Pathways to Success (P2S) is a nonprofit with a mission to “Help underprivileged individuals better manage their circumstances to succeed.” (from the agency’s mission statement). They have 25 employees, most of which are case managers who meet regularly with clients to both advise them, and help them to navigate the various support services available (low income assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.).
P2S currently gets the majority of its funding from government and foundation grants, with the rest coming from private fundraising, as well as a sliding-fee scale for clients that pay. The grants that P2S has all have different, though often overlapping, requirements. These requirements are negotiated between P2S and the grantmaker prior to the grant starting, and include reporting on the county/city/income level of served clients, client employment, $’s spent providing specific services to specific clients, program effectiveness measures, and client service feedback assessments.
Grant reporting also varies by the grant, from quarterly to annually. Total grant length also varies, from 1 year to 5 years. At the conclusion of the grant, P2S reapplies for the grant (if it’s still available). Part of the determination on renewing the grant is based on how well P2S met the requirements of the grant.
Managers of each program are responsible for reporting the necessary information (per grant needs) to P2S’s grant coordinator, who consolidates the information together as needed. Currently, this process involves most managers using inter-program shared Excel spreadsheets to keep track of important metrics/datapoints, which the grant officer will review prior to writing a report to a grantmaker. The grant officer will follow-up with the program manager on any questions with the information. Error correction has been largely an informal process, where in most cases the employee that identifies the error will report it to their program manager, who will then inform the grant coordinator. Managers don’t have formal requirements on updating the information in the spreadsheet, and have been running on an intuitive knowledge of when specific data is needed for which grant.
Currently, all client service is tracked using a SQL database, which allows the service providing staff to log in, identify the client, and record information about the client & the nature of the service provided. Most of P2S’s services are case management, and are easy to record. On occasion P2S staff will have group events, where specific common problems are discussed (i.e. steps to apply for disability). Currently P2S requires one record in the data system for every attendee.
Service record data is accessible agency-wide, including to the accounting team, who will regularly export service information from the database into Excel, and manually match up grant funding with each specific service (as required for grant reporting). This process takes appx. 2 weeks for the accounting team, which makes it the most time consuming process for the accounting team.
Case manager attrition is high at P2S, with an annual turnover of 25%. The HR manager and program managers suspect that this is due to the heavy caseloads the case managers take on, given the extremely high demand for P2S’s services among the community. Program managers meet regularly (varies by specific program, but at least once a month) with case managers to try and help guide the case managers to more reasonable caseloads, however this meeting is currently the only point where managers are informed of their staff’s caseload.
Currently the employee distribution in the agency is as follows: 1 CEO, 3 program managers (two overseeing case management, one overseeing events), 3 accounting staff, 1 HR manager, 12 case managers, 2 event coordinators, 1 grant coordinator, and 2 admin assistants. IT support is contracted out, which includes day-to-day IT and administration of the SQL database.
Write a proposal for the implementation of an information system based on the case study. You will need to review the case study, analyze problems with the current information system, and present an alternative information system as a means to address these problems.
You will need to evaluate and address at least two issues identified from the case study. Please note that these issues will not be explicitly spelled out for you, you will need to identify them from your evaluation. As such, any issue that can be reasonably supported from the information in the case study, and has a more-than-marginal impact on the business, is valid for this assignment.
You are encouraged to use the COSO framework for the evaluation, as doing so will hit all of the needed aspects of the evaluation, however you are not required to do so.
You will also need to describe the information system you propose to implement, and identify how it will address the problem. Note that you do not need to completely 100% resolve the problem, but there must be some substantive improvement to the problem that has a positive impact on the business’s ability to meet their objectives.
In describing the information system, you don’t need to describe how it will be built, but you do need to describe what it will contain (I.E. ‘this spreadsheet will have one tab for , and another tab for . The first tab will have data pertaining to _‘)
This is the only assignment you can do in a group. Doing the assignment in a group is optional, and students may form whatever groups they want, with a limit of 5 people per group. All students will share a grade within the group, so pick your group carefully, if you choose to do so! Make sure that all group members name’s are listed on the paper!