As with most projects, budget was a considerable concern. This project however was somewhat unique since the site was being created with public sector resources and this was not going to be a revenue generating project. Because of this, a fixed budget was defined and some of of the requirements became second phase enhancements, while the core functionality was refined to a perfect understanding.
To help with the human resource and salary survey component of the portal, we worked with The Wynford Group, a human resource consulting firm who specializes in salary data reporting. The Wynford Group was able to work with the steering committee to fully define all requirements for the salary survey section and also help with documentation of the system for members.
A clean and simple design that incorporated the "Trading Post" theme was used bring the site to life. A login was provided on the main page so that users with different security permissions would only see the links and data that they had access to, while other links were hidden and secured. The steering committee was given full access to alter the content in various sections, by implementing a content management system (CMS), so that they could keep the site "fresh" with the latest news and current events, as well as provide new subscribers with their various access levels.
A website forum was created to provide a managed communication mechanism within the community keeping members up to date, promoting participation and regular use of the site. A document library was also developed to centrally manage important documents and has become a vital part of the portal. As a requirement of membership, municipalities must post certain documents to the document library. This ensures that municipalities do not just "leech" off the system but instead become active contributors. The salary survey, which was the key component of the site, was created with the concept of ease-of-use in mind. Members are able to work with a restricted Excel spreadsheet to upload their salary data following a strict set of guidelines to ensure data integrity. A custom reporting engine allows members to produce Excel reports with as much of the data as they desire allowing for quick and easy manipulation or integration into their individual systems.