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City of Roanoke puts Notes to work for city employees

This is the second in a series of SearchDomino.com Achiever case studies, where we profile user companies that are just a few of the many candidates for the SearchDomino.com Achiever Awards. Members like you nominate Domino and Notes user companies (no vendors please) that are taking Domino and Notes applications to new limits in their IT environments. You can nominate your own Domino/Notes organization or be nominated by a vendor or consultant. organization or be nominated by a vendor or consultant. Nominate someone soon. The deadline for submissions is October 25, 2002.

This is the second in a series of SearchDomino.com Achiever case studies, where we profile user companies that are just a few of the many candidates for the SearchDomino.com Achiever Awards. Members like you nominate Domino and Notes user companies (no vendors please) that are taking Domino and Notes applications new limits in their IT environments. You can nominate your own Domino/Notes organization or be nominated by a vendor or consultant. Nominate someone soon. The deadline for submissions is October 25, 2002.

Roanoke, Virginia isn't just a great city to live in, it's a great city to work for, too.

That's the message the City of Roanoke is sharing with its 2,000 full-time employees, through Web portals created in Lotus Domino/Notes.

"The City of Roanoke offers a fairly generous benefits package, and we want our employees to know it," says Kenneth Cronin, Roanoke's director of human resources.

City workers had for years received their retirement statements via snail mail, but Cronin wanted them to have access to all of their compensation information at any time.

Roanoke's IT department turned to Notes/Domino and IBM WebSphere to make employee data highly accessible, without increasing the burden on the city's HR and finance departments.

"With our Notes/Domino and IBM WebSphere-based resources, we were able to create a Web-based self-service system that integrates many of our existing back-end applications," says Kathy Cox, technology planning administrator for the City of Roanoke.

Roanoke software developers Justin Eades and Sonia Pereira built the portals with Java and XML development tools for Domino and WebSphere, including WebSphere Host Publisher. Eades has been using IBM Visual Age for Java to create JSP/Servlets for the city's Web sites, but he will soon switching to IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer.

WebSphere Studio Application Developer combines HTML and Java development in one environment. "We've learned the value of being able to create the front-end application and the Java applications all in one place," Eades says.

City workers can use the portals to access personalized retirement calculators, benefits statements, leave records and paycheck calculators -- all from a single sign-on.

Better still, users of the portal system can download PDF forms that are already pre-populated with customized information from back-end databases.

"This way," Cox says, "employees don't have to fill out such basic information as their name, address or department."

Roanoke also uses a Domino-based content management system, CoNet USA's you@web, to help non-technical people publish their own Web content.

Cox credits you@web with speeding the delivery of new Web content to Roanoke's intranet and Internet sites. The system allows IT to create and control Roanoke's Web page templates, while users manage the approval and publishing process.

Roanoke is bringing Notes/Domino applications into its city counsel meetings, too. City departments now submit their requests and reports to the council through ProcessIt!, a Notes-based workflow management tool from Teamwork Solutions Inc., and with LaserFiche Document Imaging software from Compulink Management Center Inc.

The savings through what Cox calls "e-Council" have been substantial. Report turnaround time for review and approval has gone from two weeks to two days. Report authors can read reviewer comments as soon as they're made.

"The other departments cannot believe how easy [e-Council] is to use, and how it has virtually eliminated the problems we had with the old paper review system," Cox says.

Cronin, meanwhile is counting the savings within his HR department, where workers are already fielding fewer phone inquiries about individual retirement plans and vacation schedules.

"As a result of implementing self-service," Cronin says, "our retirement staff no longer needs to make individual retirement calculations for employees -- they can focus their attention elsewhere."

They City of Roanoke's self-service portals and e-Council applications are also improving service, even as they reduce paper and postage costs.

"We're able to provide more information to employees," Cronin says, "without having to mail 2,000 paper statements per year."

Dig Deeper on Domino Resources - Part 3

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