A former client of MBS’s runs the Wild Horse and Burro Online Corral (OLC) application which manages wild horses and burros captured from federal lands for adoption or direct sale placement. Originally, everything from adoptions, auctioning, and purchasing of the animals was done by hand and in person making it a much more difficult and tedious task.
That is when the client hired MBS to build a public facing multi-functional live auction site. The site specifications were implemented to eliminate paper transactions and to automate the various business processes. The application process is now all online, using webforms and allowing the site admins to approve or deny applications. Public users can view the animals and their details and bid to adopt or purchase eligible animals. The users can then make payments online and receive their Agreement and Bill of Sale documents using E-Signatures.
With this website application, the amount of users, adoptions, and sales have increased each year and the ability to run all business processes on the site has helped our client immensely. The Online Corral is the most trafficked website of theirs.
Challenge - The federal customer had multiple, disparate systems tracking various aspects of vegetation management which caused duplicate data entry and difficulty finding information. They needed a single pane of glass for all stakeholders to find information and perform data entry.
Solution - MBS built a web-based application that is integrated with geospatial functionality to help the customer better coordinate diverse activities across their vast array of programs designed to rehabilitate land, build structures, improve environments, and benefit endangered species while fighting against invasive ones. The solution would house data in one standard location for all stakeholders to find information and perform data entry.
Impact – Creating one, robust platform helped improve efficiencies and reduce unnecessary costs of maintaining multiple systems that collect redundant data. The application is considered the one stop data shop for the agency’s many offices.
Geospatial Integration and Analysis
Challenge - The client employed a 30-year-old legacy, custom-built application for the housing of tabular data. While the integrity of the legacy data was questionable, the migration to a new GIS COTS solution was a daunting challenge.
Solution - Rather than deploy an entirely new system, MBS developers migrated the legacy tabular data into an ArcGIS Enterprise Datastore. MBS automated the reading and interpreting of the data from disparate data sources, allowing us to cleanse the data and identify records that had either incorrect or missing data.
Impact – With the data now cleansed and verified, the customer was able to focus on value-add initiatives in the next phase of the project rather than questioning the data’s accuracy.
Challenge - Integrating ArcGIS into workflow applications isn’t always easy and requires a deep understanding of ArcGIS and the target application. In this instance, the client required transparent queries into ArcGIS from the Salesforce application side. Once queried, the GIS data had to populate the Salesforce workflow page seamlessly.
Solution - MBS implemented ArcGIS data inside the Salesforce application, thereby not requiring the end-user to leave Salesforce to access the GIS data. Additionally, the client required a two-way synchronization update capability to the GIS data. By creating an ArcGIS Server Object Interceptor (SOI), MBS was able to block or allow writes to the ESRI geodatabase.
Impact - The newly implemented integration helped to improve operational efficiencies and ensured geospatial data integrity within both enterprise systems
Challenge - The customer is responsible for managing a water system that included dams, irrigation structures, power structures, and the associated assets used to support the system. They were coordinating over 170 different entities and projects without a unified tool stack or an enterprise-wide view of the system. MBS worked with the client to bring efficiencies and modern tools into play.
Solution - MBS implemented a cloud-based Enterprise GIS program and replaced an archaic system of disparate tabular databases, blueprints, and hard copy design templates.
Impact - This enabled visualization of the eco-system, reporting of damaged assets, and quick and efficient allocation of water resources.
Challenge - For Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP’s) in rural locations, monitoring system usage and health is paramount. Outages result in costly interventions and man-hours to troubleshoot and remediate networks. While outages can be the result of hardware failure, the more common cause is weather-related incidents.
Solution - MBS has created a GIS-enabled view of the network with weather overlays in conjunction with a rural WISP. Using predictive AI algorithms, outages can be understood as either related to weather or attributed to equipment failure. Additional algorithms can be inserted by adding seasonal factors such as foliage growth and shedding. This enables a predictive capability that considers the impact of falling leaves in the fall or canopy growth in the spring and the associated effect on WISP regional service.
