Improving Progress Employment Support with Better IT
Progress Employment Support is a not-for-profit limited company formed in 2002 with a purpose of assisting more disabled people into valued jobs and more employers reaping the benefits of a diverse workforce. The primary role is to support disabled people and their employers to benefit from working together and make employment a reality. Financial support comes from a range of funding sources with inclusive employment remaining a priority across the political landscape.
Progress Employment Support faced the following challenges:
- The current IT support arrangements were being withdraw
- IT had not been built to meet the business needs
- Flexibility to do new things and introduce changes when required in the work
- Ability to work away from the office and at a time convenient for staff
- A better way to manage and secure client documents and electronic records
- Stopping/reducing the growing number of separate systems to underpin the needs of the work
- Turning a traditional database into a client management system with clear ownership and responsibility
- Reduction in the funding across the public and third sectors
“Our IT was not designed for our way of working and was approaching its end of life. We were having to work around the IT system and had introduced a number of separate systems to produce the information required for the service – IT was not enabling us to do our work as well as we could.” Deborah Parker, CEO, Progress Employment Support
The Pentagull team were recommended from Blackpool Council and after an initial scoping meeting it was decided that a proof of concept would be developed using Pentagull’s agile business deployment method. Pentagull and Progress Employment complimented each other through a mutual understanding of the benefits of adopting a systems thinking approach to problem solving and change.
Solution and Delivery
Following the initial scoping meeting, the Pentagull team worked alongside the Progress Employment Support team to gather knowledge and insight of the work and the findings of the Vanguard intervention work.
- A high level schema was produced showing the entities of clients, employers, funders, jobs and client phases and their relationships including the key flows of work
- Time was spent with the managers and employment officers to understand what mattered to them and their work
- The old system was analysed to determine what was still relevant and areas that needed improvement including data quality and migration issues
- A “proof of concept” was designed using the configuration module of Enterprise ServiceBuilder based on the schema and flows of work. The data from the old system was loaded and tested
- The Progress Employment Support team were able to test the system as it was being built and through a series of refinements the new client management system was built in a relatively short period of time and made live when the team agreed
- The solution has been delivered via Pentagull’s hosted managed service (“cloud” service) providing anytime reliable access to the system, reduced technical and data management issues, and simpler support arrangements
- This was achieved without the traditional set of documents, excessive meetings to agree business process designs and project updates etc.
- A client management system built to the needs of Progress Employment Support using the ESB platform and Pentagull’s agile business deployment method
- Anytime secure access via Pentagull’s hosted managed service and ability to produce reports that matter when needed
- Increase the visibility of the client journey and their current position on the journey
- The team are now able to collectively control the work both for the client and the service
- Capability to access the system when needed and enable the staff to work differently
- The system offers a clear picture of all client engagement providing a holistic view of the work
- Appropriate reports are available for production when needed and creating new reports, if required, is not an onerous task
- The system acts as an aide-memoire to assist assessment completion at the right time
- A relatively seamless transition from the old system to the new system
“From the initial discussions with the Pentagull team we have been impressed by their approach and ability to deliver the IT to our requirements in a relatively short period of time and seamlessly transition to the new system.” Christine Mottley, Head of Resources, Progress Employment Support
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