Harry Turnbull, executive director of information technology for the City of Windsor, has received Canada’s highest municipal IT award from MISA/ASIM Canada.
Turnbull, who is credited as the driving force in raising MISA/ASIM Canada’s international visibility among municipal IT organizations, was presented with the 2010 Peter Bennett Award on June 14.
Making the presentation at Niagara-on-the-Lake, to an audience of senior government officials attending the 2010 Lac Carling Congress, Maurice Gallant, president of MISA/ASIM Canada, said Turnbull exemplifies leadership in municipal information technology and inter-municipal collaboration.
He has represented MISA/ASIM Canada at several international meetings and was instrumental in arranging for an international delegation from municipal IT organizations to attend the MISA Ontario conference at Niagara Falls.
This was the first time that the Linked Organisations of Local Authority ICT Societies (LOLA), the only international association promoting collaboration among municipal IT directors, has met in conjunction with an annual conference in North America.
Gallant noted that Turnbull is also a representative of MISA/ASIM Canada on the Public Sector CIO Council and “has reinforced the important role that municipal CIOs can play on the PSCIOC and, more broadly, in the work of the Joint Councils.” Turnbull was host for a meeting of the Joint Councils in Windsor in February 2010.
The Peter Bennett Award is presented to an individual making an outstanding contribution to the Canadian municipal IT community and to the MISA/ASIM Canada mission and objectives, while exemplifying Peter Bennett’s spirit of demonstrated leadership combined with humour and humanity. Bennett, a municipal IT pioneer from Winnipeg, died in 2005.
“Harry represents a new breed of municipal CIO, who has become a part of the senior management of the organization, rather than just a technologist,” Gallant told the Lac Carling audience.
Turnbull served as president of MISA Ontario in 2005- 2006 and as chair of the Ontario annual conference in 2005.
The Annual General Meeting of the members of MISA/ASIM Canada (Municipal Information Systems Association/Association des systèmes d'information municipale Canada) will be held Sunday, June 13, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. (EDT) in the Boardroom at the Hilton Hotel and Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview, Niagara Falls, Ontario, for the following purposes:
TORONTO, November 8, 2009 – A group of municipalities working to build a roadmap to guide their policies and practices with respect to ERP technologies has, for the first time, created a program to define the reforms they want.
The ERP Municipal Users’ Special Interest Group of 14 municipalities has agreed to present to vendors of ERP solutions an 11-point reform program. It sets down the negotiating position that the group members will use in future when considering the purchase or upgrading of technologies usually found in ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) systems.
The reform program was approved by representatives of the group at a meeting September 23 during Showcase Ontario at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Louis Shallal, founder of the group and chief information technology officer of York Region, said at the meeting that creation of the 11-point program responds to the requests of ERP vendors who have asked for specific information about how municipalities want vendors to improve relationships with them.
“We are saying to the vendors, ‘We believe that you should listen to us, and here’s what we want from you.’ When we meet with them individually we will say, ‘Here, we want a direct response telling us what you will do.’ ”
The action items of the program are:
The special-interest group, which has been operating under the auspices of MISA/ASIM Canada since mid-2008, has also entered into discussions with the Province of Ontario to see whether one or more bulk purchasing agreements could be negotiated for the licensing and support of ERP solutions covering both the province and municipalities.
Those discussions are led by Bruno Mangiardi, chief information officer of the City of Greater Sudbury.
York Region, meanwhile, has undertaken two projects of its own to explore alternative means of obtaining maintenance services for its ERP system, other than to have services exclusively provided by the vendor.
The Region is evaluating responses it received from an RFP with a deadline of October 9, seeking a consultant to conduct a feasibility study to determine what risks and opportunities would arise if the Region hired third-party services for its ERP application support.
Secondly, the IT department is writing an RFP to be issued by the end of the year, seeking a third-party vendor to provide regulatory and tax updates for the payroll module. This would for a one-year pilot project of using 3rd-party support services for the ERP systems.
