Organizational Systems Support

Organizational Systems Support

About the Engagement

In June 2013, following the occurrences of Hurricanes Irene and Lee, and Superstorm Sandy, a state-level disaster recovery organization was created to focus on recovery and rebuilding efforts for effective areas of New York State. The agency’s aid focused on four areas: housing recovery, small business, community reconstruction and infrastructure.

Business Problem

The agency’s division for organizational systems & performance is responsible for delivering agency-wide technical needs from infrastructure and software to maintenance and technical support. As the agency matured and needs became increasingly complex and intertwined, there was a need to create stronger and more disciplined portfolio management, project management and business analysis capabilities and support the agency in critical technical decisions.

Challenges

The common challenge across the agency was a lack of centralized strategies, techniques, and frameworks which presented unique complexities. Examples of these include varying customer service and support strategies for both staff and applications, varying frameworks and processes (or the lack thereof) resulting in missing quality assurance and quality control procedures for critical applications and departments, and maintaining varying agile, hybrid-agile and waterfall software development lifecycle approaches, since multiple systems, or lack of, were used daily, but were not maintained appropriately.

Project Impacts and Outcomes

The engagement team provided agency-tailored technical portfolio, project management, business analysis and quality assurance services, including strategy, training, coaching and hands-on delivery. By the end of the project, the duties of the staff were defined and understood. Project Managers and Business Analysts were maintaining a consistent hybrid-agile framework, leading to on-time and prioritized software delivery, which resulted in high levels of quality assurance, thorough and comprehensive testing, and ensured applications were delivered bug-free to the end users. Customer service and communication were consistent and very well received by other departments. The division maintained a transparent and aligned portfolio of initiatives. The division leadership and agency executives made clear and strategic technical decisions that were aligned with core priorities.

Enterprise Level Data Governance

Enterprise Level Data Governance

About the Engagement

In June 2013, following the occurrences of Hurricanes Irene and Lee, and Superstorm Sandy, a state-level disaster recovery organization was created to focus on recovery and rebuilding efforts for effective areas of New York State. The agency’s aid focused on four areas: housing recovery, small business, community reconstruction and infrastructure.

Business Problem

The agency identified the need to ensure data security best practices were in place and were compliant with state/federal data security, while also ensuring their data security policies and procedures were in-line with the New York state’s central technology office.

Challenges

The first set of challenges were focused on preparations and information gathering. To ensure state and federal compliance, along with understanding the client needs, our requirements gathering across multiple stakeholders and agencies was challenging because of the need for constant communication and stakeholder engagement. Another challenge was maintaining varying agile, hybrid-agile and waterfall software development lifecycle approaches, since multiple systems, or lack of, were used daily. The second set of challenges faced were centralized around the agency. One need was the development of customer service and support strategies for both staff and applications, which were implemented through trainings and presentations. As a result, we developed quality assurance and quality check procedures and created associated documentation for them.

Project Impacts and Outcomes

The Engagement team conducted an assessment to understand the current-state data security policies and processes that were in place. In conjunction, our team analyzed state and federal data security policies to understand guidelines and rules and regulations to ensure agency compliance. Once there was a comprehensive understanding of the current-state and the optimal future-state, we developed a roadmap to ensure compliance, and meet data security guidelines. As a result, while working with the agency, we implemented three components, the Data Privacy Office, software and hardware risk mitigation, and identity and access management. The Data Privacy Office is an agency group, dedicated to monitoring and leading the agency in the event of a data security event. This group implemented proactive policies and procedures for risk mitigation purposes and developed procedures for how to respond in the event of a data security event. The second component, software and hardware risk mitigation, was developed by working with the technical team, overseeing the implementation of enhanced privacy measures (e.g., ensuring all sensitive information access was monitored and had enhanced security beyond other agency data). The third component was identity and access management, created by designing and developing a system to aggregate identity and access information for agency staff, and limited access to information based on “least privileged access” principles.

Student Information System Transformation

Student Information System Transformation

About the Engagement: 

The fourth largest public-school district in the country identified high impact, enterprise-wide technology solutions to make student information more accessible, reduce paperwork, and allow teachers more instructional time with students.  These critical elements are the guiding principles to achieving its mission to be the premier urban school district in the country. The engagement included comprehensive project management which resulted in the replacement of the legacy system and the integration of new systems. Together, the team closed out the delivery of new instructional management programs and academic communication tools in addition to the implementation and integration of new student, curriculum, and special education systems.  

Business Problem 

The district used 40+ year old legacy systems. Over this period of time, they struggled to implement a project management strategy for developing needs and changes in district strategy. The goal was to improve educational outcomes and standards, but this could not happen without the consideration of system updates.   

Challenges 

One of the challenges of the engagement was requirements gathering across a large group of critical stakeholders. Given the size of the district, the number of stakeholders and areas of subject matter review were extensive. In addition, we wanted to ensure that the systems implemented supported the needs of students, faculty, and administration over-time, as priorities and/or standards may shift. 

Project Impacts and Outcomes 

Over an 18-month period, the engagement team worked with the client’s project leaders to develop organizational and operating changes to improve the productivity of the team and accelerate program deployment. The team transformed the technical Project Management Office through portfolio and project management oversight, systems, and tools. The end result of this foundation work was the full implementation of the student information system. In addition, the engagement team focused on developing and implementing documentation models and templates to improve business and technical analysis – leading to improved requirements, coding, and testing.