In 1982, Redwood City purchased a computerized financial system from Computer Resource Management Corporation (CRMC). This system replaced an even older key-punch card system.
The conversion process took about a year to complete. Then, just as the conversion was completed, CRMC filed for bankruptcy.
The City opted to acquire the programming source code from CRMC and took on the responsibility of supporting the software. The Software Development wing of IT was born.
The Software Development group today is one of three subdivisions of Information Technology. It is staffed with four Senior IT analysts and one supervising analyst.
The Software Development group is responsible for the development and support of software needs for the City’s internal departments. As the City has historically been referring to Software Development in relation to its financial applications, many requests are for enhancements to the City’s Financial system, which includes modules for General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Payroll, Budget, Fixed Assets, Utility Billing (water, sewer, and garbage services), Payments Processing and Business Licenses.
In recent times however, the group has been taking on more and more projects that are not directly related to the City’s financial system. For example, we recently developed an application for the tracking and management of the City’s low-flow toilets replacement program – a water conservation program offered for free to Redwood City’s water customers. We have also taken on support of the internal GIS program.
In addition to supporting the software needs of the City’s internal departments, the Software Development group also sells software support and development services to other agencies. Our clients include South Bayside System Authority, the cities of Burlingame, South San Francisco and San Bruno, and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA).
The City’s financial system is undoubtedly of the “legacy” generation. Some of our efforts have to do with modernizing existing features for our Intranet portal – a set of web-based applications for use by internal City staff. We are also looking at ways to make it easier for the Redwood City resident community to conduct financial and other transactions with the City. In recent years, we have developed applications for business owners to renew their Business Licenses via our website, and for Utility customers to sign up for electronic bills*.
A longer term effort will likely involve looking at a conversion of the City’s financial system. We expect to be directly involved in every step of the way, from the evaluation of the City’s needs to the actual implementation of a new system.
But it is becoming clear that, even if faced with a financial system conversion in our future, the group is likely to see an increase in service needs that are less financial in nature – just as the financial applications support needs disappear. Far from reducing our work force, we are preparing for a time when our ability to deliver more varied applications may instead lead to a restructuration of the I.T. division with a single Internet/Software services subdivision that will bring higher revenue to the City, as “software” comes to mean any automated application dreamed by our users.
* This service is available to Redwood City Utility customers who have elected automatic payment services out of their bank account. For information about, or to sign up for, automatic payment services, click here.