Align, develop, & engage performance year-round & build a winning workforce. Reduce your performance management overhead and better engage employee development with emPerform. Intuitive, complete & flexible employee performance management software.
In this case study:
Client: DC Child and Family Services Agency
Industry: Public Sector
Products and Services:
Microsoft Power Platform
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Azure Cloud
Location: Washington, DC
The DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) is the primary public child welfare agency in the District of Columbia, entrusted with the crucial responsibility of safeguarding child victims and those vulnerable to abuse and neglect, while also providing vital assistance to their families. As a dedicated agency, CFSA is committed to ensuring the well-being and safety of children in the community, working diligently to prevent harm, intervene in cases of maltreatment, and support families in need.
The Need for Online Access to Social Assistance
The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the inefficiencies ca used by manual forms and systems in place for the public to apply for assistance and essential child welfare services. The agency knew that to provide the best possible support to children and families, it needed to modernize its processes and make the application processes efficient and accessible online and mobile. More specifically, the agency wanted to make it easier to administer a subsidy program that gives financial aid to grandparents and close relatives caring for minor children whose parents cannot care for them.
CFSA partnered with Quisitive and collaboratively, they undertook a tight seven-month transformative project to introduce a Kinship Navigator platform to streamline child welfare subsidy application processes, optimize accessibility, and bolster support for DC’s community. The Quisitive team worked closely with the Agency to create a public-facing portal and mobile app to process subsidy applications. The result has been a transformation is how the public and staff process and track applications, and has resulted in more families gaining access to essential financial aid that helps to keep children safe and with their families.
Getting the Kinship Navigator App Up and Running
Through close collaboration with CFSA, Quisitive’s team conducted extensive discovery and research, pinpointing pain points in existing workflows and strategically devising automated processes for a comprehensive and user-friendly public website and application. Leveraging Microsoft’s Power Platform Power Pages, Dynamics 365, and Azure Cloud, as the core technology stack, Quisitive was able to develop an intuitive website and mobile application that allows families to submit applications, upload documents, and track important information they need to receive essential services and financial aid.
“Our experience with Quisitive was great. We were under a very tight deadline they brought a team together with different skills across user experience, software development, and mobile development. It is amazing how much work we got done in a short timeframe and produced an excellent product.”
Issa Barkett, Project Manager, CFSA
“When designing the Kinship Navigator platform, we needed to ensure that grandparents and close relatives could access the app and web portal easily. We used a user-centered design to ensure the platform was simple to use and could help these families navigate this process as easily as possible.”
Mark Nagao, Power Platform Solution Architect, Quisitive
Keeping DC Families Together
Since the rollout of the Kinship Navigator program, CFSA has experience a drastic uptake of applications for social services. Close to 8,000 families have accessed and used the app and website.
- Reduction in foster care entries
- More families gaining access to vital services and support
- Better child safety and security
- Faster processing of applications and reduced administrative time and costs
“The Kinship Navigator app helps us to achieve our mission of keeping families together. Any delays in families trying to access services could mean that a child is separated and ends up in foster care and this application solves that.”
Robert L. Matthews, Agency Director, CFSA
Working with Quisitive was seamless. They became an extension of our team. They took the time to understand our organization and users and brought our vision to life.”
Empowering Child Welfare: A Transformative Journey with Quisitive
Quisitive’s indispensable role in revolutionizing child welfare services in DC has left an enduring positive impact on vulnerable children and families, reinforcing the power of technology in fostering positive change and social well-being.
“We loved developing this solution with CFSA. Knowing that this technology impacts people’s lives and helps make their situations better is very rewarding, and is why we do what we do.”
Mark Nagao, Power Platform Solution Architect, Quisitive
Business automation is changing how organizations operate – and that is especially true for state and local governments. There is more pressure than ever before to deliver better levels of service for citizens while optimizing their utility of time, money, and resources.
In this free series, our solution experts explore a variety of ways you can start using Microsoft’s Power Platform and Quisitive MazikCare and PowerGov today to automate with low/no-code application development and do more with less.
Your Partner for Complete Digital Transformation
Accelerating Digital Innovation in Public Service for 15 Years
We assist governments in reimagining what is next. For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and nearly 70% of people will live in cities by 2050. This ongoing migration creates unprecedented opportunities and intensifies problems such as aging infrastructure, public health and safety hazards, pollution, crime, and traffic. Our PowerGov and MazikCare solutions help you to serve your community more efficiently.
