Goodbye Legacy Applications, Hello Agency Efficiency
A government agency with a local mission of supervising adults on probation, parole, and supervised release, and helping them back into the community through various programs, was using siloed legacy applications to run its supervision and record tracking system. There was no centralized way to track and provide visibility into the success of its programs. The aging applications were also time-consuming to maintain, making it impossible to address legislation and regulatory changes promptly. The agency had been pursuing a modernization path for the last five years, but the progress was not keeping up with the changes it needed to make. Having previously attended an App-in-a-Day workshop led by AIS, the team wanted to explore a cloud solution that could help them rapidly meet their goals around agility and visibility.
They reached out to see if we could help. Of the 25-plus applications that were part of the agency’s legacy system, AIS agreed to migrate the two most complex apps: A parolee plan application that provides assessment and goal setting and a finance application for managing treatment program costs. These two apps would serve as a pilot to show what Power Platform could do for the agency in terms of improving performance and insights and reducing maintenance efforts. The agency also asked AIS to build a new mobile app that would allow probationers, parolees, and others under supervised release to track their own progress and see input from case officers. While the first two applications are only accessible to the agency’s staff, the external progress tracking solution built on Power Apps Portals can be accessed by all parties, internal and external. “One of our main focus areas is helping clients modernize by rethinking how they are using their enterprise software. With tools like Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI, we can take functionality from different software and create new combinations that are more efficient and streamlined,” said Chris Poteet, Solution Director and Business Applications Lead for AIS.
Driving Organizational Impact
Tackling the most complex application first, we were able to create a production-ready solution for developing and tracking success plans for an offender that is currently in limited release. The canvas app, created with Power Apps, has 6 modules that collect all necessary information during the screening process conducted by a case officer. Power Automate was used to streamline processes and reduce the time and effort it took to incorporate data into forms. “The current plan for the offenders, which includes areas like substance abuse prevention and social integration, was being managed in Word documents, meaning the data is not centralized, accessible, or even shared in many cases. We’re able to create an application that lets case managers enter it directly into the application and store it in a database so that both the agency and the offender can track progress and ensure that they are meeting their goals,” said Corey Carter, Business Applications Solution Architect at AIS. The information in the legacy system needed a robust, secure data store. AIS pulled in partner Simple Technology Solutions (STS), with whom they have since formed a joint venture, Applied Cloud Technologies (ACT).
Together, we created a cloud-based data platform around the agency’s existing Azure SQL Managed Instance database. This helped them improve the speed and accuracy of data coming from other government agencies and law enforcement departments. “A data transfer process originally took about two hours. Our data engineers just got it down to under ten minutes,” said Carter. “The mission of this agency is really admirable—they’re helping people get back into society and be successful in their goals. Power Platform is giving us a way to support that mission, not only solving their immediate business challenge quickly but doing it in a strategic, long-term way that adapts easily to the changing needs of the organization and the people it serves,” said Peter Joyce, Account Executive at AIS.
Accelerating Growth with Power Platform Experience
In addition to being a Microsoft Gold partner, AIS is a Microsoft FastTrack for Azure partner and was named the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year for Power Apps and Power Automate and was a finalist in 2021 for the same award. We originated the Power Platform Adoption Framework on GitHub, the community-driven global standard for leveraging the Power Platform at scale. “Microsoft provides an enterprise cloud platform that enables pro-dev and citizen developers to work in harmony,” said Poteet. “We’re helping organizations build enterprise-grade solutions on Power Platform and Azure, form a culture of collaboration, and establish fusions teams that drive continued adoption and value of these platforms. As the speed of innovation accelerates, this toolkit will help so many organizations keep up, and we are excited to guide them on that journey.” We have seen the results. With 400 percent year-over-year growth in our Business Applications practice, and has seen particularly strong growth in financial services, healthcare, and of course, the public sector in both U.S. and European markets.
A Partner Who Meets Future Business Demands
A Microsoft Gold Partner with expertise in cloud transformation and the government sector, AIS is experienced with helping clients move off aging IT systems. In addition to helping companies evolve their aging IT systems, we help businesses focus on meeting emerging demands by empowering citizen developers. Because many organizations have a software development backlog, pushing the development of less complex applications to business users can expedite the workflow through the use of Power Platform. “It’s about helping organizations make better use of their investments. Instead of parking an army of people at a client’s site until the end of time—which can kill the value proposition—our approach is to automate as much as possible, empower our client’s own people wherever we can, and inject our industry-leading experts and IP as needed. We give people the tools to create and collaborate on applications the business needs. No matter what your title is, you have the power to drive business transformation with Power Platform.” said Joyce.
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