Published on 15-Jun-2011
Validated on 02 Dec 2013
"Thanks to IBM SPSS software, we can provide the necessary statistics, analyses and reports required by the Federal Employment Agency and political authorities at a cost that can be justified. That helps us tremendously to document and provide valid evidence of our successful work as an opt-in local authority." - Annette Wulfgramm, Stadt Wiesbaden
City of Wiesbaden
Business Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Business-to-Consumer
Smarter Cities, Smarter Government
Since January 2005, the German state capital Wiesbaden (Landeshauptstadt Wiesbaden) has participated in a special program that supports job seekers and people needing support to obtain employment and for their physical survival. The city of Wiesbaden’s Employment and Social Services Agency’s Social Services department is in charge of this program.
The Employment and Social Services Agency in Wiesbaden needed to generate detailed internal reports, as well as reports to its funders and the public. The agency wanted to investigate and analyze large quantities of data in a clear and user-friendly way. The solution had to be scalable, customizable and flexible – while saving money.
The Wiesbaden Agency chose IBM® SPSS® Statistics software for statistical data analysis. Analyses can now be performed with a simple click of a button. And the software allows multiple data sources to be easily incorporated in the analysis. And by using IBM SPSS Custom Tables software, the results can quickly be displayed in presentation-quality tables.
With IBM SPSS software, the state capital of Wiesbaden has a userfriendly solution that provides the required statistics, cross-data source analyses and clear reports at a low cost. Network licensing makes IBM SPSS software flexible enough to be adapted to suit customer requirements, as well as being cost-effective and administration-friendly.
To read a German version of this case study, please click here.
Since January 2005, the German state capital Wiesbaden has participated in a special program that supports job seekers and people needing support to obtain employment and for their physical survival. While this is traditionally a function of the Federal Employment Agency, Wiesbaden is the largest of 69 local authorities that have opted to take on this responsibility themselves. The city of Wiesbaden’s Employment and Social Services Agency’s Social Services department is in charge of this program.
The agency’s additional work is funded by the Federal Employment Agency. In turn, the local agency is required to provide the federal agency with a highly detailed report of how the money is being spent. The agency must also regularly inform other political and administration authorities (for example, the Wiesbaden municipality) about its work.
The agency needs a multitude of facts, figures and analyses both for this “public” reporting to the employment agency, the municipality, the public and internal controlling as well as for managing and controlling its own work. One of the main tools used for the “figures and analysis work” is IBM SPSS Statistics for statistical data analysis.
Annette Wulfgramm is responsible for implementing, reporting and controlling using IBM SPSS Statistics. She has been working with IBM SPSS Statistics for a number of years and soon became acquainted with the software’s benefits and qualities: “IBM SPSS Statistics is easier to operate and more user-friendly than other solutions. Many employees came across the software as a standard tool during their educational studies, so for them it needs no further introduction.” Initially, Annette Wulfgramm provided reporting and controlling as a service for the department responsible for the basic social care of job seekers. More recently, she has moved into that same department where she worked to implement analysis, reporting and controlling.
“Data generation and data analysis consequently moved closer together. Knowledge is now generated directly on site in the relevant departments”, she explained. Wulfgramm is currently engaged in practical work with IBM SPSS Statistics for statistical data analysis and IBM SPSS Custom Tables for the production of clear reports that are easy to understand. “The pressure to constantly account for what we do and provide evidence of results is already huge,” continued Wulfgramm. “Thanks to IBM SPSS software, we can provide the necessary statistics, analyses and reports required by the Federal Employment Agency and political authorities at a cost that can be justified. That helps us tremendously to document and provide valid evidence of our successful work as an opt-in local authority.”
Successful reporting with simple data integration, evaluation and analysis
Every quarter the agency is required to provide the administrative authorities and the public with a report on developments and achievements about its work with job seekers. “With IBM SPSS Statistics, the job is quick and easy,” explained Wulfgramm. Most of the data that the agency uses is in an SQL database. Queries are easily launched with the touch of a button and can be analyzed according to user-defined criteria. IBM SPSS Custom Tables enables results to be displayed quickly in easy-to-read tables suitable for presentation – , a key foundation in successful reporting.
Wulgramm finds that another benefit to using IBM SPSS Statistics is its ability to include various sources of data in the analysis process, in addition to those contained in the SQL database. For example, information can be used from various systems to provide evidence of the agency’s success. And data from the city’s students database can be integrated to ensure that students who have completed their coursework and are approaching graduation are included in case management.
