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1st Quarter 2013 Newsletter

Note from the Editor

Hello! Since the last newsletter was published, we’ve upgraded several users to the latest, greatest version of CMS.

If your organization still uses an older version of CMS, you are one of the last. Soon Version 7 will no longer be supported! Consider converting. It’s fast! It’s free! It’s definitely …

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Version 8 Features & Functionality

There are so many cool features in Version 8.5, I had a hard time choosing just one – so I didn’t! Below are two features you may or may not know about. Read on!

First, did you know that you can choose whether or not to track changes to Work Orders, whether or not to automatically print your new Work Orders, whether or not to track all CMS users’ keystrokes, specify how you’d like to be prompted for employees’ overtime, and more – MUCH more! …

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What’s New?

Web Mapping!

Now you can use free interactive maps available on the internet to display …

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Coming Soon…

A User Page! A webpage just for you, our customers…

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Guru’s Corner

He’s President of CitiTech Systems, Inc. He’s also its founder, original architect, and visionary! Ever wonder about our origins? Meet Brian.

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User Spotlight

Users of CMS also use other programs to help them do their jobs. But, duplicate data entry is time-consuming and expensive – so any shortcut is a good shortcut! What’s an agency to do?…

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Three Things You Should Know about MAP-21

At CitiTech Systems, we have a strong interest in the goings-on surrounding Asset Management practices in local government organizations – after all, asset and maintenance management is all we do, and all we ever really think about …

Read More


Note from the Editor



Hello! Since the last newsletter was published, we’ve upgraded several users to the latest, greatest version of CMS.

If your organization still uses an older version of CMS, you are one of the last. Soon Version 7 will no longer be supported! Consider converting. It’s fast! It’s free! It’s definitely an upgrade. What’s not to love?

This issue of our Quarterly Newsletter shows you more current Version 8.5 features and functionality, talks about new features and coming improvements, features another guru, spotlights another awesome customer, and shares (hopefully) interesting information on current news and upcoming guidelines. Please enjoy the newsletter, and continue to let us know what you think; we care!

Version 8 Features & Functionality

There are so many cool features in Version 8.5, I had a hard time choosing just one – so I didn’t! Below are two features you may or may not know about. Read on!

First, did you know that you can choose whether or not to track changes to Work Orders, whether or not to automatically print your new Work Orders, whether or not to track all CMS users’ keystrokes, specify how you’d like to be prompted for employees’ overtime, and more – MUCH more! Using “Preferences”, you can set up your own USER preferences (for your login only), and (with permission) SYSTEM Preferences can be set to make CMS work the way you want it to. Check it out!

Second, I’d like to let you know that the buttons in CMS, including the buttons in the toolbar at the bottom of each module, can do some amazing things! Depending on the module and its associated buttons, you can do things like launch other screens just by clicking on one. Examples include creating a Work Order from the Annual Work Plans screen (using resources in matching resource classes), creating a Work Report from the Work Order screen, creating an Inspection from any Asset screen, or creating a Work Order from a distressor in an Inspection. Just hover your mouse over a button to see the tooltip explaining what it will do. Using these buttons can not only save you time, but can improve data accuracy because relevant information automatically populates the new record.

What’s New?

Web Mapping!


Now you can use free interactive maps available on the internet (such as Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Yahoo Maps) to display your work orders, work reports, and assets – and even get driving directions.

A recent release of CMS 8.5 includes web mapping capability. Simply set up your mapping preference in CMS’ “System Preferences” – viola, a new map tab will exist in your asset screens (and some operations screens). Help is available for web map setup; the help topic is “General Info Tab of System Preferences”.

Coming Soon…

A User Page!

A webpage just for you, our customers. It contains handy information such as Installation Documentation, Downloadable Installation Files, Conversion Documentation, Help Documentation, and Links to System Requirements, Upload Your Data, FAQs, and more.

When you click on the User Page link, it will prompt you for a password; we can provide you with one; give us a call.

Look for the link on our website, soon!
Guru’s Corner

Featuring Brian McKiernan!



He’s President of CitiTech Systems, Inc. He’s also its founder, original architect, and visionary! Ever wonder about our origins? Meet Brian.

When Brian McKiernan first started investigating maintenance management for county highway departments in 1982, the IBM-PC had just been introduced. Unlike today’s computers, those early computers had 4Kb of RAM memory and came with a 160Kb floppy disk drive, although you could by a 5Mb hard drive for about $5,000. County highway departments still used pen and paper and relied on “road cards” that filled file cabinets. Formal maintenance management didn’t exist in the early 1980’s and, for the few cities and counties that had any system at all, large mainframe computers spit out reams of paper reports that just reported information and didn’t analyze anything.

