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City of Tampa Uses SAP(R) BusinessObjects(TM) Software to Strengthen Its Disaster-Preparedness Infrastructure
Business Intelligence Software Crystal Reports(R) and Xcelsius(R), Situational Readiness Solutions from NC4 Form Backbone of Emergency-Preparedness System for Super Bowl XLIII and Other City-Wide Events
To break down the traditionally siloed approach to managing disaster preparedness for the large-scale events it hosts, the City of Tampa has brought together many agencies and geographic branches under one roof with its EOC. For example, during the recent Super Bowl, three primary geographic branches reported into the facility, along with multiple city, state and federal agencies that helped the EOC. By centralizing the command center's location and IT system, the City of Tampa was able to take a more unified approach to disaster preparedness, and SAP BusinessObjects solutions were at the heart of its information-sharing infrastructure. This, along with video conferencing and NC4's E Team application for situational readiness, connected team members and ensured they had access to the information needed to help address potential emergencies in a more coordinated, centralized way. From the EOC, the City of Tampa monitored the activities of every agency and branch involved with the Super Bowl and will use this approach with all major events that it hosts.
"IT departments in city governments typically operate on shoestring budgets, and considering the magnitude of events like the Super Bowl, it was important for us to maximize our resources and make them usable for everyone," said Chauncia Willis, emergency coordinator, City of Tampa. "SAP BusinessObjects software helped us do this, and now we have a united, collaborative team that's much more proactive in its efforts. We love the technology, especially its simplicity, ease-of-use and ability to schedule and automate our reporting. This is important to us since our end-users work for government agencies and are not IT professionals. Crystal Reports is so customizable that we are able to deliver information to end-users in formats they are accustomed to working with, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PDF files, whether they are sitting at their desks or on-the-go with mobile devices."
Team members use Crystal Reports templates to complete briefing reports and submit them to team leaders, or "unified commanders," on scheduled intervals. Unified commanders are then notified which team members have submitted briefing reports on deadline and which task owners owe outstanding reports. As a result, agencies and branches overseeing activities in healthcare, casualty planning, transportation, public works, energy, electricity and other utilities all make a stronger effort to have their voices heard by submitting information on time, which provides for a more collaborative, accurate planning cycle. It also enables the EOC to respond more quickly to potential threats. For example, if a suspicious bag is left near a field branch, the branch manager will notify the EOC and document the event and resolution in a briefing report. Because the EOC has a centralized BI system, if a suspicious bag were to be left at any other field branch, the system would quickly identify and flag this as a pattern and alert the appropriate teams.
In preparation for the Super Bowl, and in accordance with National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines, the City of Tampa created emergency plans for many potential disaster events, including securing the Tampa port that supplies the majority of natural gas for Florida; contamination from chemical plants that present hazardous-materials risks; and an attack on the MacDill Air Force Base, which is integral in the war in Iraq. In addition, the City of Tampa was prepared to circumvent disasters that could have been associated with large Super Bowl crowds, including failures in electricity or plumbing.
"The key to preparedness is analyzing all potential disasters from multiple angles," said Eric Kant, E Team product manager, NC4. "Xcelsius is a user-friendly, cost-effective way for our public-sector customers to ensure they're covering every angle and playing out how they would manage and respond to different scenarios."
The City of Tampa uses Xcelsius to perform trend analyses on data residing within reports. For example, if the Stadium branch requested an increased number of blankets during the Super Bowl, the EOC would have been able to provide that branch with extra blankets to anticipate and accommodate the demand. Xcelsius dashboards help teams visualize other information like incidents in chronological order, logistics requests, local hospital statuses and local hospital bed counts. These interactive dashboards also allow the EOC staff to perform important "what if" analyses of the information, to pose hypothetical scenarios and practice appropriate responses.
"Intuitive access to information has the power to change the way the world works," said Marge Breya, general manager and executive vice president, Intelligence Platform Group, SAP BusinessObjects Division. "The City of Tampa is leading by example, demonstrating how SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions are capable of bridging the information divide by empowering people with the data they need to make sound decisions in critical situations. This exemplifies how other organizations can use increased insight to prepare for and avert potential disasters."
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