Creating the capacity for greater caring
While ACS is best known for the provision of child welfare and protection services, the agency also administers other critical programs aimed at delivering child care services and early education for families in need. Although the programs, known as Child Care and Head Start, are effectively run as separate programs, they often serve the same clients and therefore maintain a number of overlapping processes.
The two programs were facing significant capacity shortages and quickly recognized that greater efficiency could be gained by sharing an integrated system. Moreover, Child Care’s existing legacy system was rapidly becoming outdated, making upgrades and adjustments difficult and costly to execute. Head Start, on the other hand, was largely managed via manual processes and spreadsheets. This created challenges in the Federal Claiming process and led to reduced efficiency and increased potential for inaccuracies.
As a result, the leadership of ACS initiated a strategic initiative to consolidate the administration of these two programs and develop a comprehensive system capable of supporting the business processes of both programs in order to better serve clients, enhance overall efficiency and create a single avenue of service for citizens and service providers.
Transforming processes with enabling technology
To support their initiative, ACS engaged KPMG in the US to provide business process analysis, requirements definition, and project monitoring and quality assurance (PMQA) services that would take the agency from project inception through to completion. KPMG worked with ACS to perform a business process analysis effort to help define a future state that streamlined the separate administrative processes for the two programs. KPMG then worked with ACS to define a set of requirements based on this future state that truly reflected the needs of each program. Once requirements were finalized, KPMG also performed a feasibility study and gap analysis against available solutions, and ultimately assisted the city in selecting a Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) software package best suited for the project’s needs and assisted with the selection of a systems integrator.
Working closely with program administrators, clients and service providers, the team from KPMG set about developing a comprehensive catalogue of more than 2,000 specific requirements across a range of key categories such as eligibility, enrollment, attendance, facility management and provider management, budget, payments, and claims. To ensure that all business needs would be addressed by the requirements, the team also conducted a series of facilitated sessions with community users and service providers to gain their insight into the challenges and needs that they faced when working with the programs.
Based on these requirements, the KPMG team reviewed a number of existing software solutions in the market to develop a fit/gap assessment that would help the agency understand the merits of either purchasing an ‘off the shelf’ solution or developing a proprietary solution to meet ACS’s business needs.
With clear insight into both the requirements and the system options, the team then worked with the agency to develop a Request for Proposal to engage a systems integrator capable of accomplishing the implementation within the timelines, budget, and scope demanded. KPMG also supported the process by providing selection assistance services and contract reviews to help the agency identify the potential risks, interdependencies, and requirements and – where possible – mitigate them.
Throughout the proposed implementation, KPMG was tasked with providing project management and quality assurance services to help ACS ensure that the project was going to plan and successfully delivering their defined requirements.
Having documented and approved the specific business requirements for both programs, ACS was able to clearly identify potential risks and help ensure that the investment would deliver the efficiencies, functionality, and enhanced capacity that was demanded by administrators, case workers, service providers, and – most importantly – clients.
In addition, by working with a single vendor from the assessment of requirements stage through to quality assurance, the agency will be better able to trace alignment to their requirements across the full project lifecycle including the design, development, build, and test phases.