4. ODS City as a Service Model

Doing anything with the cities, local or regional government is hard. Comapring to a central government, you have a huge number of different solutions, options, applications, databases, processes – enough elements that is hard to integrate and hard to manage. Besides that, not that cities or local goverments have a significant number of resources that they can use. There is always lack of money, lack of support, lack of people or skilled professionals, lack of partners.

So, how do we move them to a digital transformation, and how do we help them bridge the gap and became “digital natives”? One of the solutions could be modeling the cities. Modeling the cities is significant task that, if done right, could free up cities and regions from spending too many time and resources on the same tasks and solutions.

Did you ever asked yourselves how come that we cannot reuse the solutions and apps that are developed for one city into the another one?

How come that we cannot just click and use mobile app that will help us keep the city up and running? This is what are we doing with Open Data City Model which is part of the City as a Service platform. We are developing Data Driven City Model – that is mapping the existing (or future) data to the city model regarless of the structure of state of the current data.

Open Data Store is a data driven City as a Service Model

Today, most of the City or SmartCity concepts are discussing common performance measurement frameworks which are based on set of relevant indicators, open data applications and decision support user-interfaces, which enable stakeholders to learn from each other, create trust and monitor progress. We are not that far away from the concept described, but we are enabling a platform in a different, scalable way, that partners can use to grow their reach and impact.

Even if this sounds complicated it is really very simple thinking about how we should build City as a Service concept. This is not a collection of
specific applications that are covering some vertical or horizontal city process and that are integrated into a siloes of their own function. This is not a set of light citizen applications that are living on your smartphone and have an insignificant impact on the way how city works and reacts to the issues and problems. This is a platform that helps you build end to end scenarios with existing services and new, partner driven solutions that are integrated into a holistic solution.

The picture shows an architectural view on a model, specifies the elements that work together to deliver a better experience for citizens and city administration.

Let’s dive into the specific elements of the model:


picture: City as a Service model is enabled through the several layers of different services. This way, you can truly use and reuse services and data.

City and Citizen Dashboard

First, let’s discuss some things that should be obvious: City and Citizen Dashboard. The role of these Dashboards are similar – to communicate the information about the system to the city officials or city decision makers and to citizens of the city. Now, the information that those groups require or information that they want to follow could be quite different.

For citizens, it is usually the information about the services and opportunities that are related to them personally – thus, citizen portal must be personalized, or it has to recognize the identity of the citizen. Today, that is not that hard given the number of implemented initiatives on national level that introduce electronic identity. Citizens will organize Dashboard the way they want, with the information that they want to know. They will even set some thresholds and notifications so that they can be notified when something that matters to them when it, and where it happens. They could track their own processes and cases that they have with the city, city organizations or other external parties.

For cities, it really depends on the role which is using the Dashboard at the specific time. If City Mayor is using the Dashboard, we should present him a high level overview of what is happening in the City. If he/she wants to know more information on a specific topic, he could click and drill through to get a better understanding of the information presented to him. If City Official is using the Dashboard, he would see the information that is connected to his specific role or set of activities that he need to perform. All those views can be customized to fully adapt to the internal and external processes that city is using but we are also using the pre-provided templates that are built on a predefined scenarios and key performance indicators (KPI) based in industry standards, like ISO 37120:2014 standards for a city performance management.

Dashboards are also fully extensible with a third party provider solutions – so if you are connecting an application that have a specific scenario and you want to publish some information or indicators related to that application to the Dashboard, that is an easy thing to do.

One properly mapped, the data have a same structure for the users and applications that use it – solid city model that enables different scenarios for the end users and developers. This is of course just a first step into the delivery of future city cervices. For example, we can deliver an application model that is independent on the existing data, and if properly implemented, can even suggest or find the data that is needed to “activate” the application.

Decision Management (DSS)

Now, to do something around the key performance indicators followed by City Dashboard and to have specific environment where City Officials, Administration and Partners can evaluate, collaborate, make a decision, make an forecast, analyze, do all the regular things that they are doing when they are making a specific decision around specific problem. Using this one, city will support all of business or organizational decision making activities. Decision Support System will serve management, operations and planning departments of the city and city owned companies where they are making their decisions around various aspects and problems that are not planned or specified in the future. Also, Decision Support System should give us, through forecasting and prediction methodologies appropriate support for planning and procurement processes which allow stakeholders to access and compare different solutions and planning scenarios.

This system does not replace classic back end processes that city already have, like Issue Management or Waste Management or any other process / management function that is already well described in the specific city organization. DSS will use existing data (one from three data stores, especially Big Data Store, and combine that data with the models and analytic techniques to find out what would be the best action to execute and what will be the consequences of those actions.

DSS will be extended with some other specific systems mostly related to Knowledge Based systems and to any Information Management system that is already in place. Due to the nature of the system, DSS is closely integrated with specific applications and backend systems through the connectors, because you want to have impact and a feedback. At the end, we are expecting to use digital collaboration environments for better communication and cooperative planning.