TORONTO, November 4, 2009 -- The MISA/ASIM Canada Board of Directors has approved an agreement with IBM Canada that will lead to the release of the first version of the proposed Municipal Reference Model Version 2 service on the Web by the end of 2009.
That means that Canadian municipalities will become the first in the world to have a national service available to them for describing, organizing, and planning their service delivery in a consistent manner using a standard set of software templates and modelling tools.
With the Board’s approval, MISA/ASIM Canada has purchased licences from IBM Canada for the underlying software products. The products include Rational Software Modeler, Rational Requirements Composer, Rational Requisite Pro and Lotus Quickr, among others. To support this initiative, IBM has developed software extensions to automate the flow of information among these products.
Funds for the project were donated by municipalities from across Canada: Edmonton, Fredericton, Halton Region, London, Markham, Mississauga, Niagara Region, Peel Region, Richmond Hill, Saskatoon, Timmins, Toronto, the City of Waterloo and York Region.
The project has also received funding from the Joint Councils (Public Sector CIO Council and Public Sector Service Delivery Council), in recognition that some aspects of this work may be applicable in a national or inter-jursidictional context.
The MRMv2 service is being developed in a pilot project by a team of IT professionals at the City of Toronto led by Philip Scott. The team is advised and assisted by a Design Review Group consisting of IT and service-delivery representatives from a range of municipalities. Project oversight is provided by a Steering Committee representing all contributing municipalities.
IBM Canada has been providing professional and software-development services to the MRMv2 Project at no cost. KPMG LLP has likewise been contributing essential advisory services from consultants who have been working with the Municipal Reference Model since the first version was developed in the 1990s. Their former firm, Chartwell, merged with KPMG in early 2009.
Both IBM and KPMG see the potential for future or complementary service offerings, both in Canada and internationally, based on concepts developed during the MRMv2 project.
Initial Version Looks Good
All participants in the project are confident that the initial version of the MRMv2 service will deliver the value to municipalities that MISA/ASIM Canada has envisioned, says Roy Wiseman, CIO of the Region of Peel, Ontario and chair of the MRMv2 Steering Committee.
On September 28, Wiseman told a teleconference of the 10-member MISA/ASIM Canada Board of Directors that the Steering Committee viewed a demonstration of the prototype MRMv2 service conducted by IBM Canada at a meeting September 25.
“Everybody there said, ‘This is on the right track; we need to move ahead with this,’ ” Wiseman reported. “We’ve seen enough now to be confident in the direction we are going.”
He told the Board that the major challenge for the pilot-project team for the remainder of 2009 will be to harness the IBM tools so that they will serve the analytical needs of municipal officials in a simple, user-friendly fashion.
“We need to do a lot of work in determining the 10, 20 or 30 things that people will want to do out of the box so they can accomplish those things with one or two keystrokes, perhaps by clicking on a link or function, rather than having to go right into the tools to build things such as a new table, report or analysis framework,” Wiseman said.
“The good news is that we will be able to do it.”
Daya Pillay, president of MISA/ASIM Canada and manager, e-Commerce & Web services for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the Board is looking forward enthusiastically to the launch of the national MRMv2 service.
“It has the potential to enable municipalities to understand, evaluate, and compare each others’ service delivery systems using common terminology, something never possible before in Canada or anywhere else,” Pillay said.
HALIFAX, October 5, 2009 – The cost of attending a variety of business conferences will be reduced in the coming year for qualified municipal employees as a result of an agreement between MISA/ASIM Canada and the Strategy Institute.
The Strategy Institute, a Toronto-based company that produces conferences for business and public-sector leaders in targeted topic areas, has joined MISA/ASIM Canada’s member special-offers program to offer savings to municipal purchasers.
Employees of municipalities that are members of any of the five regional associations within MISA/ASIM Canada will receive 15 per cent off the cost of attending any Strategy Institute conferences through October 2010.
