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GCN : November 2012
32 GCN NOVEMBER 2012 • GCN.COM Prior to moving into a shared environ- ment, the Secretary of the Commonwealth was paying $150,000 a year in infrastruc- ture costs, plus $30,000 a year to the com- pany supporting the platform. "We literally moved into the shared services Dynamic CRM environment for $30,000," Mathes said. "We were able to eliminate $150,000 right off the bat just in infrastructure costs," he said. "The other thing the environment allows us to do is share information and allow oth- er people to access or obtain reports from our system," Mathes added. So much of what state government does is dictated by legislative mandates, such as monitoring of an industrial plant in a natural resource area, overseeing regula- tory policy or reviewing a historic hous- ing district to see if changes may be made. Unfortunately, there is no universal, out- of-the-box solution, Mathes said, that can meet all the legislative mandates that may be required of an agency. "This is where CRM fills in the gaps, in my view," Mathes said, because it is an en- terprise platform that any agency can use. Eighty percent of the development work is already done in the CRM platform. If an agency needs to collect data or contact infor- mation or interact with citizens, it can build out online forms and a portal and immedi- ately start collecting data, he explained. APP LEVERAGING The CRM platform allows agencies to au- tomate business processes that were on paper or in Microsoft Access databases or Excel spreadsheets. Then they can sys- temize and secure it all, Mathes said. For instance, if Mathes' division builds an application to address a particular function, the development team that helped to build the app and the IT team that supports it could use the application in another agency. "They may be modify- ing it, but instead of building from scratch they are only modifying 5 or 10 percent of it," Mathes said. Dynamic CRM is a natural platform for development, because it has a powerful workflow engine and native integration with Microsoft software, Kuppich said. Users also can perform reporting func- tions through Microsoft SQL database's reporting service. Kuppich explained that the Depart- ment of Historic Resources wanted to develop a case management system that automated the approvals process for ex- panding or making changes to historical properties. After gathering information from Historic Resources executives, Kup- pich was able to build a couple of work- flows using wizards in hours to demon- strate what was possible. The Department of Historic Resources project was not as complex as those in the Governor's Office, which face more technology challenges because they are citizen-facing or have legislative and se- curity issues related to the Freedom of Information Act, Kuppich said. "We rent space on our infrastructure within the [CRM] application itself, just like a tenant would with an apartment building," VITA manager Kuppich said. "We have the infrastructure, the software and we can rent things out and custom- ize it." "We have health care, the Governor's Office and the State Board of Election Campaign Finance Management all co- inciding on the same infrastructure al- though their data is segregated and is very different and their business process- es are different," Kuppich said. "It's like having your own private cloud," said Ajay Rohatgi, VITA's agency outreach manager within the enterprise applications division. "The thing I find compelling is we were able to leverage our shared- services, en- terprise architecture infrastructure with a commercial product," Virginia CIO Nixon said. • CASE STUDY For Aaron Mathes measuring how much money Virginia s executive branch agencies are saving by moving to an enterprise customer relationship management system is like trying to hit a moving target. "I ve put together a couple of documents on our savings, but it is almost like every time I turn around, I m finding a new area where we are saving money," said Mathes, deputy secretary of technology within the Governor s O ce. The system, based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is allowing agencies in the Commonwealth to modern- ize business functions and improve citizen services. Virginia had a hodgepodge of internally built CRM systems prior to setting up a shared infrastructure. "A lot of things were based on internally built Microsoft Access [databases], things that were older," said Nancy Kuppich, workgroup pro- ductivity manager at the Virginia Infor- mation Technologies Agency (VITA), the state s central IT department. For example, there were two dif- ferent versions of Lockheed Martin IQ at the Governor s O ce. The state s health care agency had an expensive system built on Oracle Forms, and The State Board of Elections had an entirely di erent system, Kuppich noted. Prior to moving into a shared envi- ronment, the O ce of the Secretary of the Commonwealth was paying $150,000 a year in infrastructure costs, plus $30,000 a year to the company supporting the platform. "We literally moved into the shared services Dynamic CRM environment for $30,000," Mathes said. "We were able to eliminate $150,000 right o the bat just in infrastructure costs." "I think the best ROI story is [eliminating] Lockheed Martin IQ at the Governor s O ce" Kuppich said, because the o ce was paying for two separate installations. This included the costs of licenses, an Oracle database and many virtual servers. "There was a ton of cost outlays, plus manual processes," she said. So the Governor s O ce was faced with a decision to either upgrade servers, hardware and databases or consider doing something else, That s when VITA got engaged and helped steer the o ce and other agencies toward a shared services platform, she added. -- Rutrell Yasin