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10May
Cook County President’s Office
Case Studies

CCpresidentsoffice_casestudyTHE PROBLEM

The City of Chicago resides within Cook County, which with a population of about 5.2 million residents, is the second largest county in the United States. The Cook County President sits at the head of the Board of Commissioners, and together they set policies and laws for the county regarding property, public health services, public safety, and the maintenance of county highways. As the entity that resides at the head of the Board meetings, the Cook County President’s Office (CCPO) is charged with the responsibility of storing and managing all pertinent constituent and contact information as well as all communication activities linked to communities and organizations. In 2014, prior to Catalyst involvement, the CCPO utilized a simple MS Excel spreadsheet to store all constituent data, which became increasingly difficult to track and manage. To improve the CCPO’s data management and allow for expanded tracking ability, the CCPO contracted with Catalyst to implement a Salesforce CRM solution.

OUR SOLUTION

The new solution merged all of the CCPO’s existing data into one database and provided the ability to store, track, and manage the data through an intuitive, multi-user application. In order to tailor the tool to the CCPO’s unique needs and specifications, the Catalyst Team worked closely with the CCPO and the Bureau of Technology to gather all necessary requirements. With the new, custom-tailored solution implemented, the CCPO was given the ability to seamlessly track all information and communication activities linked to community contacts and organizations. Additionally, the CCPO could set up multiple user accounts allowing more than one admin access to the system at one time, a feature not previously available through the use of the Excel spreadsheet.

Prior to the new CRM, access to the spreadsheet was not available remotely, which restricted data access, additions, and tracking to on-site admin only. The new solution offered the ability to access data on-site as well as remotely via a mobile device, making additions and edits to constituent information easier, more efficient, and more up-to-date. Through the fully integrated approach, the CCPO was given the ability to seamlessly manage all community and organization contacts as well as track events, meetings, and phone calls, further improving their day-to-day functions. With the Salesforce tool implemented by Catalyst, the CCPO is utilizing a best-of-breed solution that not only improved its communication with the many County departments, but also with the millions of residents living in Cook County.

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10May
Service, Inc. – Service of Will, Grundy, and Kankakee Counties Salesforce Solution
Case Studies

SWGKC_casestudyTHE CLIENT

Service of Will, Grundy, and Kankakee Counties, Inc. was founded in 1989 by over 30 health care, social service agencies and advocacy organizations to provide independent service coordination services to people of all ages with developmental delays and disabilities. The organization is dedicated to helping those with developmental delays and disabilities access and utilize the services they need to lead a better life. Since 1989, SWGK has provided services to over 40,000 people.

SWGK contracted Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc. (Catalyst) to help them in their mission to provide the highest level of services to their participants, by replacing their existing customer relationship management (CRM) system with Salesforce Platform 1.

OUR SOLUTION

Catalyst began the project by undertaking the large data migration and cleansing effort required to provide an efficient solution. After the thorough data migration Catalyst began to configure the solution. Salesforce Platform 1 facilitated an accelerated configuration and deployment of a powerful CRM. The Salesforce solution provided SWGK with real time reporting, personalized end-user dashboards for case load management, and instant mobile access.

The solution allowed for easy management and integration with the Individual Service and Support Advocacy (ISSA) and Preadmission Screening (PAS) department, which provides information during on-site visits. The fully integrated approach will allow SWGK to proactively manage information and metrics reported to the ISSA, a state mandated program. Catalyst then designed and developed a custom billing system to track over a million billing transactions generated by the service providing end-users.

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bid buy
03May
State of Illinois – eProcurement
Case Studies

eprocurement_casestudyTHE PROBLEM

The State of Illinois procures everything from produce to the development of highway infrastructure. As a government agency, the state must adhere to public procurement law which regulates the purchasing of goods, work, and services by public-sector bodies. The set procurement processes require the state to place public bids, perform evaluation processes, and publish contract awards providing transparency, accountability, and cost savings. To manage all bids, documents, and responses, the state utilizes an online electronic process called eProcurement.

