The City of Redmond has partnered with to test out a new public sector software program that Mayor John Marchione says will cut administrative costs and help establish Redmond as the "government of the future."
The software is called Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, and the city will become the first government entity in the world to try out the product in July when it officially implements a new version that is specifically designed for the public sector. City officials met with Microsoft representatives at on Thursday for a kick-off celebration that also enabled city employees to become more familiar with the new product.
Gail Thomas, Microsoft's U.S. state and local government vice president, said the partnership is an important milestone for both Microsoft and Redmond.
"We applaud the City of Redmond to envision what was possible," she said. "Redmond's really been a pioneer in implementing this solution first."
Marchione said the city will use the software across mulitple departments for payroll, expenses and purchasing. Eventually the city will also use the software in its budget formation process, he said.
"As mayor, I wanted to upgrade the city's technology, and I wanted to partner with Microsoft because they're right in our own backyard," Marchione said.
But the partnership will provide the city with more than just updated technology, Marchione said. The software deal has been deeply discounted because city employees have spent the past several months testing out the product and providing feedback to the hundreds of engineers who developed the public sector version of Dynamics AX over the last two years.
Michael Bailey, the city's finance director, said the city is spending about $150,000 in cash to purchase the software, which he estimates to be worth $5 to $10 million, including implementation costs.
Once the software is fully implemented, Marchione anticipates it will save the city an additional $200,000 annually by eliminating the need for two staff positions — one in accounting and one in payroll.
Bailey said the staff reduction fits in with the city's ongoing efforts to operate more efficiently. The last budget, he said, eliminated 50 full-time positions.
Meanwhile, Bailey believes various forms of new technology will help city officials become more visible and accountable to the public. He pointed to the police department's as an example.
"We want to continue to develop features to put good information in front of folks," he said.