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Gainesville, Fla., Launches Platform to Track Strategic Vision

The city of Gainesville, Fla., has selected a platform to manage the progress of its strategic vision. The new tool will help the city make informed decisions and increase transparency, officials say.

The city of Gainesville, Fla., has tapped a vendor to build a cloud-based platform that will help manage the implementation of its strategic plan.

The city’s leadership team was previously using Excel spreadsheets as the primary method of monitoring this progress, Senior Strategic Planner Laura Graetz said. It was very manual and time-consuming, so officials decided to find a solution that could leverage available data for enhanced decision-making.

After a six-month search, the city selected Envisio to create the new tool, and the city recently finalized the addition of its strategic plan into the platform, which will be live for the city’s leadership team this month, according to Graetz. A public-facing dashboard will soon follow.

Mike Bell, the co-founder and CEO of Envisio, told Government Technology in a written response that the public-facing component is expected to be published by June 2022.

Bell underlined the importance of cloud-based solutions in a modern government, as it ensures that staff can access the software from wherever they are working — in the field or from a home office. Many local governments have moved aggressively toward cloud-based solutions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

“Being able to support remote working is now critical, and the execution of strategic plans involves dozens, sometimes hundreds of city employees,” Bell said.

The new tool helps organize the many moving pieces of a strategic plan, Graetz explained, in order to meet the strategic goals and monitor all the projects that are a part of reaching those. The platform, she said, will help the city to make decisions in the most equitable manner by giving better oversight across the various projects.

Bell explained the platform will give staff the ability to understand and report on performance by providing a centralized view of various projects and create quarterly progress updates to the city commission.

Graetz noted the future possibility of expanding the platform to include the city’s comprehensive plan, capital improvement plan and budget.

The creation of this platform complements other moves the city has made toward offering more transparency to constituents. Graetz said this effort started about six years ago with the launch of an open data portal, which the city operates with Socrata and Tyler Technologies to share a range of city data.

“I really see an opportunity for us to take the work that’s being done with the strategic plan and weave that into the open data portal, so we can really do a good job of telling the story to our neighbors about the work that we're doing to continue to build the community to meet their needs.” Graetz said.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.