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Accenture worked with a State Government’s Human Service Agency to launch LENSES, an innovative solution that would deliver robust analysis and reporting capabilities to measure child welfare outcomes in the state. The LENSES solution, which utilizes the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), enables dynamic and flexible reporting that makes data relevant, actionable and transparent—allowing the agency to better achieve its goal of improved accountability, state-wide coordination and greater effectiveness in monitoring children under State supervision. The solution is already delivering significant improvements to the state’s children and families—for example, an increase in Every Child Every Month visitations from 70 percent to more than 90 percent. The result — a tool that improves the lives of the state’s at-risk children and families with one of the most advanced child welfare outcome measurement toolsets in the country.
The state’s ability to meet the needs of its citizens depends upon the agency’s dedicated frontline staff. The agency’s case managers have served children and families for years using a number of legacy systems and paper-based systems. The dependency on a paper-intensive system created greater administrative burden for case managers and hampered information sharing across county offices and between agencies. The agency wanted to eliminate inefficiencies from a paper-based system such as duplicate data entry, conflicting data, and delays resulting from the need to wait for hard copies of case files to arrive via mail or fax. The state recognized the need to develop a statewide, automated child welfare system that would serve as a comprehensive case management support tool for the agency’s more than 3,700 users.
Accenture had earlier worked with the state leadership to implement a robust, Web-based statewide child welfare information and case management system based on Oracle technologies. To drive additional benefits from the improved quality and visibility of data enabled by the new case management system, Accenture approached the state leadership with a recommendation to implement an enhanced reporting solution, integrated with the new system, to enable data-driven, actionable reporting. Accenture’s successful record with the implementation and intimate knowledge of the system, coupled with its deep Oracle skills and the ability to leverage a global alliance with Oracle made it a natural choice for the proposed enhancements.
Accenture recommended the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) v10.2—a solution differentiated by its unified, highly scalable and modern architecture, as well as its comprehensive range of analysis and reporting capabilities. With its critical knowledge of the child welfare and case management domain and strong Oracle systems integration capability, Accenture knew that OBIEE had several powerful features that would be beneficial to the agency, including mobile alerting, drillable reports, security integration and Microsoft Office integration.
Leveraging its skill and experience in implementing Oracle-based solutions, and comprehensive industry, business process and technology capability, Accenture implemented LENSES, a robust business intelligence solution built on OBIEE, and integrated it with the new system in 2009. The LENSES solution leveraged data from the case management system to deliver dynamic, flexible reporting on child safety, permanency and well-being, thus enabling improved decision making. Accenture designed an easily understood graphical user interface that helped determine the impact of policy changes and supported case workers in targeting actions for specific cases at risk. The team initially integrated OBIEE with the system by reporting on top of the transactional Oracle 10g database. This flexible approach allowed the agency to begin the project without building a data warehouse. Later, Accenture integrated Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) to translate the On Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) data into a more typical star schema reporting structure. Accenture has since helped the state convert the OWB ETL scripts to Informatica, which was now the state standard and had a larger developer community.
The DHS has since expanded the OBIEE license to support broader DHS reporting requirements in Child Support—demonstrating the successful adoption of the tool in other program areas. Over four years, Accenture has developed over 100 reports for the agency. The reports contained the ability to drill down from a State level view all the way to looking at individual cases within the new system.
As part of the program, the Accenture team helped the agency implement several innovative technologies, such as mobile capabilities that push case management and staff performance reports to supervisors’ mobile phones, quality data from case reviews to aid analysis, email alerts for proactive monitoring, and quick comparison tools to extract results and compare cases.
LENSES was an evolving and flexible toolset that fundamentally changed the scope of what is possible in the area of child and family welfare through data-driven decision support capabilities. A crucial component of the agency’s broader transformation efforts, LENSES was an innovative approach that made use of emerging technologies to make data relevant, actionable and transparent—enabling the agency to better achieve its aims and serve vulnerable children across the state.
For years, the agency’s managers generated manual reports that could be inaccurate and subject to collector interpretation. With LENSES, leadership across the state, both in the field and at central offices, are examining and making decisions based on the same data, all from one source and of higher quality. The LENSES system took that data and provided actionable reporting, thus creating a sustainable cycle that improved the quality of the work, performance outcomes and accountability. In other words, LENSES has helped improve the state’s interactions and work with families, its overall practices and, ultimately, the lives of state’s at-risk children and families.
Specific benefits resulting from the LENSES solution included the following:
Every Child Every Month visitation rates (case managers’ visits with children in foster care) are among the best in the nation, having increased from 70 percent to more than 90 percent.
Additionally, reports designed to analyze how children under state care are being treated are showing measurable improvements.
Additional benefits are as follows:
Actionable, results-driven reporting that drives results: Part of LENSES’ innovation lay in its ability to provide actionable, predictive reporting, and allows users to track progress and display it on dashboards to guide actions and change likely outcomes before they happen—a critical capability given the agency’s mission. LENSES provided visibility into key federal measures from the Performance Improvement Plan, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and Every Child Every Month, allowing users to drill into the real-time data, identify specific cases and take action before the reporting cycles. LENSES also enabled supervisors to more accurately assess the work of case managers.
Mobile capabilities that allow real-time decisions: The solution’s mobile alert capabilities pushed reports related to case management and staff performance out to leaders through their mobile phones, making the data and the overall system relevant to real-time management decisions.
Quality review data that aids reporting and analysis: The LENSES system also contained quality review data, generated from case reviews conducted by field staff within the new case management system. This allowed for powerful reporting where the system can connect the specific actions, demographics and status from case data and combine it with the quality analysis of case reviews. This information helped direct training, policy and program initiatives based upon more complex results than current transactional and timeframe standards.
Email alerts and up-to-date state and county managers’ reports helped keep caseworkers proactive and performance transparent. Real time updates enabled supervisors to judge the work of case managers much more accurately than before the system was implemented.
LENSES allowed supervisors to extract results and compare cases, child by child, family by family. It enabled quick comparisons between and among groups—for example, performance among 14 — to 16-year-olds as compared to six- to eight-year-olds.
Today, with the powerful approach and functional capability built into LENSES’ Web-based reporting framework, the state now has what may be the most advanced child welfare outcome measurement toolset in the country. LENSES has provided the agency with a robust reporting functionality that includes custom dashboards and alerting mechanisms for mobile devices. It enables the agency to further align its services with the expectations of the Child and Family Services Review Performance Improvement Plan, which mandates broad and measurable progress across multiple aspects of service delivery.
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