Impact - For future planning initiatives, the customer can utilize these algorithms to inform on improved placement and management of assets.
Challenge - While migrating GIS data from one legacy application into a GIS-enabled solution is difficult enough, collecting and collating data from diverse and non-unified sub-agencies of the same organization is problematic.
Solution - Faced with a piecemeal approach by eight separate sub-agencies and an assortment of data sources, MBS was brought on board to create a unified platform that allowed the client to coordinate the fluid leasing bidding process across all regions. Additionally, MBS integrated a traditionally oral bidding process into a more efficient online e-commerce capability.
Impact - The introduction of this GIS centric, unified solution enabled the client to view and manage data in a more efficient and effective manner, paving the way to maximize bid activity and bid price actualized.
Challenge - A client needed a solution that could serve as a single source of truth to organize and coordinate their program activities.
Solution - To address this need, MBS’s team of physical scientists developed a cloud-based system of geospatial web applications. Known collectively, as the Decision Support Tool (DST), this technology allows access to financial statistics, organizational asset information, infrastructure photographs, and geospatial data that this information is tied to. The DST also provides automatic graphical representations of this data based on user queries, including graphs, charts, and time sliders.
Impact - The system provides a common portal with powerful, customized tools that fuel one data source – helping management make the best decisions to support their mission.
Challenge - A federal agency needed a way to integrate and consolidate their many, disparate systems used to track environmental-related projects and activities across multiple programs.
Solution - MBS developed a web-enabled geospatial application which included solutions for users at remote, low-bandwidth offices and integrated mapping functions. The mapping functions required advanced geospatial capabilities such as a Service Object Interceptor (SOI) designed to help synchronize geodatabases and progress the ongoing GIS modernization effort to streamline interactions between applications, users, and the Esri platform.
Impact - Having one system of record eliminated the need to rely on multiple tools that captured the same data and helped increase efficiencies by reducing labor and costs.
Challenge - Managing conservation efforts for a program that annually administers more than 1.3 billion dollars in grants to State and Territory resource agencies requires technology that can effectively track activities and report performance data.
Solution - To support this effort, MBS developed a Cloud-based, enterprise, geospatial data management system to manage and track grants, related projects and locations, and accomplishments. Using ESRI ArcGIS APIs, MBS built a fully featured, web-enabled mapping interface for users to enter geospatial information about their projects.
Impact - This added functionality allows users to manually create geo-data, copy geo-data from third-party sources, and import GIS data from other systems, creating efficiencies and improving operational performance
A classic scenario for data migrations to new COTS solutions is what this client was facing. Homegrown, custom-developed pension and health benefits systems can be problematic. Institutional knowledge can be sparse, and hastily concocted workarounds are often not documented. This project entails the complete data profiling, cleansing, and migration for a several hundred thousand-member, multi-employer, and multi-plan Pension and Benefits Administration System from their original, custom-developed system to Vitech’s V3. MBS has completed data profiling, all data mapping, all initial script development and is now supporting data cleansing and issue resolution for Go-Live in 2022. MBS is also performing the complete data profiling, cleansing, and migration for the client’s Health Benefits plan to V3.
To say that Taft-Hartley benefit plans can be cumbersome and difficult to implement is an understatement. With thousands of employers all with different methodologies of reporting employee records, migration of legacy systems into new COTS-based solutions can be challenging. This client was facing such a daunting task and tasked MBS to lead and execute the data migration effort. MBS is performing the complete data profiling, cleansing, and migration for a Benefits Administration System, including hundreds of thousands of members, from their original, custom-developed system to Vitech’s V3. The project included data transformations that were algorithmic in nature and included up to ten pages of instructions for single transformations. MBS has completed data profiling, all data mapping, and script development. We are currently supporting data cleansing and issue resolution for Go-Live in 2022.