City Harvest, New York City’s largest non-profit food rescue organization, quickly realized that depending on spreadsheets for effective financial planning and reporting was an inefficient way of handling the numerous projects and daily transactions they manage.
City Harvest’s Finance team partnered with Quisitive to implement Board as a solution to their spreadsheet woes. This move resulted in drastic improvements in City Harvest’s financial business processes, including:
- Improved financial planning & streamlined budgeting administration
- Integration of multiple data sources & account segments into one platform
- A reduction in the budgeting timeline by 20 days
- Increased accuracy of data collected
- Faster access to information and reports
Feeding New York City
City Harvest began in 1982 when a group of concerned New Yorkers saw nutritious food going to waste in restaurants and realized that this food could be redirected to soup kitchens and food pantries to help feed neighbors in need. Since then, City Harvest has rescued more than 750 million pounds of food, and delivered it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and community partners across New York City. The organization now manages a fleet of 22 trucks, 160 full-time employees, and 10,000 volunteers annually who collectively help feed the nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. City Harvest is New York City’s private response to hunger, and the work they do is supported by individual and corporate donations and foundation grants.
The Need for Board at City Harvest
Prior to using Board, City Harvest was using approximately 200 spreadsheets for corporate budgeting and planning. Since these spreadsheets were not connected, financial information had to be gathered and manually inputted and consolidated from many sources, which was time-consuming and contributed to delays in budgeting timelines.
City Harvest needed to ensure that its financial administrative processes were working as efficiently as possible to address the organization’s multi-faceted business model and support its aggressive growth plans.
City Harvest began searching for a corporate performance management platform that integrated well with their existing Microsoft Dynamics™ GP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and made it simple to manage complex allocations and projects.
A new system would need to meet their requirements and deliver on results:
- streamline the budgeting process for the entire organization
- meet budget timelines and create actionable reports
- manage complex cost allocations and projects
- reduce staff costs and time spent on budgeting
- streamline decision making and data entry processes
Moreover, they needed a partner that could fully support their vision and work with them to launch a new system in a tight six-month timeline.
City Harvest reviewed many systems and ultimately chose Board because of its flexibility, simple interface, powerful reporting, audit trail capabilities, multi-contributor access permissions, ability to track personnel expenses, robust administrative controls, advanced security, integration with Dynamics GP, and impressive modeling and forecasting options.
City Harvest engaged Quisitive, a Premier Board Partner and leader in financial management consulting, to plan and implement their Board Solution. Board was configured to:
- provide managers with access to reports
- give each staff member a unique login
- allow staff to edit and view budgets based on set permissions
- provide error-free, dynamic reporting with built-in cost allocations
create validation reports to ensure that correct information is captured consistently
provide data integrity across many users for increased confidence in the numbers being presented
City Harvest’s Journey with Quisitive & Board
Quisitive worked with the City Harvest team to plan a successful launch of Board. Understanding how to configure Board appropriately meant that the Quisitive team had to be extremely responsive and hands-on. No stone was left unturned. Quisitive ensured the Scope of Work was well defined and updates were communicated regularly and that users were given the training needed to be successful.
Quisitive’s in-depth knowledge of financial systems and flexibility in understanding business models and reporting requirements helped ensure that Board was fully configured and launched in time for City Harvest’s budget season.
Well-Defined Scope of Work
Both the Quisitive and City Harvest teams needed to clearly understand what was required and the best features of Board that would solve the issues. The scope of work was detailed and there was regular communication between both teams, thus eliminating confusion and increasing the speed that Board was implemented.
Quisitive worked with City Harvest to make use of Board’s ability to add modules ‘piece-by-piece’. As such, the team was able to focus on developing use-cases and functionality that would allow for the greatest short-term impact and allow the City Harvest team to launch Board within 6 months. Quisitive also worked with City Harvest to stagger the implementation to allow for testing, user feedback, and refinements to ensure that each component and process was rolled out as efficiently as possible and continued to build on success.
Guided User Training
Training was an essential component of this stage of the process. All staff members were trained in how to effectively use Board.
Since launching Board in January 2019, City Harvest has been able to realize significant benefits and improvements to their financial planning & reporting process; including:
- Reduced budgeting timeline by a total of 20 days, resulting in a faster budgeting & reforecasting season.
- Easy access to real-time budgets and reports by managers, increasing visibility into key financials and improving the accuracy of budgets & reports.
- Establishing one uniform source for financial and operational data across the organization.
- Provided more accurate insights into future budgets & financial forecasting.
