Case Study: How San Diego County automated big data

Written by Jordan McMahon in Stories from the front lines on September 29, 2014

If your company is like many others, it spends an enormous amount of time unloading and loading data into databases, ERP systems, and web forms. As we all know, the amount of data in the world is growing out of control—some predicting a growth of 50x by 2020. With this data comes data movement, sharing, reporting and a host of other tasks to ensure data is converted into information and intelligence. How will your company deal with this explosion of data? Are your business processes agile enough to survive? How you automate ERP will make a difference.

San Deigo County Health and Human Services AgencyThe San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency found themselves facing these questions as they sought to integrate their state approved administrative system with their enterprise content management system, allowing the systems to communicate automatically. Typically, to integrate the two would require a significant code change; a feat that might not even be possible in their legacy administrative system. Through automation, they were able to non-invasively integrate the systems via the front-end, ensuring that accurate data could flow through each system.

This is just one example of the challenges enterprises face with data movement. Mergers and acquisitions are also obvious examples where automation helps to integrate and synchronize piles of data within two companies. Consider this process flow, wherein HR data from a legacy system is integrated with your SAP financials:

  • Log into legacy HR system and SAP financials system.
  • Bring up employee records with the fields you need.
  • Copy 3 fields (name, ID number, phone number) from HR.
  • Insert this data into Excel spreadsheet.
  • Copy 3 fields (name, ID number, current wage) from financials.
  • Insert this data into the same Excel spreadsheet.
  • Continue for all employees.
  • Insert all spreadsheet data into new web application.
  • Convert spreadsheet to report and email to 5 managers.
  • Log out of both systems.

This entire process can be—and should be—automated. In particular, Step 8 can be completed in an automated, scheduled, and error-free manner. And, security is enhanced because you are not giving employees backend API access to the database. Using automation software is ideal for mass data unloading/loading because it replaces an enormous amount of scripting and coding.

Travel back to San Diego for a moment. Their success with automation didn’t stop with integration. After removing the communication barrier between their systems, they were able to quickly see other ways automation software could make them more efficient and productive, starting with automating a verification process that would need to run on 2000 different computers. With automation, more than 200 agents responsible for verification processes were able to complete all verification requirements with the press of a single hotkey. It’s an example of an organization able to play the data game and actually win.

Nice when a game of tug-and-war doesn’t land you in the mud.

Check out the entire San Diego County case study here.