2 page Case Study
Posted: 7/2/2012
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City of Miami City Government Upgrades Browser to Increase Revenue Through Online Services

The City of Miami is updating its Land Management Application so that citizens can apply and pay for building permits online and employees can efficiently process the transactions. IT staff chose to develop the solution specifically for Windows Internet Explorer 9. The browser answers enterprise needs, helping IT to deliver a security-enhanced, low-maintenance, and responsive line-of-business application for internal and external users.

Business Needs
The City of Miami, Florida, is introducing more efficient building, planning, and zoning business processes to handle a dramatic growth in urban construction. To support these initiatives, IT staff is transitioning off a mainframe computing environment and redeveloping its business systems as browser-based solutions. One of the most important of these, the Land Management Application, governs the intake, building plan review, inspection, certificate issuance, and payment of building permits—and is the number-one revenue-generating service from the city.

The city has big plans for a new web-based version of the Land Management Application, dubbed iBuildMiami. Building Department staff and 10 other departments, including call center staff in Miami-Dade County, will access the solution on the intranet by using PCs in the office, and inspectors in the field will access it through their portable devices. Citizens will be able to use the same solution—with some internal functionality hidden—to apply for permits online.

“iBuildMiami will help staff work more productively and provide a convenient way for citizens to purchase permits, instead of coming to an office,” says Samir Wong, Project Manager for the City of Miami.

IT staff wanted a reliable browser that could deliver a clean user interface to boost productivity for employees and a fast, interactive user experience to improve online services for the public. “Instead of maintaining two different environments for two different websites, we wanted one environment for external and internal users,” says Wong. “So we needed to think about integrating the browser into our web security infrastructure.”

IT staff began developing and testing iBuildMiami against multiple browsers. “To reduce time-to-market and simplify maintenance, we decided to choose one browser,” says Yitzhak Khabinsky, Project Lead at the City of Miami. “It had to meet enterprise needs around manageability and support, but it also had to look good and perform well for the public.”

When Microsoft released Windows Internet Explorer 9, the City of Miami found the browser that met its needs. IT staff members were impressed by the extensive support for modern web standards like HTML5 and Cascading Style Sheets level 3 (CSS3) that they could use to develop a solution that would render well on a PC or a mobile device and serve the needs of employees and public alike. Internet Explorer 9 works with Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 and Windows Identity Foundation, so IT staff can maintain iBuildMiami on a single infrastructure for both internal and external audiences.

“iBuildMiami runs on a single, secure infrastructure, and with CSS3, we can dynamically present the correct ‘version’ of the application to each user,” says Wong.

* Internet Explorer 9 plays a big role in boosting the efficiency of users working with our web-based iBuildMiami solution. We’ve generated more than 1 million in the first two months since launch. *

Samir Wong
Project Manager, City of Miami

IT staff liked the Internet Explorer 9 F12 developer tools such as the JavaScript Profiler and the Network Analyzer, which analyze JavaScript and network usage to more easily optimize performance. F12 developer tools are built into the browser so that developers can track their work in progress. “This is a fantastic feature,” says Khabinsky.

Internet Explorer 9 also has a predictable update schedule. “Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox release major upgrades too frequently and unpredictably to support a revenue-generating business application where stability is key,” says Khabinsky. “Microsoft makes it easy for us; for example, we know that security updates are available once a month on Tuesday.”

On March 15, 2012, the city deployed Internet Explorer 9 to 300 employees in the Building Department. The city had already deployed the Windows 7 Enterprise operating system to these employees. While developers finished the public-facing version of iBuildMiami, Miami-Dade County call center employees used the solution to serve citizens. The city plans to roll out Internet Explorer 9 to the rest of their employees by the end of 2012.

Thanks to Internet Explorer 9, Building Department and call center employees are using the iBuildMiami solution to process permit requests far more efficiently than serving customers in person.

“Internet Explorer 9 plays a big role in boosting the efficiency of users working with our web-based iBuildMiami solution,” says Wong. “We’ve generated more than [US]$1,000,000 in the first two months since we launched. We expect our revenue to increase even more, now that we have released the solution to the public and citizens can make online payments.”

Fast Performance Boosts Staff Productivity
The improved performance and clean design of Internet Explorer 9 help city staff to process land management applications faster. “We have lots of client-side functionality in iBuildMiami, and it’s very efficient,” says Khabinsky. “This means that our staff can provide more responsive customer service for citizens.”

“By working with the new browser and Windows 7, staff can manage multiple instances of the application at once,” adds Wong. “We’ve increased efficiency since the launch of iBuildMiami. Everyone likes the Internet Explorer 9 experience.”

Professional-Grade Browser Simplifies IT Management
Internet Explorer 9 fits into the city’s plan to acquire technologies that minimize IT labor. The browser facilitated a single infrastructure for iBuildMiami that will save the city IT maintenance costs. With CSS3, developers have a flexible tool to style web pages to render appropriately for different users and screen sizes. Developers can also customize the user interface for inspectors using mobile devices or to hide functionality for public use. The new site is receiving 94,000 visitors per month, and the city estimates $7 million in building permit revenue for 2012, exceeding all other forms of non-tax-based revenue.

“Internet Explorer 9 was the best choice for our business applications,” concludes Khabinsky. “It’s fast and stable, and it looks good; we’re looking forward to reaping the full benefits of iBuildMiami since it launched in June, 2012.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 3500 employees

Organization Profile

The City of Miami municipal government serves the needs of more than 400,000 Miami residents living in southern Florida. It has more than 100 local offices and facilities.

Software and Services
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows Internet Explorer 9
  • Active Directory Federation Services 2.0
  • Windows Identity Foundation

Vertical Industries
Local Government Agencies

United States