City Harvest plans to move beyond the budgeting function to include integration of financial data from other sources. One such integration involves tracking salary and benefits information for employees.
They also plan to use Board as a data warehouse for storing and efficiently using all of their financial data.
Moreover, City Harvest is excited to see what benefits they will realize from Board’s forecasting capabilities across cost centers and amidst a time of rapid growth.
“Using Board, managers have an easier way of working with and understanding their budgets. This has improved the participation in and accuracy of our data and reports. We can now spend more time ensuring continued sound fiscal management of City Harvest.”
The Challenge: Moving Beyond the Annual Review Process
Prior to implementing emPerform, this prominent City in Texas faced significant challenges with its existing performance review tool. The system was difficult to manage due to its lack of configurability and user-friendliness, making it challenging for supervisors to communicate with employees about their performance and provide feedback that could facilitate growth and development.
The City’s Council recognized that they needed a more comprehensive performance management solution that would help increase the quality and frequency of performance discussions. The once-a-year performance review process was not sufficient, and they needed a better tool to support their goals.
The Impact of emPerform at the City
After launching emPerform, the City has experienced significant benefits for HR, employees, and managers.
1. Improved Performance Review Process
emPerform has greatly improved the performance review process at the City through the implementation of more regular check-ins. The upgraded process has increased communication frequency between supervisors and staff, simplifying the process for both parties and improving efficiency.
Their primary goal was not to reduce time spent on the process but to provide more opportunities for feedback. emPerform helped the City achieve this balance, leading to motivated employees and a clear path to success within the organization.
2. Consistent & Frequent Feedback and Discussions
By using emPerform, the City has facilitated more frequent feedback discussions between employees and their supervisors. This has resulted in better clarity and understanding of job expectations, leading to improved employee performance and experiences.
“With emPerform, we have experienced a significant improvement in our ability to have frequent and meaningful performance conversations, it’s a substantial shift from our previous review process and the benefits are undeniable.”
3. Targeted Employee Development Planning
The City leveraged emPerform’s flexibility and configuration options to enable development-focused questions in both employee check-ins and end-of-year assessments. As a result, managers can create and track targeted development plans for each employee.
By focusing on the future and development, employees and managers are having more productive discussions, employees are getting the tools and guidance needed to achieve their goals, and the organization is able to better align and retain key performers.
4. Improved Team Communication
Using emPerform, the City has strengthened communication between employees and supervisors by introducing more frequent opportunities for feedback and discussions.
As a result, the workplace has become more collaborative and supportive, fostering greater engagement, motivation, and alignment among employees toward the organization’s objectives.
The City is dedicated to continuously improving its performance management process so it can effectively manage its growing workforce. As part of their efforts, the City Council plans to explore integrating a 360-review component.
By providing regular feedback and opportunities for development, the City is committed to equipping its employees with the necessary tools and support to achieve their goals.
DALLAS, August 15, 2022 – Quisitive Technology Solutions Inc. (“Quisitive” or the “Company”) (TSXV: QUIS, OTCQX: QUISF), a premier Microsoft solutions and payment solutions provider,is pleased to announce the renaming of MazikCity, its proprietary solution for state and local government built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, to Quisitive PowerGov.
This renaming follows Quisitive’s acquisition of MazikGlobal in 2021 and is part of the Company’s global rebranding efforts, which will unify all corporate offers, products, and solutions.
Quisitive PowerGov is a community development application for permitting, business licensing, code enforcement, and maintenance management for city, state, and local governments. PowerGov is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for a full view of operations and citizen requests.
“Changing the name of MazikCity to PowerGov helps unify our brand and better represents the broad market served by this powerful solution,” said SVP of Global Business Applications, Lane Sorgen. “The rebranding reflects who we are today and solidifies our increased focus on delivering Microsoft-powered technologies to serve the needs of government organizations.”
To learn more about PowerGov, visit: https://quisitive.com/powergov/
Quisitive (TSXV: QUIS, OTCQX: QUISF) is a premier, global Microsoft partner that harnesses the Microsoft platform and complementary technologies, including custom solutions and first-party offerings, to generate transformational impact for enterprise customers. Our Cloud Solutions business focuses on helping enterprises move, operate, and innovate in the three Microsoft clouds. Centering on our LedgerPay product suite, our Payments Intelligence® solution leverages the Microsoft Azure cloud to transform the payment processing industry into an entirely new source of customer engagement and consumer value. Quisitive serves clients globally from seventeen employee hubs across the world. For more information, visit www.Quisitive.com and follow @BeQuisitive.