In 2014, the eProcurement process utilized by the State of Illinois was complex and often times redundant. To update the system and streamline the process, the State of Illinois looked to Periscope Holdings for the purchase of a new eProcurement system called BidBuy. The new system consolidated the many eProcurement processes into one system and normalized the disjointed practices used to complete the process. BidBuy not only provided the State of Illinois with “state of the art” online commerce between government purchasers and businesses, but has been successfully implemented by many other states and municipalities. With BidBuy fully developed, Periscope and the State of Illinois needed a company that could successfully implement the new system and train its end users.

OUR SOLUTION

In March of 2015, Catalyst joined the project with a focus on business analysis, communication, end user training, and overall system branding. When implementing a system as influential and utilized as the State’s procurement system, communication is critical to success. The Catalyst Lead invested time at the onset of the engagement to learn the business processes, communication streams, and culture within the State of Illinois Chief Procurement Office of General Services. With this knowledge, Catalyst developed a customized communication plan used across all departments that was not only effective during system implementation, but also easily accepted by the client.

BidBuy streamlined the entire eProcurement process from bid advertisement to contracts awarded, but a system is only as good as its end user’s ability to use it. To ensure BidBuy’s end users were well-versed in all aspects of the system, Catalyst developed customized training materials including course manuals, presentations, training guides, and training exercises. The project lead also took a “train-the-trainer” approach to ensure the State of Illinois had subject matter experts of its own at the close of the project. Finally, Catalyst’s lead designer worked closely with the State of Illinois to brand their new BidBuy system to correlate with their existing logo and branding. The uniform branding implemented by Catalyst reinforced the consolidation of the multiple procurement processes to one platform and ensured a seamless, consistent experience for all end users. 

IMPACT & RESULTS

The implementation of BidBuy Reduces Cost, Streamlines Processes and Increases Transparency

The new system allows the state to advertise solicitation opportunities, evaluate bids and publish contract awards on one platform.

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03May
Chicago Department of Aviation – PCI Compliance
Case Studies

CDAPCI_casestudyTHE PROBLEM

In 2015, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), the entity responsible for the management of Chicago’s Airport System, sought to automate the payment process for Midway International Airport’s Daily Parking Lot. By 2014 the CDA had already automated the payment processes for the parking garages and lots within O’Hare International Airport and was ready to follow suit with Midway. By implementing automatic payment systems for all of the parking garages and lots within Chicago’s Airport System, the CDA would lower overall labor costs, modernize the airports, and ensure ease of travel for its passengers.

Since 2006, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) has set requirements and security standards for organizations that handle credit card payments from major card schemes. These standards, known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), must be met by every organization that accepts, transmits or stores any cardholder data, regardless of size or number of transactions. Furthermore, annual audits are performed on an organization’s payment systems to ensure they are continually adhering to the PCI DSS. In November of 2015, the environment that Midway’s automated payment system was being built on was found to be non-compliant, and the project was put on hold. To help get the system’s environment PCI compliant so the project could continue, the CDA reached out to Catalyst for assistance.

OUR SOLUTION

Catalyst’s infrastructure lead performed an assessment on the environment and located all of the areas that were not in line with the PCI DSS. Through the assessment, Catalyst found that the third-party vendor implementing the system had installed the payment application, authentication services, logging services, and antivirus software onto one system. For the environment to be PCI compliant, these applications and services systems must be separate from one another. To fix the issue, Catalyst worked with the vendor to virtualize the environment and implemented multiple virtual machines (VMs) to ensure each function resided on a separate server.

