenGov’s easy-to-use budgeting software, staff will be able to increase collaboration by centralizing processes, analyses, and workflow management to evaluate, budget, and track all capital planning activities. Staff also will save time with more accurate forecasting that will help them commit dollars to the most strategic capital initiatives. With operating, capital, and personnel financial data within the OpenGov Budgeting & Planning platform, staff will have the capability to build an online budget book that includes a compelling narrative to explain the agency’s priorities and financial tradeoffs. With better reporting, the agency will increase transparency — and ultimately trust — with the citizens it serves.


Pittsburgh’s Procurement department was down to a skeleton staff, and it had to partner with Allegheny County to handle the administrative process of putting out bids. “People here were really just paper pushers between the department and the County,” said Jennifer Olzinger, Chief Procurement Officer. “I really had to build the whole team.”

Olzinger also had to build a new process, as the City’s digital system was not delivering. “We had to do a lot of things manually that we wouldn’t have had to do if the system functioned correctly, Olzinger said. “They would enhance something and break something else in the process. We had tickets open for three years.” 

Under their old system, the Procurement team would assign a deadline for questions, then bring stakeholders together in a room to go through them to compile the answers altogether. 

Solicitation development was also a very manual exercise. Without collaborative tools, folks on the Procurement team would have to retype Word documents, send PDFs, document changes, then go back into the system to make edits. It was also hard to keep track of changes, and there was no official record of what, exactly, a department had said to put out.

Cutting Down on Inefficiencies

When the time came to make the switch to OpenGov, the process was a quick one—about three months, start to finish. “I’ve never had an implementation go so well,” Olzinger said. “The team was great, and we got up and running in a tight timeline.”

Now, her department doesn’t have to duplicate work by retyping documents or keep track of the status of each piece of the process by searching through email.

“Our project managers love that they can go in and see where everything is—what questions are answered, where we’re at in the process, and if we’ve flipped intake into solicitation. That also saves us from answering a lot of phone calls and emails about the status.”

There’s also a clear record of who has signed off on solicitations before they go out, so they can go back and find the root of any mistakes. “It eliminates a lot of the blame going around when there is an error,” Olzinger said.

A More Nimble Department

Like procurement departments across the country, the City of Pittsburgh is dealing with supply chain challenges and constant price increases. 

Those fluctuations mean contracts aren’t simply renewed—the procurement process starts all over again. And the sheer volume of work is making it hard to retain employees. Olzinger started 2023 down in headcount, and yet her department has put out triple what it did at the beginning of 2022.

“This past year, had we been on our old system, we never would have gotten everything done with the staff that I had,” Olzinger said.

Now that the process is more efficient, Olzinger’s department can develop a solicitation in as quickly as same-day, and they are seeing an uptick in responses. 

Centralized and Proactive Contract Management 

OpenGov’s contract management software is also making it easier for Olzinger to keep track of her employees’ workload. 

“It’s nice to be able to see and predict workflow and balance my staff’s time and have the data at a glance without having to pull reports and analyze it. I can see what’s coming up in the next 30-90 days, and whose plate is it going to be on.” 

Asset Management

While the city has experienced a large population decrease since the 1950s, public expectations have remained at all-time highs. With limited resources, their public works department has to make strategic, data-based decisions in order to effectively allocate their budget. Paper-based processes made that difficult, as team members weren’t able to determine exactly what resources and assets they currently had.

A Single Source of Truth

So, they moved to utilize OpenGov’s asset management and work order management system. Its ability to integrate with ArcGIS services turned the platform into a “single source of truth.”

“Being able to combine everything in one place with maps, pictures, documents, and details about those assets, and combining that with the work order management system to get that level of detail on the assets was very beneficial,” said Matt Jacob, business analyst in the Department of Innovation and Performance.

Year-over-Year Performance Improvement

Now, not only can they track resources and assets, they can also run year-over-year comparisons to see past performance versus current.

“Right now, it’s immeasurably valuable to us in terms of manpower and how we make investment decisions,” said Chris Hornstein, Assistant Director in the Department of Public Works. “We probably couldn’t do the job that we need to without it. It’s kind of the lynchpin of how we’re working right now.”

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