Chesterfield County, located in the state of Virginia, is recognized as the “17th Best Place to Live in America” and “One of the 100 Best Communities in America for Young People.” The county also has the lowest crime rate in the Richmond Metropolitan region, so the residents flock to live there.
For Chesterfield County residents, businesses, and visitors, there is an evolving need for access to public schools, parks & recreation sites, and public libraries as the county continues to grow.
Chesterfield County was growing so fast, nine percent since the last census, that demographics were shifting, and stakeholders needed to ensure the “model of excellence in public education” stayed intact. The growth dynamics in any county presented challenges for school planning, ranging from enrollments in particular facilities up to where new facilities should be built. With the median costs for elementary, middle, and high schools at $35M, $50M, and $75M respectively, finding the right locations and subsequent population zoning is important.
Chesterfield County’s primary goals were to be more transparent with its taxpayers and demonstrate why decisions were made when building new schools, and to better plan for where to build schools and how big they should be. After creating a one-year forecasting model, Chesterfield found that the rate of accuracy was only 90%. With the desire to improve on the accuracy findings, Chesterfield County planned to develop a five-year prediction model that forecasted enrollment for schools in the county and prove that the school investments were a necessity. Additionally, the model needed to help discover insights to make data-driven decisions in the development of not only schools, but other capital facilities to ensure fiscal responsibility for the taxpayers.
After a Data & Analytics pilot and the discovery that the model had to go past one year and include other sources of data to be accurate, Quisitive helped Chesterfield County create a more accurate five-year forecasting model to help make data-driven decisions in school development, such as building new schools or shifting school boundaries. Quisitive validated and consolidated data from 60 schools over a 15-year timeframe, including demographic and 20 years of housing data with additional sources of data, into a data warehouse for reporting and analysis. Using machine learning and Power BI, data sets were mapped and results to insights were written to a SQL server to visually report the forecasting of school enrollment in different areas of the county.
Quisitive also used Azure ML Suite to build and validate production-ready time series forecasts. The data-driven visual dashboards developed, helped Chesterfield County find insights to plan for future school developments. It also helped specific school districts plan for certain needs, determined by the school enrollment forecast.
The model predicts a 5-year forecast horizon and shows geographical student growth decoupled from the school districts, making this model more accurate than the legacy one-year model. Quisitive worked with the County’s data engineering team to build a new dataset based on housing parcels – a “parcel level” approach. This enabled Quisitive to build a new model that could predict student growth to various levels of geographic aggregation, such as neighborhood and census tract. The approach was successful and was integrated into the County’s planning process.
Quisitive also partnered with the County’s IT analysts and transferred knowledge of data science skills so they could apply the same approach to forecasting the need for building new fire stations, or other infrastructure needs throughout the County.
The forward-thinking county of Chesterfield increased the county’s overall data maturity and transparency to all stakeholders. With a successful student demand forecasting model, the county has begun to expand in other ways of modernizing its analytics infrastructure.
The elasticity of the cloud allows state and local government agencies to consolidate their data from many sources into an environment where they can take full advantage of high-grade security features, data at scale, advanced analytics, and machine learning capabilities. These combined capabilities enable public sector analysts or data scientists to build better models, the GIS team to add high-quality layers of geospatial data, and the users to consume the results in easy-to-digest dashboards and reports.
Built a secure ML Platform
Leveraged Azure Machine Learning Studio and Azure Data Factory to securely connect to Azure SQL databases and Azure Data Lakes and enable streamlined model deployment.
Improved accuracy of long-range school enrollment forecasts using the County’s own schools, demographic, real estate, and planning data, relative to existing statistical models designed on state-level population.
By working alongside Quisitive experts, the County’s data analysts gained valuable data science skills to start building their own use case and using the model to make data-driven decisions when evaluating public facilities.
Chesterfield County was recognized with the 2022 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for this engagement, a project titled: Forecasts for Communities: Data-Driven Populations Projections. “The cross-functional team included Deputy County Administrators; Budget, Parks, and Library Directors and subject matter experts; technology leaders and staff; and data engineers and data scientists from Catapult Systems [now a part of Quisitive], a Microsoft Gold Partner.”
Quisitive PowerGov is a community development application for permitting, business licensing, code enforcement, and maintenance management.