In the event that Strategy Institute offers more savings to any particular municipality, the company will extend that as a special offer to all municipalities in the MISA/ASIM membership. The offer has therefore been designated as “platinum” within the MISA/ASIM Canada Member Special Offers program.
The program enables municipalities to pool their purchasing potential and obtain the best offers from participating companies. All qualifying municipalities have equitably priced access to the same products and services, regardless of size or location of the municipality. Participating companies, in turn, obtain the advantage of reaching the entire Canadian municipal Information-technology market through a one-stop purchasing channel.
Strategy Institute is the 11th company to join this special-offers program since its inception in March 2008. Information about the special offers is available through www.misa-asim.ca and the Web sites of its five member associations.
Information about Strategy Institute conferences is available at www.strategyinstitute.com. The first conference for which the special offer will apply will be the “Canadian Smart Grid Summit” in Toronto on October 14-15.
Strategy Institute has produced several IT-related conferences during 2009 in Toronto, New York and Chicago. Among them was the “Optimum Broadband Strategies for Cities Summit” on June 23-24 in Toronto. That city will also be host for the “Green IT” conference scheduled for October 21-22 and the “Lean & Green Supply Chain Strategies Summit” on November 17-18.
Daya Pillay, President of MISA/ASIM Canada and Manager of e-Commerce and Web Services for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said, “We are very pleased to see that our Member Special Offers program is attracting service companies such as Strategy Institute as well as providers of hardware, software and infrastructure products.
“It is encouraging to see the success of a program that facilitates a common national purchasing environment for municipalities, helps them save money and spreads the benefits of working together.”
FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, September 29, 2009 – Websense Canada Inc. has joined MISA/ASIM Canada’s member special-offers program, with savings to municipal purchasers of between 45 and 66 per cent from regular prices for its suite of Web, data and e-mail security products.
Websense has set up a tailored microsite on the Web specifically for municipal customers interested in this special offer. Prices and discounts for a range of solutions are listed at http://sites.syndicationlane.com/websense/misa/home.
Websense describes its special offer as “best customer pricing,” with terms that municipalities could not normally negotiate on their own. The company has committed that its special offer through MISA/ASIM Canada will continue to contain the best pricing available to municipalities, so MISA/ASIM Canada has designated the offer as “platinum.”
“With a platinum offer, municipal customers are guaranteed by the company that the price they receive will not be beaten,” said Maurice Gallant, vice-president of MISA/ASIM Canada and CIO and assistant director, corporate services, for the City of Fredericton.
“We appreciate this level of commitment from Websense and believe that our program is producing ever-increasing value for the MISA/ASIM Canada community.”
The new agreement expands an existing program of MISA/ASIM Canada that provides one-stop access to special offers from vendors. Websense is the 10th company to join this program since its inception in March 2008.
Under the program, municipalities within the membership of the five regional associations comprising MISA/ASIM Canada have equitably priced access to the same products and services, regardless of size or location of the municipality. Participating companies obtain the advantage of reaching the far-flung municipal market through a one-stop purchasing channel.
Other companies whose special offers are available through www.misa-asim.ca are Adobe Systems Canada, Chalk Media Canada, DesTech, Digital Boundary Group, Kaspersky Lab, Sophos PLC, TELUS, Texthelp Systems Ltd. and Trend Micro.
DesTech’s offer for its Remote Database Monitoring solution was the first in the group to guarantee best-available pricing and achieve platinum status. The other offers are classified as gold.
Ottawa-based Websense Canada is wholly owned by Websense, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN) of San Diego, California, whose products are designed to enable organizations to use the Web, including Web 2.0 applications, safely to meet business goals without having to worry about security, productivity and liability threats such as malware, inappropriate content and data loss.
“Websense is proud to offer our solutions to MISA/ASIM members through this forward-looking approach, which levels the playing field for Canadian municipalities,” said Fiaaz Walji, Canadian country manager, Websense Inc. “We look forward to helping Canada’s municipalities secure their data and ensure that their Web 2.0 strategies include security even when spending is constricted.”