Financial controlling and planning local authority activities with IBM SPSS software
As well as reporting, financial controlling is another job on Annette Wulfgramm’s to-do list. It is not just data regarding jobs, placements and successes that are analyzed, but also the successes of the case workers themselves. IBM SPSS software makes it possible to conduct analyses right down to individual case worker level.
IBM SPSS software has also become an important foundational tool for coordinating, planning and reporting on the financial activities of the agency. IBM SPSS statistical analyses have served as the basis for revealing why there was a disproportionate number of hard-to-contact, unemployed single parents in a particular district. The software helped the agency determine that the reason was administrative and not sociological or demographic. In this particular district, there were simply many large homes allocated to single mothers. The cause was not an increase in the divorce rate. “So, childcare provision was improved in this area to enable better communication with the single parents living there,” continued Wulfgramm.
This opt-in program was by law, temporary, but it has recently been extended. So Wiesbaden, as an opt-in local authority, will continue using IBM SPSS software to document its successful work assisting job seekers.
Technical implementation by a local IT outsourcing service provider
Wiesbaden began IT outsourcing some years ago. For cost-saving reasons, all IT services are now contracted out and provided by an external company. “In nearly all major cities these days, we meet external IT service providers, whom we involve in partnership working within our projects,” said Daniel M. Schiller, IBM SPSS sales representative responsible for the local authority sector.
According to Schiller, the way IBM SPSS network licenses are managed facilitates these partnerships. Licenses are centrally managed via a server. The IT service provides can easily request and gain access to licenses through this network managed centrally via a server with the IT service provider and the request is made for licenses that are currently freely available via the network. Schiller says that server and network load is negligible, as statistical computation processes are still undertaken on user’s PCs and the server is only used for license management.
For larger projects, IBM also provides an IBM SPSS Statistics server option. Computations can be executed on high-performance multiprocessor servers, thus maximizing performance. “Scalability is a great strength of IBM SPSS software, which is flexible enough to be customized to suit increasing customer requirements. It’s very important to us to be able to offer our customers the opportunity of starting off with a small solution, so they gain confidence in our solutions while keeping their initial investment at a manageable level,” said Schiller.
IBM SPSS network licenses increase flexibility and reduce costs
The benefits of IBM SPSS network licenses have impressed heads of departments and staff, the procurement department and IT service providers in the state capital Wiesbaden. The pool of available IBM SPSS Statistics network licenses is currently divided between users from two neighboring departments.
“Local authority budgets are usually calculated and fixed on an annual basis and according to the anticipated requirement. If new users join during the fiscal year and there is not sufficient budget provision, we can usually only schedule a rollout with our customers for the following year. With our network licenses, we can offer local authorities the greatest possible flexibility, even during the current budgetary period. New users, both in departments as well as those
working across a number of locations, can use the existing licenses at any time. This dispenses with the need for purchasing additional new licenses for incoming users and relieves the pressure on the local authority budget,” said Schiller.
Easier IT administration and logging functionality
Schiller sees another big plus for this form of license from the point of view of IT administration: “Each year we usually provide our customers with a new update of IBM SPSS Statistics. For single-user licenses, IT staff have to enter the new license key separately on each user’s PC for every single update. Often, whole local authority departments use IBM SPSS Statistics. That can represent quite a few day’s worth of work for IT staff – particularly when the work needs to be done across several locations.
“We also had cases where no data whatsoever could be entered while users waited for IT updates or users were working with outdated versions for years, even though the current version was sitting on the shelf.” Network licenses can now bypass a large amount of this work for IT administrators in Wiesbaden. The license key only needs to be entered once into the license management software on a server and the software can then be distributed via .msi files from the central server to user’s PCs. Furthermore, according to Schiller, the logging functionality, according to the date and time used and by which user, contributes towards highlighting the actual license requirement and thus towards facilitating budget negotiations with regard to controlling.
IBM SPSS network licenses meet the requirement for cost effectiveness
I am delighted that, after several months of successful cooperation with Ms Wulfgramm and the other stakeholders from procurement and IT in Wiesbaden, we have been able to arrive at another model solution for a successful software rollout including all the relevant interface stakeholders in the local area. I am firmly convinced that many other opt-in local authorities will recognize the benefits of our solution and that we can thus make our contribution to the success of the pilot projects for opt-in local authorities in Germany,” continued Schiller.
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