Improved customer satisfaction, cost savings and increased efficiencies that lead to new business
Founded in 1988 by Chairman Darwin Deason, Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS) is a premier provider of diversified business process outsourcing and information technology outsourcing solutions to commercial and government clients worldwide.
Based in Dallas, ACS is a Fortune 500 company of 58,000 people supporting client operations reaching 100 countries. According to ACS,
It would be hard for you to go through a day without encountering the products or services of our many clients in communications, education, energy, financial services, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retail, travel, and transportation.
PrePass is a great example of the technological innovation from ACS. PrePass is an automatic vehicle identification (AVI) system that enables participating transponder-equipped commercial vehicles to be pre-screened throughout the nation at designated weigh stations, port-of-entry facilities and agricultural interdiction facilities. Cleared vehicles are then able to “bypass” the facility while traveling at highway speed, eliminating the need to stop. PrePass supports initiatives from federal and the transportation industry.
Vehicles bypassing inspection facilities save drivers and their companies’ valuable time on the road, thereby reducing fuel and operating costs, while increasing productivity. PrePass also benefits member states and everyone who uses our nation’s highways. By reducing congestion around inspection facilities and enabling state inspection staff to focus their efforts on carriers that demand the most attention, PrePass helps make the roadways safer for everyone. There are currently 280 sites in 29 states facilitating approximately 4.7 million bypass transactions each month.
PrePass has been brought to market through a unique public/private partnership, HELP, Inc. HELP Inc., is able to deliver advanced transportation technologies faster and more cost effectively than traditional government approaches.
Since PrePass is material to the Motor Carrier Industry, Federal and State agencies, reliability and accountability are paramount. Cathi Chinn, Technology and Program Management Director characterizes the challenges facing PrePass,
As with most IT organizations, we were under pressure to deliver stable and reliable systems and to provide technological innovation. To achieve those results, we realized that we needed to start with a clear picture of the system’s risks and opportunities.
PrePass’s existing mechanisms for reporting systems defects, enhancements, or requests for system data were inconsistent and subjective. Without an effective way monitor the system deficiencies and customer needs the team spent most of their energy of keeping the system stable and fighting the nearest fire. PrePass lacked a global view of systems health and was missing the opportunity to innovate or expand their product portfolio.
PrePass needed a holistic, automated approach that would allow them to track defects, identify reoccurring product weaknesses and focus on critical path items.
The Technology and Program Management Office formed a cross-functional project team consisting of systems consultants, analysts, information delivery specialists, and technical resources to identify and implement a technology solution to manage technology.
PrePass reviewed products from seven (7) technology vendors evaluating along the following lines:
- Customer References
- LifeCycle Management
- Open Architecture
- Cost/Value Proposition
- Support/Maintenance Agreements
After reviewing 7 potential solutions over a 60 day period, PrePass selected Integrify®.
- PrePass purchased Integrify® 4.5 in June 2007.
- With a customer base of over 75,000 (representing 424K vehicles), and the need to support both internal and external customers, PrePass chose a per-process licensing scheme which supports unlimited users for each named process.
- After purchasing in June 2007, PrePass went live in August 2007; their first process was delivered in 35-40 days.
The PrePass Integrify® Processes in Detail
PrePass’s uses Integrify® across three key areas for both internal and external customers:
Information (Reporting) Requests are routed to the lowest cost resource with expertise in the subject matter. PrePass uses data collected in the submission form to identify the subject matter expert. Information Requests are time constrained and when SLA is exceeded the request is automatically escalated to management.
System Defects are submitted and routed to the appropriate development and testing team based upon the error or application. The responsible development team conducts a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and test against each system defect reported . PrePass runs reports against the aggregated data to identify trends or reoccurring failures associated with product design or development practices.
Requests for Change (Systems Enhancements or New Product Development) are routed first to a functional business leader for approval and authorization. Once approved, the request is moves to a virtual Change Control Board made up of Executive Leadership and Technology resources. The Change control board provides 2nd level approval and prioritizes the change. Approved change requests are then systemically dispatched to a project team with related subject matter expertise. This real-time virtual board enables PrePass to act quickly and responsibly to change requests without the constraints of a physical meeting.
PrePass’s Integrify® solution allows the PrePass Technology and Program Management Office to focus on what is critical and vital to the business. Process automation has provided significant process efficiencies and provides a communications portal to their customer.
We couldn’t fully articulate systemic failures or potential failures across our systems, says Cathi Chinn.
Before installing Integrify® for request management, internal and external PrePass customers were communicating their concerns or requests through a variety of channels including email, phone and hallway conversation. We were servicing individual requests in a vacuum without seeing the big picture or how different issues related to one another.
Now Integrify® serves as a central console, for our internal/external customers as well as the technology office. It helps direct our IT team to prioritize their time. We use Integrify® as a dashboard and our work is so much more manageable. At any given moment, we can see where we are, where we’re doing and what it’s going to take to complete any particular project.
Submitting an issue is incredibly easy for customers. Any customer with an account can log on to a web site and enter their information. Invisibly, a script is launched and all the data is loaded into Integrify® for tracking and routing. Even users without account numbers can log issues, the information loads into a capture box within Integrify®.
Integrify® offers real-time status updates for any request, lowering operational costs associated with tracking project status. PrePass has integrated Integrify® into Crystal reports so that request management detail can be presented alongside and in the same format as other sensitive corporate data.
The training was rolled out internally, delivered by the IT department themselves. Using webinars, self-developed documentation and a few animated demonstratives “viewlets”, the Project Management Organization has rolled out request automation without any end-user resistance. The adoption has been exceptional; all technology and information requests are managed through Integrify®. By mandating this process the PrePass technology organization can successfully deliver high quality products.
PrePass has successfully rolled out its three core feature areas, System Defects, Requests for Change and Requests for Reporting. Having successfully automated those processes into Integrify® PrePass is now continually adding more processes.
After the first month of implementation, about 50 requests were going through Integrify®, now PrePass averages 50 requests a week. Already over 2000 requests have been tracked implemented and managed through the system.
The team is experiencing greater job satisfaction. As each request goes through the workflow everyone associated with a given task can see their role in the bigger picture. Says Chinn,
Rather than plugging holes we have freed up resources to focus on new initiatives.
Prior to implementing Integrify® PrePass had a full time administrator who was responsible for tracking changes and customer service issues via email. After implementing change management in Integrify®, PrePass was able to completely re-deploy that individual.
In the past, business users would walk through the halls to ask for features, creating inefficiencies and introducing risk to project schedules. Now that the Project Management office has implemented Integrify®, no requests can come in to the technology outside of Integrify®.
The technology office and business users have 100% visibility into their requests and the status of their particular projects. PrePass is experiencing overall increased efficiencies and has been able to bring new products to market without adding any additional costs.
If I look at where we are today versus where we were a year ago before implementing Integrify® it is night and day, says Cathi Chinn.
The stability and reliability of our technology had been in question. Integrify® has given us the ability to combat any negative perceptions with quantifiable results and demonstrated quality. In the past year we have stabilized technology, won industry awards and been featured in case studies on best practices. Using Integrify® to manage our processes and improve visibility we’ve been able target what to work on and prioritize the critical issues.
PrePass originally acquired Integrify® for IT requests. Now they are continually adding processes to Integrify® to support other organizational departments. Next up, the training organization is planning to create a process to automate the inbound training requests. PrePass expects that they will expand their request automation throughout the company.