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"This is an account of how we overcame some difficulties with our data management implementation through collaboration with Decade. It’s also a story about how changing our perspective on the software led us down a road towards success.
Around 2007, we went to EnvisionConnect. Prior to that, we used a system our Department Analyst had built using DataEase. When the conversion was finished, EnvisionConnect didn’t behave in the manner for which it had been designed and it didn’t work like DataEase, either. In addition, our use of EnvisionConnect was inconsistent; we were not using EnvisionConnect for everything we had planned to use it for. To make matters worse, soon after implementation, the Department Analyst retired, leaving us to try to understand the system without the knowledge of her intentions. When her replacement came aboard, she started to learn of the problems caused by our configuration of the system. However, a round of layoffs occurred, and we lost that Department Analyst. Her replacement lasted a year and then also retired.
At this time, we started looking at the data from the original conversion files and realized there were many places in our statement of work where decisions were made by our Analyst concerning our original data and how it was supposed to be brought over that did not necessarily conform to the original EnvisionConnect intention or configuration. We found that we had not followed Decade’s plan for implementation in all cases. There were also several points where we had asked Decade to bring data on board in a way that was completely different than how EnvisionConnect was designed, not to mention how we had configured our business rules in the system.
After we determined that we had issues concerning our data and the way we used EnvisionConnect internally, we requested Decade’s assistance. We began to ask “How was EnvisionConnect designed to conduct this project?” versus “Can you adjust our configuration to make our system do the project?”. Decade has been a huge help and we’ve begun to have much success with our system lately. It didn’t take Decade long to understand what was going on with our system – they soon got us on our way to becoming functional.
We are now able to take advantage of Decade’s expertise and their knowledge of the Environmental Health industry as a true partner. When we want to use more of EnvisionConnect’s features, we contact Decade to contribute their experience and guidance as part of our project planning process. It is a great feeling to know we can use EnvisionConnect to get everything we originally wanted and with several successes under our belt, our department is beginning to really use the tool as we had intended. Our staff sees the value of the system and is willing to do the data entry because of it.
The one thing we’ve learned from this struggle is that EnvisionConnect is well-designed and very useful; contrary to what we had thought, it doesn’t require a lot of customization or change to make it work effectively.
EnvisionConnect has helped us in ways we hadn’t imagined. For example, we are always asked from others within the county to back up our findings with real data. Now we can, and without a lot of effort. Our financial data is now real-time and that has improved the credibility of our department. This isn’t to say that we are not still finding quirks with our original configuration but now we feel we have a partner in Decade that will help us with the solutions. I’m glad to recommend Decade to others. Moreover, I know now that many of my staff share the same opinion."
Christine Sosko, EH Program Manager, Sonoma County DHS Environmental Health Division