Two Takeaways from the 2017 ISM Conference


Peter Fudalej


Last week, the InRule team attended the American Public Human Services Association’s (APHSA) IT Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM) event in National Harbor, Maryland. The InRule team has attended this event for several years in a row; in addition to getting in a great round of golf, each year we come away with more information to better help and serve the Health and Human Services sector. In this blog post, I thought I’d share two major takeaways from the conference this year:

1. Agile IT Approach

Health and Human Services Departments work to serve their communities through multiple programs such as eligibility determination, benefits calculation, claims processing, and fraud identification. To keep pace with changing regulations and meet market demands, government agencies are consistently implementing new technologies. This, of course, can create a large workload for public sector IT teams.

Government agencies don’t necessarily need more staff to handle this workload, instead teams need to work smarter. This brings us to the idea of using an agile approach to completing IT projects. An agile approach to project management emphasizes collaboration, iterative development, and evolving requirements. The agile approach also focuses on teamwork, customer involvement, and adaptability to develop high quality products.

With an agile approach, government agency IT teams can quickly implement new and more complete technologies, allowing for better service both within the organization and to the communities they serve.

2. Modularity

More than ever, we are seeing a move to modularity in government-related technology projects. In the past, one solution provider would try to build and manage applications that would involve several technology components. For instance, a claims processing application may include a CRM, BPM, BRMS, and Cloud technologies. Organizations previously allowed one solution provider to manage all these technologies and build the custom application, whether they specialized in each technology or not. Naturally, this process was not always a success.

Moving to a modular approach allows government agencies to select best-in-breed technologies and allows each solution provider to manage its individual aspect of the application build. Using my example from above, this would mean there would be one vendor for each of the CRM, BPM, BRMS, and Cloud technologies. This ensures that each solution provider is an expert, and guarantees that the whole project will not fail if one technology flops. Instead, only one aspect of the project will need updating, as opposed to reconstructing the whole solution. Building applications with a modular approach allows organizations to build a better product as a whole and minimize risk.