eGrantsPlus® and ePropertyPlus are fully supported by an STR team of highly skilled implementation professionals, equipped with a proven methodology, project-tested techniques and lessons learned that will be applied to ensure deployment efficiency.
STR is keenly aware of the danger of forcing “a square peg in a round hole” when implementing a COTS product like eGrantsPlus or a SaaS product like ePropertyPlus. No matter how good a product might be, if it does not meet the requirements of a customer it is of no value to the customer. STR’s implementation approach is always to start with a thorough understanding of the customer’s needs. Then through configuration, training, and enhancements if necessary, STR implements its products to meet the unique needs of each customer.
Reusable Artifacts. STR’s implementation approach provides an enterprise-wide grants management baseline standard that can be leveraged across grant-making subdivisions, bureaus, and agencies to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale. This baseline standard establishes common processes and workflows using eGrantsPlus as the core system of record for grant data and transaction processing. Additionally, a reusable configuration survey is created to establish common agency- and program-specific data collection which streamlines the roll-out effort across the public sector enterprise. Aside from these key artifacts, STR’s approach in general is geared toward knowledge transfer, reuse and client self-sufficiency, providing the critical tools and techniques for productive operational use of eGrantsPlus.
Rapid Deployment When Time Matters. STR uses a compressed Conference Room Pilot approach to accelerate the time between requirements validation and gap/fit to confirm best practice processes and acceptable grants workflow configuration. Priority customizations are validated using rapid prototyping and integrated in the eGrantsPlus baseline in planned iterations. For the Mississippi Development Authority’s post-Hurricane Katrina efforts, eGrants was deployed and accepting grant applications within three weeks after program-specific grant requirements were finalized. Similarly, for the State of Louisiana’s Road Home disaster recovery program, STR was able to rapidly configure and customize its baseline grant application module to support a pilot program launched within the first month after project initiation. Despite subsequent policy and programmatic shifts and significant changes to homeowner application and third-party data verification needs, this pilot implementation was easily adapted to provide the software backbone supporting over 150,000 grant applications.
Oracle-Certified ERP Integration. STR, in early 2008 became the only grants management solution provider to attain the status of an Oracle Certified Integration Partner for the PeopleSoft Enterprise. Becoming a Certified Integration Partner in the Oracle PartnerNetwork is a stringent process both in terms of compliance with development methodology, testing protocols and documentation and with integration standards.
STR also provides:
STR believes that the fastest path to realizing a return on a customers investment is to get the customer up and running as soon as practical. STR’s approach balances this need for rapid deployment with the checks and balances needed to introduce new technology into your organization in the most efficient and effective manner.
STR’s three-step Initialization Process, described in detail below, is designed to help the customer understand its options and to help make the configuration and usage decisions that are right for the customer’s organization, right now. Since ePropertyPlus is designed to grow and can easily be adapted to support changing business processes, not all decisions need to be made and not all data needs to be loaded before the customer is up and running.
STR’s job, as part of the Initialization Process, is to help the customer make decisions now that won’t box the customer in later. STR focuses on the processes and data needed to get you up and running and make sure your staff has the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to successfully manage, adapt, and use ePropertyPlus at the completion of the process.
Initialization Planning is a critical first step in the delivery of the ePropertyPlus solution. It includes the discovery activities that ensure the proper identification of key project activities, milestones, and resource allocation. It is during this step that the understanding of project scope, deliverables, and schedule is established and agreed to. The Initialization Planning step is comprised of the following activities:
Data & Process Validation
Scope Review & Validation
Configuration & Data Initialization
During this step, the Site Administrator and Initialization Lead work together to make the detailed configuration and data initialization decisions needed to support SUBSCRIBER’s data and processing requirements. Once decisions are made, they continue working together to configure the system and load the data needed to begin using ePropertyPlus.
While Configuration and Data Initialization are separate activities, they are performed in parallel since configuration is a pre-requisite to loading data. We take an iterative approach to these activities, meaning that as each major component is configured, associated data is loaded and validated before moving on to another component.
Configuration scenarios and test data loads are done in the Sandbox sites that come with each ePropertyPlus subscription. This allows us to model processing options, validate that the system is configured the way it should be, and to validate that data is structured correctly before configuring subscriber Production sites.
Out of the box configurations, where they exist, are reviewed and decisions are made as to whether to use as delivered or whether the configuration needs to be modified. Once decisions are made, the system is configured accordingly.
Data is mapped and transformed for loading into ePropertyPlus. Data is loaded into ePropertyPlus using a combination of ePropertyPlus Import Utilities and on-line entry, whichever is deemed most appropriate for the specific data set. For example, it doesn’t make sense to use an Import Utility to create one or two Property records. Those records would be created using the on-line Create Property action. Conversely, it doesn’t make sense to manually create hundreds of Property records. Those records would be created using the Property Import Utility. We make sure that the right balance is struck so that the Site Administrator knows how to create records on-line as well as via an import.
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