With the VMs in place, Catalyst worked with the City of Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) to perform vulnerability scans on each of the systems and found many security issues preventing PCI compliance. To help the vendor patch the system, Catalyst provided a detailed report on each issue along with recommendations on how to fix them in order to get the system PCI compliant. The Catalyst team worked alongside the vendor to implement the recommendations and in March of 2016 the automated payment system for Midway’s parking garages and lots was PCI compliant. As a result of Catalyst’s success with Midway’s system, the CDA requested the team run an assessment on O’Hare’s environment prior to the 2016 PCI audit. Through the assessment, Catalyst discovered many issues within the environment: the system was missing a centrally-managed anti-virus system as well as a separate logging and file integration system. Furthermore, the virtual private network (VPN) being utilized by the vendor to access the environment was not using multi-factor authentication. All three of these factors were in direct violation of the PCI DSS and caused O’Hare’s environment to be non-compliant.

To ensure the CDA passed the audit in December, the team implemented new servers for the two systems. A combination of radius server and duo security was set up to ensure multi-factor VPN authentication to the CDA’s PCI environment. Once the environment was ready, the Catalyst team drafted documentation and procedures to ensure the vendor was able to maintain compliance. As a result of Catalyst’s efforts, to date O’Hare’s PCI environment is fully compliant and passed the PCI audit. The team continues to work with the CDA and its vendors to ensure both environments maintain their PCI compliance.

IMPACT & RESULTS

In 2016, O’Hare’s parking garages and lots combined completed 3.7 million transactions for an average of 308,000 per month.

On average, Chicago’s Airport System experiences approximately 10 million passengers per month.

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03May
Chicago Department of Aviation – www.flychicago.com
Case Studies

CDAflychi_casestudyTHE PROBLEM

In August of 2011, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) sought support related to IT Application Development and Maintenance as well as IT Networking and Infrastructure. The previous consultant had left the project abruptly, requiring the CDA to issue a Task Order Request (TOR) to find a new company to assume support immediately. Many applications and tasks were included in the TOR, but the largest and most pertinent aspect of the TOR concerned Flychicago.com, the CDA’s public-facing website for O’Hare and Midway International Airports.

The City of Chicago is one of the few metropolitan cities in the United States that has not one, but two airports: O’Hare and Midway International Airports. Both airports are managed by the City of Chicago through the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). Together O’Hare and Midway generate more than $45 billion in annual economic activity and create 540,000 jobs for the region, making it an integral part of the City of Chicago. On a daily basis thousands of users access Flychicago seeking important information regarding Chicago’s airport system. With such high traffic, Flychicago is one of the main platforms used by the CDA to communicate with its customers regarding real-time flight delays, traffic alerts, parking rates and availability, recent news, and much more. As such, it was imperative Catalyst assume control and support of the website immediately.

OUR SOLUTION

Catalyst developers got to work and began acclimating to the CDA’s environment by learning its main business processes, acquainting themselves with CDA staff, assessing all existing applications, and familiarizing themselves with Sharepoint, the Content Management System (CMS) used to manage Flychicago. In just six weeks the team had assumed full control of Flychicago and began making improvements toward a refined user experience with newly developed applications as well as the development of an updated mobile site. In June of 2014, the CDA requested an overhaul of Flychicago’s content. Catalyst combed through each page within Flychicago and updated the content to include accurate, current information, search engine optimization (SEO) for increased public access, and a consistent voice across all pages.

In November of 2014, the Catalyst team updated the existing mobile site. New pages were added to aid the CDA’s communication with mobile passengers, a new design was implemented for improved user experience, and Google Analytics was set to track all mobile traffic. As a result of the new mobile site’s success, as well as a global increase in mobile use, the CDA contracted Catalyst in January of 2016 to develop a fully responsive, fully redesigned Flychicago. Prior to the redesign the CDA maintained two separate sites, desktop and mobile, making content management difficult and cumbersome. By implementing industry standards and developing a fully responsive website, Catalyst improved maintenance efficiency and overall end user experience. Additionally, the team developed new in-airport maps for both airports integrated with Google Maps utilizing Blue Dot technology. The new maps improve passenger wayfinding within the airports and allow the CDA to promote its many concessions directly to passengers, increasing overall revenue. The new site launched in March of 2017. 

