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Prototypes

Prototype Develoment

Two prototype applications were completed, one to manage executive correspondence at the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and another to assist collaborative work between the Center and the New York State Forum for Information Resource Management. A third agency, the New York State Thruway Authority completed all design work for a system to support customer services in its MIS division and is prepared to begin system development on its own. The Center also tested DecisionWeb as a tool for reducing the time and improving the outcome of organization wide meetings.

Time and Cost Savings

The OSC project produced a prototype InForms application after less than a month of design work and only two weeks of development. Two months later, the agency fully implemented a new correspondence tracking system - nine months ahead of schedule.

Cost and Performance Measures

The Center developed and applied a formal cost performance model to help identify and evaluate potential cost and time savings that might result from full adoption of a new system. The model was tested with two Testbed agencies and in both cases revealed patterns of use that would be cost-justified as well as patterns that would not justify an investment. These results were strongly influenced by the volume of users, applications, or transactions. CTG strongly recommends the use of similar formal analyses before agencies move forward from prototype to full scale implementation.

Process Improvements

Agencies learned how to evaluate work flow and reduce or eliminate inefficient or ineffective processes. New awareness of these critical steps ensured that the technology would improve rather than merely automate work processes. All participants engaged in work flow analysis and process redesign. For some, understanding and adopting new design processes was the most valuable part of the project.

Technology Awareness

Greater awareness and understanding of groupware technology was gained by technical, management, and program staff in the participating agencies. Moreover, through public demonstrations, the knowledge gained first-hand by a few was shared with over 165 professionals from 52 additional organizations.

Organizational Learning

Participants became more aware of the cross-organizational effects of these technologies. They learned more about what staff in other units do and need, and they began to understand how their jobs relate to others both inside and outside the agency. Users and upper management staff became more interested and involved than in previous system development projects in these agencies.