Involving Stakeholders in Integration Leads to Impressive ROI for Agency

Loraine Lawson
Slide Show

Measuring the Business Impact of Effective Data

Improved data usability can have a huge impact on revenue.

I'm not sure what the average time for a return on investment is for a data integration project. To be honest, I'm also not sure what the average ROI is, either. But I have to think that a two-month payback time, coupled with a 631 percent ROI, has got to be impressive.


That's what the Alameda County Social Service Agency managed to achieve by integrating onto one platform all of the data related to its clients, services, eligibility benefits and so forth. In fact, the company will reap a nearly $2.5 million benefit from the system's annual $1.2 million cost, according to this mini-case study written by Johnny Barnes, the general manager and CTO for IBM's Global Business Services.


It's impressive, to say the least.


The business case was obvious. The agency's data sources were siloed, which lead to problems with over payments, fraud detection and problems sharing information with other agencies. One example from the post: Reports were often late and incomplete, since the agency's 1,200 case workers-each of whom managed over 500 clients-struggled to manage their case load.


Now, employees can quickly look up clients based on a variety of parameters, making it easier to track what services clients have-or have not-received.


That's great, of course, and so are the impressive savings. But what's really key about this story is this tidbit about why it was so successful:

One reason was that its champion maximized the number of departments and types of data touched by the platform. This was accomplished largely by performing demonstrations with a variety of managers who learned how the platform could benefit them and therefore became more willing to share their data. Sometimes, restrictions or permissions had to be carefully managed in order to share data while also remaining in compliance with applicable privacy and data-sharing laws.

Once again, it comes back to bringing all the business stakeholders to the table-even when you're dealing with something "technical" such as data integration.

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