The Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) is expressing cautious satisfaction with a project which is helping it achieve integration and inter-operability for services representing around 40 per cent of the State Government's total outlays.
DHS is using product suites from PeopleSoft and Tibco to help it bring legacy information from multiple sources and systems into an interactive, responsive service platform for all Victorians. DHS' Client Services Model Strategic Project supports information sharing and case coordination across programs where services are provided to the same client. It includes four system components: Client Relationship Information System (CRIS), CRIS for Service Providers (CRISSP), Front End Reception Information System (FERIS) and DHS Common Client Layer (CCL).
The EAI project, which will continue to be rolled out over the next several years, provides the foundation required to provide an integrated experience for clients through better information exchange and case co-ordination between DHS businesses serving the same client. DHS also plans to make the system available to external agencies (NGOs) who deal with DHS child protection and disability clients at a later date.
"By bringing together common elements of information from DHS client systems across program areas, we will be able to identify multi program clients and provide case workers with a more holistic view of the client and particularly what other DHS services the clients is using," says DHS director information services Bob Reynolds.
Reynolds says the Department will also development of an information system to support "front end contact", or receptionists, which will record client data, schedule appointments and provide information on services
Reynolds says while it is early days yet, the Department is so far very satisfied with its deployment of the Tibco product suite so far.
"What we have done to date has been highly successful, and we're very, very happy with the products we chose," he says. "With EAI we adopted a strategy of really heavy involvement of the business upfront in making the decision to go down an information broker path. But we have also been fairly careful about not overselling the product and having quite a deliberate release strategy to first of all address some of our critical client systems then our information and corporate systems and now we're starting to spread it throughout the organization."
Reynolds says DHS is a very large and complex organization, with around 11,300 full time equivalent staff in over six hundred locations across Victoria and an annual output budget of approximately $10 billion.
The BPM/EAI EAI project was inspired by a new corporate ICT strategy which pushed hard for integration and a review of major systems initiatives within a range of our key program delivery areas.
"For example, over 60 point-to-point spaghetti-like interfaces (inbound and outbound) were identified in eight of the key corporate systems, including 18 in the Oracle Financials application alone. The EAI project identified in the corporate ICT Strategy includes the conversion of these interfaces," Reynolds says.
He says key strategic business drivers for the strategy included a need for greater flexibility and responsiveness in supporting an expanding service delivery portfolio and changing needs and expectations of clients and business areas, as well as a need for a client-centric view and greater coordination and sharing of information and resources across programs.
"In addition, legacy systems were not keeping pace with changing business needs - leading to ad hoc development of shadow systems to overcome limited functionality," Reynolds says.
"Emergence of new technologies like CRM, e-Business and Web Services gave us opportunities for improved outcomes."
Reynolds says the EAI project has already achieved better alignment of information systems with business needs and allowed the department to manage ICT resources more cost effectively.
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