HALIFAX, September 2, 2009 – Trend Micro Incorporated, the third-largest security vendor in the world, has joined MISA/ASIM Canada’s member special-offers program to offer savings to municipal purchasers.
Trend Micro is offering a series of products at uniquely discounted prices. It is the ninth company to join this special-offers program since its inception in March 2008.
The program enables municipalities within the membership of the five regional associations comprising MISA/ASIM Canadato pool their purchasing potential and obtain the best offers from participating companies. The companies, in turn, obtain the advantage of reaching the far-flung municipal market through a one-stop purchasing channel.
Substantial discounts on one- or three-year licences are available for a variety of Trend Micro products designed to protect computers, networks, servers, collaboration systems and data centres.
Daya Pillay, President of MISA/ASIM Canada and Manager of e-Commerce and Web Services for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said, “Security issues are a major concern to all municipalities, and the cost of security can be especially burdensome to smaller ones.
“We are gratified that our program is attracting companies such as Trend Micro to offer a simplified pricing structure with potential benefit to municipalities across the national market.”
TORONTO, August 21, 2009 -- MISA/ASIM Canada has taken concrete steps to establish a Web-based service designed to enable municipalities to better plan, manage, measure, evaluate and improve the programs and services that they deliver. The service is intended to be available by the end of 2009.
The service is referred to as the Municipal Reference Model Version 2 – although the organizers of what is called the MRMv2 Project are looking for a better name.
MRMv2 will provide a secure Web service that will enable municipalities to define and describe their programs and services, and to evaluate them in relation to the goals and outcomes of the municipality.
Equally important, the approach for defining and describing programs and services will be consistent for all municipalities using the MRMv2 service. That means they will be able to compare the basket of services that they offer with those provided by peer municipalities, identify potential service gaps or overlaps, develop more useful performance measures directly related to intended service outputs and outcomes, and create benchmarks to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of their service delivery.
They will even be able to discover and weed out any redundant services that are already being delivered by other jurisdictions, including other levels of government.
The federal government and several provinces are monitoring the MRM v2 Project in the hope that it may provide a basis for the alignment of government service delivery across all levels. The MRMv2 Project is also represented in the work of the Service Mapping Subcommittee of the Joint Councils, which is working to develop a common approach and vocabulary for defining programs and services across all levels of government in Canada.
Making the Right Choices
“If we really want to make sure we understand what we do in government, and to have a sense that we are making the choices that our citizens want from government – and that we can have all of our pieces working together – then we need some tools that we don’t currently have,” Roy Wiseman, chair of the MRMv2 Steering Committee and CIO of York Region, Ontario, told a session of the Lac Carling Congress in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario on June 15.
“One of those tools is a common language and a common set of rules about how we describe the business of government.”
The MRMv2 Project was initiated in June 2006 with the goal of replacing an earlier paper-based version of the Municipal Reference Model. The project is directed and financed by MISA/ASIM Canada and managed by MISA Ontario through the Steering Committee.
The proposed service will enable a municipality to use a secure portion of the MRMv2 Web site to describe its own unique service structure using a standard reference toolkit. Vendors will be able to devise methodologies, products and training courses related to the MRMv2 model.
The Steering Committee is in late stages of negotiations with IBM Canada for the provision of software to build the MRMv2 service. KPMG, incorporating a team from the former Chartwell, is providing advisory services.
The City of Toronto has agreed to be a pilot-project site for the service, assisted by a design team with representatives from both large and small municipalities. The service has been designed with input from municipal IT and service-delivery officials across Canada and is intended for use by non-technicians with minimal training.
Several municipalities have agreed to contribute sufficient funds to complete the service design, and the pilot project will proceed pending some final administrative approvals, Wiseman said.
TORONTO, August 19, 2009 -- MISA/ASIM Canada's Municipal Users’ Special Interest Group is considering ways in which municipalities can set up permanent organizations for the purpose of collaborating on strategies – and possibly of forming a purchasing cooperative – to confront the rising costs of ERP technologies.