The Pennington County (SD) Highway Department saw the future of these “PC computers” and contracted MCS Group to design a system for them. Brian served as System Analyst and two years later, the County Highway Resource Information System (C.H.R.I.S.) was released. It was one of the first PC-based maintenance management systems that integrated work and resources into an activity-based job costing system that actually analyzed operations and maintenance.

McKiernan left MCS Group and started CitiTech Systems in 1988 to extend the CHRIS model to cities and counties. Using FoxPro software, one of the few data base development tools available at the time, he realized the old CHRIS model lacked asset management – and cities and counties had to keep track of all kinds of assets, not just roads and bridges. Using activity-based costing as its foundation, he released “Complete Street”, a fully-integrated maintenance management system that tracked work costs and production and related costs to virtually any kind of asset and labor, equipment and material resources.

As time progressed, technology changed and new tools became available. Asset and resource management became even more important as tight budgets, rising costs and increased workloads impacted on public works and road departments. McKiernan partnered with a Colorado company to integrate work planning and budgeting into CitiTech’s software model and CitiTech became one of the first companies to offer a results-oriented maintenance management solution. This new approach caught the attention of state departments of transportation and Mississippi and Alabama DOTs implemented CMS state-wide.

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“This was an awesome opportunity for CitiTech and our users”, McKiernan said. “We spent almost two years refining the software model, and added new functionality”. The development effort completed the Maintenance Cycle and CitiTech became the first company to offer a performance-based management system that planned, budgeted, scheduled, performed, monitored and evaluated work costs and performance. It not only improved maintenance management, it also focused on process improvement. The Mississippi DOT used CMS software to cut mowing costs by 22%, saving $2.4 million a year without affecting level of service.

“CitiTech is extremely fortunate”, McKiernan said. “Thanks to a loyal user community and some of the most skilled and dedicated development and support professionals in the industry, we have evolved from a simple job-costing application to one of the most advanced solutions on the market today. Our greatest strength is our people. They have a can-do attitude, think out-of-the-box, thrive on challenges and have never failed to provide the highest levels of customer support possible”.

McKiernan is excited about the future. The Internet has become a powerful tool, perfect for highly mobile public works and highway departments. CitiTech is developing web connectivity that won’t eliminate its ability to operate “disconnected” using Smart Client. “The biggest disadvantage of regular computer networks and the Web is their reliance on consistent networks. We hope to leverage CMS to the Web and still allow functionality when dead zones occur.” The next version of CMS (Version 9) will open the door to Androids, iPads, iPhones, smart phones and new devices still being developed.

Looking back to the early days of computers before Windows, GIS maps, the Internet and handhelds, technology has come a long way and CitiTech continues to be at the forefront of this evolving industry.

City of Arcadia, CA



Users of CMS also use other programs to help them do their jobs. But, duplicate data entry is time-consuming and expensive – so any shortcut is a good shortcut!

What’s an agency to do? In Arcadia, California, the answer is “INNOVATE!”

The City of Arcadia, California uses CMS, Version 8.5. They also use something called “Sedaru”, by ID Modeling, Inc.

Sedaru is described as computer software for analyzing, visualizing, and identifying deficiencies in water resource needs and water system performance, for use by infrastructure providers, in the nature of water, sewer, storm drain, power, and gas utility providers, that own, manage, and maintain infrastructure, and engineers, individual consumers, and water use professionals.

Arcadia contacted CitiTech Systems to discuss an interface between the two systems. After a Functional Specification was furnished and approved, CitiTech developers built one! Although it’s in progress, when completed it will use a web service and Sedaru to create and display Work Orders and Work Reports in CMS!

For more information about Sedaru, click here:
Sedaru

For information about innovation in your organization, give CitiTech Systems a call; we can save you time and effort, and ultimately save you money and while ensuring your data is accurate.

Three Things You Should Know about MAP-21

By Johnny Weisbeck

At CitiTech Systems, we have a strong interest in the goings-on surrounding Asset Management practices in local government organizations – after all, asset and maintenance management is all we do, and all we ever really think about while we are in the office. We also spend a lot of time attending conferences on the subject, from the APWA Annual Congress, to the annual meeting of the ICMA (International City-County Management Association), and various municipal and county association meetings around the country.