IMPACT & RESULTS

The 2014 content overhaul increased inbound traffic on the desktop version of Flychicago by 50% or 15,000 hits in one year.

The 2014 redevelopment and redesign of Flychicago’s mobile site increased mobile traffic by 633% or 306,144 hits in one year.

On average, Flychicago receives 10,000 visitors a day.

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03May
Illinois Tollway
Case Studies

tollway_casestudyTHE PROBLEM

Established in 1953, the Illinois Tollway system is composed of four major toll roads that stretch across 286 miles of Illinois. On a daily basis the Tollway handles millions of transactions, totaling close to a billion or more annual transactions. They serve over four million customers bringing in over $1 billion in annual revenue. Currently, electronic toll revenue is the core of the business system comprising 85 percent of the Tollway’s revenue. This number will continue to grow exponentially as the Tollway continues to implement all-electronic roads and interchanges.

In the spring of 2014, the Illinois Tollway realized a replacement for its customer service and violation processing system was necessary for this continued, successful growth. The 2005 system no longer supported their goals of reducing operational costs, improving customer service cycle times, and embracing improved customer service policies such as shorter violation notice cycles and dynamic management of fines and settlements. To scale their business both vertically and horizontally, the Tollway received a “best of breed” enterprise back office solution developed by SAP and Accenture called the Accenture Tolling Solution (ATS). With their new solution ready, it was clear that to ensure proper implementation the Tollway needed a solution integrator with technical and business experience implementing and running enterprise-level business applications like the ATS. Without proper implementation, the Tollway’s ability to collect electronic tolls would be jeopardized, leaving their core business and operations at risk.

OUR SOLUTION

The Tollway awarded Jacobs Engineering Group (Jacobs) the System Integrator Services contract in conjunction with Catalyst. Together Catalyst and Jacobs provided the Tollway with technical and business experience implementing and running enterprise-level business applications like the ATS to provide oversight and to monitor the post go-live System processing, operational characteristics, user experience, and performance. At the onset of the project, Catalyst placed multiple senior-level consultants and management staff at the Tollway to first learn the ins and outs of its business and establish a strong foundation. Once the team was comfortable with the Tollway’s business operations, they applied their experience in risk management to ensure proper identification, mediation, mitigation, and escalation was applied to any and all issues that arose within the project. Project documentation and meetings implemented by Catalyst on a weekly basis ensured all teams were frequently updated on the status of all project work streams. Catalyst’s flexible customer engagement style established a strong foundation of trust and allowed for the team to easily collaborate with the Tollway to achieve critical project milestones.

During the design, build, and testing phases of the project, Catalyst utilized its most senior infrastructure and application technical resources to provide ample guidance. The team utilized its knowledge of PCI compliance to ensure all network setup and implementation was completed properly and to the highest industry standard. Specifically, Catalyst provided guidance and assessment on the configuration of the VmWare ESX Host and Citrix XenApp. On many occasions the team provided key research, feedback, and knowledge of past experience as it related to database, server virtualization, operational configurations, and maintenance considerations. Specifically, the team provided guidance and assessment on the configuration and implementation of SAP Netweaver, Oracle Golden Gate and 11g/12C, and ATS NetApp and Cisco UCS. Often times this feedback was crucial to the success and continuance of the project. 

In providing proper communication, resource utilization, transparency, and collaboration, Catalyst proved to the Tollway it is a trustworthy and long-term partner. Through this engagement, the Tollway and Accenture have both looked to utilize Catalyst in future endeavors. The ATS went live August 2016.

“Catalyst is a wonderful partner for any organization going through significant technological evolution. Their team represents a deep and diverse set of skills and experiences that ensures we always have someone to rely upon for guidance, even when the questions and challenges we have are esoteric and complex. We are grateful for the input and leadership of our Catalyst partners every step of the way”

– Shana Whitehead, Chief of Business of Systems at the Tollway

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