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As part of New York City Comptroller, John C. Liu’s ongoing effort to increase transparency and promote equal opportunity for all New Yorkers the NYC Comptroller’s Office sought assistance from REI Systems to help create a website to track City government spending with Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

Background


The website, now known as “M/WBE Report Card NYC” is the latest addition to the My Money NYC online transparency initiative. It provides nearly real-time spending information for the City’s 100+ agencies with
M/WBE-certified vendors. The information reflects actual agency expenditures, rather than projected numbers, but does not currently include sub-contracting data.

“M/WBE Report Card NYC” allows New Yorkers to see where each City agency ranks on M/WBE spending and what industries and M/WBE-certified companies do the most business with the City.

Challenge


In October 2010, Assistant Comptroller for Budget / Chief Policy Officer, Ari Hoffnung, shared with REI Systems, his vision to develop a report card that will measure the amount of business City agencies conduct with minority and women owned business.

On technical side, one of the biggest challenges was to have Drupal and visualizations work with large data set. In our current system M/WBE receives 15,000 transactions per day and the system is supporting over 2 million transactions to date.

In addition, Mr. Hoffnung asked REI Systems to develop M/WBE Report Card on an unprecedented schedule. The site had to be launched publicly within 10 weeks. This was to align with celebrating 5th anniversary of local law 129.

Solution


Our response to technical challenge?
We built custom Drupal modules that integrate with Drupal content types, and configured efficient queries to work with large data sets. To improve performance even further, we added functionality to pre-aggregate data. We built modules that bring advanced dashboard functionality to Drupal. This fully functional site can be accessed through mobile devices.

This platform allowed us to quickly adapt to new requirements.

Results


Thanks to the vision of NYC Comptroller’s Office and expertise of REI Systems M/WBE Report Card was actually developed in just ten weeks, culminating in a Dec. 16, 2010 public launch. M/WBE provides insight into total spending of over 100 citywide agencies. Not only can the user view data by minority groups (namely- Asian American, Black American, Hispanic American, Caucasian Women), but can also get analysis for Non-M/WBE and Individuals & Others. Additionally, the website allows the user to navigate M/WBE Spending by Agency, Industry and Contract amount, which can be sorted in any order by column.

Features such as visualizations including stack charts, pie charts, grid views; ability to drill down to a transaction; sorting abilities by every column; ability to compare the M/WBE share to NYC Spending; easy accessibility through filter and search fields makes the data more user-friendly.

No wonder Mr. Ari Hoffnung shared his excitement with us by sending us this note on Dec. 15, 2010:
“Your team is GREAT! The site looks amazing and we’re excited for tomorrow’s launch. All the best, Ari”