Ohio department imagines a new approach to case management

16 June 2014 | Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe, Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

For caseworkers in the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), it is passion that brings them into work every day—a passion to continually improve the quality of life for Ohio’s citizens with developmental disabilities. But a caseworker’s passion only gets so far. Without the right tools in place, a caseworker may have to spend time filling out forms or sorting through paperwork, hindering the process of truly understanding the people being served. It can also slow progress on deploying the best programs to help those individuals pursue their dreams, including getting placed in jobs and seeking independence in other ways. When processes are slow and progress isn’t made, the people being served by DODD can feel marginalized. They might feel that their hopes and aspirations are not fully supported, or worse, that their caseworkers simply don’t care.

Recognizing these issues—both internal and external—DODD redesigned its case management system with a new “person-centric” philosophy to ensure that the citizen being served is at the center—and is often a part of—all decision-making. The new system, called “imagine,” uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to support 18 counties in Ohio.

The project includes a fully integrated, self-service portal that allows citizens to receive services from DODD. Charles O’Day was an early adopter of the portal, where he learned how to log in to provide information about himself, such as his interest in history and the preservation of historical buildings. He can also update his demographic data and even upload some of his favorite pictures—all things that help his caseworkers more fully understand him and his needs. The caseworkers are notified whenever changes are made so case files are up to date. Most importantly, with the depth of information provided by O’Day and tracked in the system, O’Day has been able to work with DODD to transition out of state care and into independent living. That’s an outcome that caseworkers and citizens like O’Day live for.

But wait, isn’t CRM for business customers?

It’s time to think differently about CRM. It’s not just a sales tool but a service-delivery platform. According to Bryant K. Young, the CIO of DODD, using CRM for government-related case management is an idea whose time has come. He explains, “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you get case management, workflow capabilities, a database, security, and alerts and notifications—all without having to code anything. All this makes the system very appealing when you are looking to speed the time-to-value of a new application.”

In all my years working with governments, I’ve found that all governments, no matter the size, still care about three things:

  • Providing a high level of service to citizens and constituents.
  • Protecting the jurisdiction from internal and external threats (economic, social, health, or physical).
  • Managing the cost.

For DODD, Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the key to providing services as well as controlling costs. The DODD IT team now has a platform to deliver applications as a service across counties. This is a huge improvement over having each county government fund and manage separate IT departments. And it helps DODD avoid time-consuming and costly custom development.

Most importantly, it empowers caseworkers to improve the lives of citizens. For organizations like DODD, where passion is a necessary ingredient to doing a great job, I always ask IT decision-makers to answer two questions before making their next IT purchase:

  • How will the solution reignite the passion of their workers?
  • How will it change lives?

DODD found a great answer to these questions, and the results are inspiring. Read the DODD case study and see for yourself.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe
Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

About the Author

Kirsten Edmondson Wolfe | Global Industry Director for Public Sector for Microsoft Business Solutions

In her current role, Kirsten helps government organizations of all levels develop out-of-the-box solutions to address their unique challenges. Kirsten was formerly a marketing VP in Deltek’s GovCon unit and global VP for public sector at CA Technologies. Read more