Formerly MazikCity, Quisitive PowerGov is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for a full view of operations and citizen requests. This application will streamline and automate workflows to allow offices to be more efficient and better meet the demands of modern citizens and businesses.
Download the full PDF to learn more about the benefits PowerGov can bring to your citizens.
Quisitive and Microsoft hosted Driving Digital Transformation in State & Local Government, a virtual event highlighting the unique business problems and opportunities that the public sector faces as the digital world continues to expand. Opportunities such as streamlining processes and adapting to a hybrid workplace are just some of the topics that were covered during the event.
We had the honor to feature Hollis Williams, Chief Operating Officer for Microsoft’s State and Local Government business as our keynote. Williams discussed how the increase of digital transformation in the public sector can better serve employees and constituents as their needs change.
Williams reported that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agencies with digital processes already in place – including those with no-code and low-code solutions that use Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform – were more successful at adapting and sharing the rapidly changing information and statistics with employees and constituents than those using legacy systems.
Public and Private Sector Partnership
Williams added that it is crucial for the public sector to partner with the private sector in order to successfully meet the growing digital demands and replace these legacy systems.
Quisitive can help agencies with digitalizing government processes, population forecasting, and creating a resilient cybersecurity strategy, which, according to Williams, should be at the cornerstone of an organization’s digital transformation journey.
Microsoft recommends that agencies lean on a partner to help provide their constituents with best practices, fast-paced solutions and data-driven insights on how to better serve their communities.
“Ultimately, we hope to digitize government services for impact at scale for generations to come,” said Williams.
Panel Discussion Recap
The panel discussion that followed, moderated by Christina Boe, VP of Sales, featured a lively panel of leaders in the public sector faced with improving digital efficiency in state and local government. The panelists shared the good, the bad and the ugly of their digital transformation journey.
- Mazen Chilet, CIO for Maryland National Parks
- Barry Condry, CIO for Chesterfield County , VA
- Holly Gillam, Director, Enterprise Applications for the State of South Carolina
- David Herlihy, Division Chief, Digital Experience and Technology Innovation, Arlington County, VA
- Jimmy Thomas, SVP Information Technology, Housing Authority of Baltimore
Panelists shared how their departments are adapting to the demand for efficiency and digital solutions in government. They agreed that providing constituents with a digitalized version of government processes, papers and forms is the first step to increasing government efficiency.
“If you don’t put the information at [the user’s] fingertips, they’re not going to be able to find the information,” Mazen Chilet said.
Panelist Barry Condrey mentioned that in the age of speedy delivery services like Amazon and Doordash, consumers expect efficiency. David Herlihy and Holly Gillam shared that the use of the Cloud and Power Platform have been crucial to streamlining their departments’ digital transformation:
“We’ve been able to market to our departments better, cheaper, and faster during some crazy times over the last two years – and that’s all because of the Cloud,” Herlihy said.
“It would’ve been way more complicated if we didn’t have these frameworks and tools,” Gillam added.
Digital Transformation in the Public Sector
With the help of Quisitive, Condrey reported how Chesterfield County, Virginia uses population projections built by Microsoft Azure and advanced analytics to plan all aspects of civic infrastructure. This includes location planning of schools, libraries, and fire stations.
“We’ve brought a lot of objectivity and insight to this process using this data approach,” Condrey said.
Jimmy Thomas of the Housing Authority of Baltimore also shared his department’s initiative to completely digitalize the work-order experience. Using kiosks and a low-code mobile app, they have streamlined employee-resident communication and digitalized all paper processes.
“This is a real major step for us going forward to provide better services to our residents and to the citizens of Baltimore,” Thomas said.
Digital Transformation in SLG
Listening to these innovation-driven leaders was an inspiration to many. It is no surprise that state and local government agencies need to concentrate in modernizing and innovating through a digital transformation to better serve their employees, constituents, and communities.
If you are one of those agencies and don’t know where to start, feel free to connect here and we will guide you through that journey.
The webinar concluded with the launch of the Driving Digital Transformation in SLG On-Demand Learning Hub, 20+ videos covering the topics such as:
- Simplifying the Government Cloud
- Solving the IT hiring gap in SLG
- Securing a remote workforce in SLG
- Using data analytics to improve operations in SLG
If you’d like to access these learning videos and more, click here.
You don’t have to go through digital transformation alone. Connect with us today!
During this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn ways to:
- Become more efficient with public money
- Optimize your city operations with IoT and AI
- Deliver more services with less budget
- Ensure security-enhanced data
- Deliver new services with greater engagement with citizens