Children’s services organization modernizes the way it works with an innovative web-based application.
An independent county agency in Florida plans, funds, and evaluates prevention and early intervention programs and services and promotes public policies that benefit the county’s children and families. Its mission is to distribute local, state, and federal monies to service providers in the county that help children get a healthy start in life. Funding from the agency helps support nearly 680 organizations across the county, including local agencies, grassroots nonprofits, childcare sites, and more.
When new county regulations passed that increased reporting and accountability protocols, the agency felt the impact. It had to come up with a way to more clearly measure and demonstrate the outcomes achieved by the services provided to program participants. To do this, it needed a better way to capture, store, and report on its data.
The agency reached out to CAI as an existing trusted IT partner to evaluate potential data systems and make a recommendation. Working in close collaboration with the agency, CAI determined the best approach was a custom web-based application and subsequently was awarded the project to develop the system in 2010.
CAI developed the data system and for nearly a decade also provided ongoing consulting for application support and enhancements on the data system. Over ten years, the agency embraced the custom application and has come to rely fully on it as an enterprise-wide data housing system. As the organization’s use of the application expanded year after year across the enterprise, it became clear the application needed to be upgraded.
CAI began work on a multi-year modernization project to upgrade the application’s architecture and framework. As part of the modernization work, CAI continued to support the application and – at the same time – re-architect the core components of the framework and its user experience, security, and mobility. Modernization project goals included improving data collection, reducing manual work, improving the customer experience, ensuring the highest degree of security, and enabling mobile users.
Today, the agency has an enterprise data solution that does exactly what it needs: delivers quantitative data on its services and the outcomes they provide to county residents.
The new architecture creates an n-tier application that separates the data layers, business rules layer, and user experience layer. This allows business users to make changes to the application themselves instead of involving IT. It also makes deployments and enhancements faster. The modernized application performs better, is more scalable, and is easier to maintain.
Almost immediately upon implementing the application, the agency was able to eliminate approximately 60,000 paper documents, leverage online consents, and easily configure new consents through the user interface without IT support. Because of the application’s new multi-factor authentication, the agency is better able to protect its constituents' personal and sensitive data. By enabling mobile and other digital options as well as improving the user experience, CAI reduced the time and effort of service providers using the system and improved satisfaction and adoption.
And, because of the intuitive design, even busy and non-technically minded human services agents in the field can easily engage with the application, access required modules, and save time gathering the data necessary for sustaining the program and its funding. Enhanced mobility of the application allows the agency to reach more of the county’s population and provide a familiar interface for parents and families benefiting from the many services the agency enables.
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