The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) is tasked with the responsibility of licensing and inspecting all daycare facilities throughout the province. MCSS information technology staff needed a more efficient solution for its licensing and inspection processes with the aim to eliminate duplicate data entry, automate dispatch and reduce inspection times.
With a Legacy Information Management System, MCSS was utilizing a traditional model for its work processes. The Ministry had developed in-house back-office system (SMIS) geared towards licensing and inspections management and consequently contained all of the tombstone data for each daycare facility, including name, location and other basic information.
Inspectors in the field logged into SMIS, made a list of facilities to visit and took their paper-based checklist in preparation for an inspection. The checklist contained over 100 items to be inspected and was over 40 pages long.
Once the inspection was completed, a number of reports had to be filled out by hand and handed to the facility’s management for a sign-off. The report summary was then sent to the head office to be manually entered into SMIS.
MCSS information technology staff had been aware for some time that a more efficient solution for the licensing and inspection process was needed. The timeline to begin work on a mobile solution was routinely pushed back by other projects that were viewed as a greater priority. However, when the provincial government unveiled a plan to dramatically increase the number of daycare facilities, the field mobility program was given a green light. The main goals of the project were to:
- Eliminate duplicate data of inspection information
- Automate the dispatch of inspection information to field staff
- Reduce the amount of paper stored in relation to each inspection
- Reduce the time of completing an inspection and its reporting
- Have immediate intranet access to all aspects of any given inspection
- Add the ability to store checklist responses directly to the SMIS system database
- Use a software platform that can be internalized and used on various other mobile projects
“We began looking for tools and solutions that had been used by other provincial government departments,” described Wayne Chee, Coordinator of the Information Management Team of the CSS Performance Management Branch. “Luckily, we ran into FieldWorker at a government tradeshow. If we didn’t, we’d probably still be looking for an acceptable solution.”
Chee put together a project team, comprised of internal IT developers and business analysts, SMIS experts and FieldWorker consulting staff. Due to a great collaborative effort, the project was ready for launch in just 6 weeks. The most significant accomplishments of this project included:
- 1 FieldWorker application for 17 users with over 125 fields
- 4 custom PDF report templates
- 2 new FieldWorker field types
- New expanded tip functionality with URL links and expanded dialogues
- 4 pop-up data entry window events to facilitate data entry and navigation
- 20 XSLT mapping documents (mapping the FieldWorker API to the Oracle XML table Document Type Definition)
- Link between Oracle and SMIS for uploading and downloading tombstone data
"Rapid application development brings up things that you normally don’t have to worry about in an IT project. We were able to develop the entire solution quicker than procuring our tablets."
- Wayne Chee , Coordinator of the Information Management Team
Implementing this FieldWorker solution was a lesson in rapid implementation. “We learned a lot during this process,” said Wayne Chee, Coordinator of the Information Management Team. “Rapid application development brings up things that you normally don’t have to worry about in an IT project. We were able to develop the entire solution quicker than procuring our tablets.”
Nowadays, with the flexibility of FieldWorker’s add-on tools and applications, the Ministry is well-equipped and knowledgeable to respond to a great number of other mobile initiatives quickly and effectively.