When you transition to a new pension/health system, old dependencies and data pipes to other applications can be broken. This can be especially problematic when the data pipelines to data warehouses with bi-directional application requirements need to be rebuilt. This client had such dependences in their legacy system. Their systems manage both Pension and Health and Welfare benefits. MBS performed the usual migration needs such as data profiling, cleansing, and legacy data migrations. Additionally, MBS had to create a back bridge (sending data back to the source system to accommodate implementation phases). Finally, the data pipelines to the existing data warehouse and BI applications had to be rebuilt in order for them to work with the new Pension/Health system (Vitech).
MBS completed a data migration for their 30,000-member, Pension Benefits Administration System that used defined benefits calculations. It included unique business rules to support its distinct constituency. The target system was Vitech’s V3, a COTS-style browser-based pension Benefits Administration Systems using Oracle. We also built an Employer Contribution Self Service Portal, developed programs to produce outbound letters to participants, and performed requirements and impact analyses for specific modules of their new Benefits System, such as health eligibility, 415(c) limits, and artifact generation.
Large Public Pension funds with hundreds of thousands of participants can present unique migration challenges. The sheer volume of records that need to be cleansed and migrated can task the performance and reliability of the underlying physical computing infrastructure and can make issue resolution more difficult because of the larger number of corner cases. Utilizing unique, virtual “Data Foundry” tools, MBS can move large data sets efficiently and isolate corner cases quickly. MBS is currently a part of a multi-year engagement with this client which includes Data Profiling, Data Cleansing, Data Migration, and Go-Live Support for their large membership public plan. Utilizing our “Data Foundry” we have been able to deal with the large volume of records seamlessly. We are now in the middle of working on the Data Profiling portion. This is just a piece of an extensive data assessment and cleansing effort in preparation for large-scale data migration to a new COTS system.
Sometimes the amount of effort to do the data migration to a new COTS environment is underestimated. This client was in the process of transitioning to a new Pension System (CPAS), a COTS style browser-based Pension Benefits Administration Systems using Oracle, with its in-house team. During the transition, an issue backlog had grown. In an effort to augment their existing internal team they engaged MBS to work with the team to eliminate the issue backlog for Go-Live. This client has 15,000 members and millions of contributions records. MBS provided the leadership and support services for completing the data migration while the client performed all development work in-house. MBS used its data mapping and issue tracking approach to resolve the remaining issues, and the client went live on the new system shortly after that.
When a client migrates to a new system, it is always helpful to have in-house expertise in the legacy environment. Sometimes, however, the legacy systems are so old, that the institution knowledge has long since vanished. This client considered their data conversion to be a major risk to the project due to the lack of legacy system expertise. MBS performed the complete data migration for a Pension and Benefits Administration System, including tens of thousands of members, for the client from the original, custom-developed system to Vitech’s V3, from beginning to end. The project included the cleansing and migration of county payroll data to get it to conform to the COTS system requirements and reconciliation of membership accounts. MBS’ data conversion for Go-Live was considered ‘flawless’ by the client and Vitech.
One of the largest challenges to migrating to a new Pension/Health benefits system is when the old system wasn’t as robust as would have been liked. In this instance, the previous state of the environment consisted of excel spreadsheets and manual entry of data. In order to facilitate the proper migration to the new environment, a temporary in-house system of record had to be built from scratch. MBS worked with the client to create such a system of record, which consists of tens of thousands of member contributions and Pension and Health Benefits data. By building a new system, the client was able to ensure continuity of services while they implement a new COTS system. For this project, MBS is working within the Microsoft Azure/Power Apps environment, and is profiling, supporting the cleansing process, and performing quality assurance checks of the data. The solution for this client includes MBS-built user interface screens that will allow the client to better manage and leverage the data in its operations. The client is now ready to move to a new Lifeworks Pension and Health Benefits system which is scheduled to Go-Live in 2023 and MBS has now begun the data migration in support of this effort.