Cuyahoga County

Enterprise Data Architecture Assessment

Cuyahoga County Enterprise Data Architecture Assessment

Background

Cuyahoga County was managing a disparate catalog of siloed applications that had a low level of integration and were not assembled to support sharing of key data elements. To share information, many applications required rekeying of information, and the applications existed in a loosely-coupled, loosely integrated environment. The environment required manual processes for information sharing which wasted time, was often inaccurate, was untimely and didn’t effectively allow for cross-application queries and reporting. The County did not currently have either an operational or analytic Data Warehouse. Additionally, the County was converting to a new ERP application that was to replace the existing mainframe financial and payroll applications, an SAP HR and Benefits application, an OnBase Procurement application, a Budgeting application, and additional one-off applications at the county. Sun-setting those solutions required an effective data archive solution. Due to all of these challenges, the county was looking for a recommendation for an enterprise data architecture and roadmap that leveraged modern technologies and methodologies around managing enterprise data, reporting and analytics. The objective of the Cuyahoga County Enterprise Data Architecture Assessment project was to provide a recommendation for an enterprise data architecture that took into account modern technologies and methodologies where necessary. In addition, the objective was to provide a detailed roadmap and strategy to implement the recommended enterprise data architecture and satisfy short term and long term enterprise data requirements for the county. Navigator was to provide official written deliverables and presentations to key project stakeholders and executives throughout the project to present these recommendations and keep the county involved in the process.

Approach

Navigator’s high level approach was to provide an assessment, strategy, and roadmap to make sure the right solution to the issue was recommended, and that there was a clear path for Cuyahoga County to move forward. The goal was to first get an understanding of the county’s enterprise data requirements and existing technologies and methodologies before providing any recommendations. Navigator has found that it is common during assessments like these that the organization already has some of the necessary technical and functional components available to meet requirements, they just aren’t being used effectively to do so. From an efficiency perspective, we typically recommend leveraging existing technology and processes where possible, as long as it is the right fit to satisfy the organization’s requirements. Therefore, we broke this assessment, strategy and roadmap down into four project phases, Planning & Analysis, Technical Integration Analysis, Architecture Assessment, and Roadmap.

The first phase was Planning & Analysis, which was where we focused on ensuring Navigator and Cuyahoga County were fully on the same page regarding scope, timeline, stakeholders, vision, and success factors. Further, we gathered high level business requirements around enterprise data, inventoried source systems and existing technologies, and identified gaps in the existing environment in order to satisfy the requirements identified. The outputs in this phase included a confirmed project plan, high level enterprise data architecture requirements that focused around data management, reporting and analytics, as well as a current state assessment, and gaps.  

The second phase was Technical Integration Analysis. In this phase we identified the technical components required to satisfy all of the county’s requirements identified in the first phase, and whether there was a gap in existing technology at the County for each of the components identified. The recommendations in this phase were from a tool agnostic perspective, and were focused on being the best fit for the county, while incorporating modern technologies and methodologies where necessary. In addition to identifying the required technical components, this phase also involved us creating RFP requirements for tool selection and integration services so that the county could immediately start the procurement process for the necessary technical and functional components. The outputs of this phase included detailed technical requirements, and initial RFP requirements to address the technology gaps.

The third phase was Architecture Assessment, which was where Navigator proposed a detailed enterprise data architecture that was the best fit for the county, and would satisfy the requirements identified in the first phase. Navigator made sure that the recommended architecture covered all of the county’s data management, reporting and analytics requirements. This recommendation included existing tools that should be leveraged to satisfy requirements, as well as new tools and technologies that would address the technology gaps to satisfy requirements. The output of this phase was a detailed analysis of recommended tools, including details as to why those tools were selected, and how they would be used to satisfy the county’s requirements. For new technology that was recommended, Navigator provided a list of recommended vendors and details of their capabilities, pros and cons. This information on new, recommended technology vendors would assist the county during their tool selection RFP process for new technology.

The fourth phase was the Roadmap, which was where Navigator laid out the detailed plan for rolling out this new enterprise data architecture. This roadmap included a detailed timeline of short term and long term initiatives that would ultimately satisfy all of the county’s enterprise data requirements. This timeline also included quick wins for the county that would help gain quick momentum for the initiative. In addition to a timeline, Navigator also provided recommendations around staffing, organization structure, data governance, training, and organizational change management. The output of this phase was a detailed roadmap that would provide the county a clear path to get started on this initiative immediately.

The list of roles Navigator held on the project included:
  • Executive QA
  • Solution Architect
  • Business/Data Analysts
The capabilities and solutions used on the project included:
  • BI
  • OCM
  • Tableau

Results

Navigator was able to deliver everything that was promised to Cuyahoga County for this project, which was fixed-fee, on time and on budget. The project included four official deliverables throughout the project, one for each of the phases mentioned in the approach, and each was delivered on time, and was presented to key project stakeholders and executives to make sure they were involved and in agreement with the recommendations. From these deliverables, the county was able to begin the RFP procurement process immediately after the second phase, which included detailed RFP requirements for tool selection and for service integration. Therefore, the county could have all of the components in place to begin integrating the new enterprise data architecture and roadmap soon after this project completed.  The Roadmap deliverable also provided a clear path, from initiation to long term support and maintenance, for the county to get started right away once the appropriate technology was in place.