After all that traveling around and talking to asset managers and government officials from Seattle to Atlanta and all points in between, we have learned something quite interesting: everyone has heard of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, and everyone knows that it is going to have a significant impact on local government funding, but… wait for it… no one is really sure exactly what that impact is going to be, or what they should do about it.

MAP-21 is a two-year funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending. It was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012, as part of the 2012 Transportation Bill, and then signed into law by the president just a week later. The bill did not significantly alter the funding from the previous authorization but it did include significant changes to the way that federal dollars are routed to local governments, and attached a lot of strings to that money.

The bill itself, if you are inclined to read it all, runs over 600 pages so it is no wonder that there is a bit of confusion out there. The scope of the bill is quite broad, as it must address all aspects of transportation funding from railroads to hiking trails. In this article, I will focus on three things that I believe are the most relevant to local governments that MAP-21 has laid in your lap:

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1. More local control of fewer dollars
MAP-21 eliminates the popular Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails programs, creates a new set-aside called Transportation Alternatives, and cuts overall funding for the new consolidated program by one third. Of the remaining funds, 50% is earmarked for large metropolitan areas with “the capacity to plan and implement projects”. If you are a small city or rural county, that may sound a bit ominous, and it should, because you can no longer apply for grants to this pot of money directly. The bill gives the rest of the money to the state. Within each state, it is the Department of Transportation that will control the funds, determine which local planning agencies (LPAs) will get the money, determine what it will be spent on, and then monitor how the funds are managed by the LPA. The good news is that this half of the funds can be used for a far broader range of projects than the original federal programs allowed. The bottom line is that the flow of federal dollars to local government is now controlled by the states, and there are fewer dollars available.

2. More accountability and undefined performance standards
MAP-21 requires states to develop risk and performance-based plans for the management of their infrastructure assets. In other words, it requires that our nation’s infrastructure be managed and maintained in way that brings transparency and accountability to the process, and manages the lifecycle of our assets in the most cost effective manner to provide a specific level of service. By extension, it also means that the states are required to ensure that federal dollars awarded to local agencies are accounted for in the same manner. However, the bill does not clearly define exactly what the performance standards will be; instead, it leaves us with some rather ambiguous language that says that those standards will be clarified in the near future.

And therein lies the source of a great deal of confusion. Local leaders are left wondering just exactly how MAP-21 is going to affect them. How will it impact their bottom line? What are the performance standards? What can they do to enhance their chances of getting their slice of the remaining funding from the state?

In our view, there should be no mystery associated with the impending MAP-21 performance guidelines. MAP-21 is no more than the logical progression of modern asset practices, and national organizations such as the Transportation Research Board, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials and others have been advocating a performance management approach for our infrastructure for a very long time. It is the inevitable manifestation of long-established international asset management best practices that will culminate in this year’s publication of ISO 55000, which is the benchmark for the optimized management of physical assets. ISO 55000 is the essential, objective definition of what is required to demonstrate competence, establish asset improvement priorities and make better, clearer connections between strategic organizational plans and actual day-to-day work and asset realities.

Implementing a performance-based management system will give local government the same demonstrable ability “to plan and implement projects” that the MPO’s are assumed to have, and position the community to compete effectively for their share of available funding. Beyond that, the community will also reap the well-understood benefits of performance management.

3. A seat at the table for rural communities
Smaller towns and rural counties have long felt that they had little voice during the statewide planning process, and that little concern or consideration is given to their needs. MAP-21 changes the planning law to give these communities a seat at the table during the planning process. It also authorizes the creation of Rural Transportation Planning Organizations to ensure that they can meaningfully participate at the table – though the decision to create these rests with each state.

The new law also takes steps to ensure rural safety needs are addressed. First it requires states to use crash rates, in addition to crash frequencies, to identify and target areas for improvements. This will help rural areas as they do not have as many crashes but often have much higher rates. It eliminates the high-risk rural roads set-aside which often went unspent by states, and replaces it with a “pop-up” penalty, so if fatalities on rural roads increase then states must spend at least twice their former high-risk rural roads set-aside to improve safety on those roads.

While we may not know exactly what the progression of MAP-21 will be, we do know enough to see clearly which way the wind is blowing. A results-oriented performance management approach is no longer just the best way to manage infrastructure, it would seem that it is now the law of the land. As a taxpayer, I have to say that I am just fine with that.

“. . . chart a course for every endeavor that we take the people’s money for, see how well we are progressing, tell the public how we are doing, stop the things that don’t work, and never stop improving the things that we think are worth investing in.”
President William J. Clinton, on signing the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

For more information about MAP 21, click here:
MAP-21