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In your experience, what GIS solutions provide the greatest ROI for local government's responsibilities?

Examples: Parcel management, managing CRM cases from the public, emergency response, etc.

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what kind of staffing do you have, and does it include developers? Will you need technical support? How is most of your current data stored? –  scw May 22 '11 at 19:20

5 Answers 5

With the understanding that ESRI Press are vendor-driven case studies, they do have some good books and topics on this subject that you can take some value from, regardless of vendor choice. Take a look at:

All contain useful stories and studies on ROI for government/business.

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+1 for GIS for Decision Support and Public Policy Making. Great book. –  Seth P. Jun 22 '11 at 18:28
    
The GIS Guide for Local Government Officials as well as Measuring Up - The Business Case for GIS are both good books (two of my projects are listed here... disclaimer) and cover local needs well. –  D.E.Wright Jun 22 '11 at 22:32

A paper at the 2011 Washington URISA Conference was presented by King County (Seattle, WA) talking about ROI in local government.

Go to their link for presentations and scroll down to Paper #23, "ROI: King County Measures the Benefits of GIS". This presentation also references a few other studies done from other agencies in the US that you might be able to find good references from.

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Envista has studies showing how much money can be saved by coordinating activities of different departments. I don't want this to sound like an advertisement for them - I think other GIS solutions can also achieve similar ROI.

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You should look at your current business process and see how GIS can improve your current workflows. That being said more often than not the biggest bang for the buck in terms of GIS for Local Governments is often Enterprise Asset Management. These implementations when done correctly often provide increased efficiency, a common operational picture, and insight into how money is being spent. It also offers a great opportunity to infuse GIS within the fabric of your organization. That being said these are also very expensive projects which often is an hindrance to getting them green lighted. If this is the case focus on a single workflow that can be greatly improved by the application of GIS and use this as a test case to prove the value of GIS.

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For some, and perhaps most uses, the answer may be 'none'. In many cases fancy systems are being implemented, being fed with poor data, not updated, and therefore not used succesfully. Prior to thinking about a GIS solution, you should think about why maintaining data in a GIS system might add value, and at which cost (cost of maitaining the data, without considering the system). Local governements have functioned without GIS for a long time, jumping on a quickly changing technology may offer less benefits than one might initially assume.

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