The group, which has been operating under the auspices of MISA/ASIM Canada since mid-2008, will be meeting at Showcase Ontario in Toronto on September 23 to consider initiatives first proposed June 3 during the MISA Ontario Annual Conference.
Louis Shallal, founder of the group and chief information technology officer of York Region, Ontario, proposed during an ERP Forum Discussion at the MISA Ontario Annual Conference in Oshawa on June 3 the creation of a senior-level collaborative group to be known as OMCI, or Ontario Municipal Collaborative Initiative.
It would be modelled on the long-standing OMBI (Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative), which has developed standards to help municipal CAOs measure and compare the efficiency levels of their municipal enterprises.
The OMCI, Shallal suggested, could be a purchasing cooperative, possibly within MISA/ASIM Canada, to maximize the incentives and benefits for municipalities available from the acquisition of technologies usually found in enterprise-resources-planning (ERP) systems.
It could also develop shared templates for the configuration and implementation of ERP systems, as well as negotiate volume discounts on software and/or provide hosted and managed services for the maintenance of ERP systems.
“Up to now municipalities have been dealing one on one with the vendors,” Shallal said. “I think it’s time we started thinking differently. The need for shared services is loud and clear.”
Another potential initiative to be considered at the September 23 meeting is the creation of a Web-based collaboration forum containing structured content serving as a municipal knowledge base for ERP projects, strategies and processes.
A starting point for such a forum already exists within the Municipal Members password-protected section of the MISA Ontario Web site, www.misa.on.ca. In a folder labelled ERP Roadmap, viewers can find a synopsis of offerings from 30 vendors who responded to an RFI from the group last year.
As Joe Evers, principal of JcEvers (JC Evers) Consulting Corp. who is also a consultant to the ERP group told the forum: “This is a great example of collaboration – many hands from many municipalities did a large volume of work to create the synopsis of vendors’ offerings organized by function.
“The synopsis gives a good idea not only of the providers’ capabilities but of the features and functions that municipalities might consider when exploring next steps.”
York Region plans to explore the feasibility of a one-year project in which maintenance services for the payroll-tax module of its ERP would be provided by a third party rather than the ERP vendor. An RFP is being prepared for a risk-assessment study of this project, and York Region is inviting other municipalities to participate.
The RFP and arrangements for the September 23 meeting are being directed by York Region managers Mark McKnight and Jane Blackburn.
FREDERICTON, August 18, 2009 – IT security software products from Kaspersky Lab are being made available to municipalities at special prices through MISA/ASIM Canada.
As part of its special-offers program, MISA/ASIM Canada has concluded an agreement with Kaspersky Lab under which municipalities in the association’s member community can obtain malware products at uniform discounted prices.
Specifically, Kaspersky Lab is offering to sell to qualified municipalities three-year licensing contracts for its security solutions for the price of two-year licences. The offer covers products called Kaspersky Business Space, Enterprise Space and Total Space.
Municipal purchasers can call 1-866-295-8503, ext. 4584, or a local Kaspersky reseller, to obtain the discount. Details of the special offer are published in the Member Special Offers section of this site.
The offer from Kaspersky is the eighth available from MISA/ASIM Canada, which announced in March 2008 its program of providing one-stop access to special offers from vendors. Any municipality within MISA/ASIM Canada’s member associations has equitably priced access to the same products and services, regardless of size or location of the municipality.
The Kaspersky announcement was made by Maurice Gallant, CIO of the City of Fredericton, NB, vice-president of MISA/ASIM Canada and the head of the special-offers program.
“Our program is rapidly expanding and we expect more announcements soon,” Gallant said. “Both municipalities and vendors are seeing value in the idea that the municipal IT market should not be piecemeal and unevenly priced, but collaborative and equitable.”
Kaspersky Lab, based in Massachusetts, is the world’s largest privately held anti-malware company. Its Canadian headquarters is in Markham, Ontario. www.kaspersky.com.