Elyon Strategies Case Study

Secretary of State Project Assessment & Fit-Gap Analysis


Secretary of State Project Assessment & Fit-Gap Analysis

Project Background

Elyon was tasked by a large state's Secretary of State (SOS) to conduct a Project Assessment and Fit-Gap Analysis of a newly developed system and provide them with business, technical, and project advisory services.

The state’s statutory changes enacted by their legislature in an Act requires the disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures and state lobbying financial activity. The Act required the SOS to reach the following two objectives:

  1. Provide greater public access to vitally important information
  2. Gradually eliminate paper filings of campaign finance and lobbying activity statements and reports

A division for political reform (Division) was established within the SOS to serve as the filing office for state-level campaigns and lobbying entities. 

The Division administers the state’s filing requirements that are set by the Act. They conduct a wide range of program activities in order to establish compliance with reporting requirements and allow public access, distribution, and analysis of disclosed information.

The current program is an amalgamation of component applications that were developed at different times using multiple platforms and technologies and are now obsolete. 

The previous system was a paper/File Transfer Protocol (FTP)/online hybrid model that resulted in inefficient, manual processes, duplicated efforts, poor data quality, and public disclosure reporting that didn’t meet the expectations of the Division’s stakeholders. 

The earliest stage of the system was developed and deployed in June 2000 making it over two decades old. 

The system users and stakeholder groups had identified the following three problems:

1. The system design was negatively affecting the program business operations 

Elyon introduced a number of best practice frameworks and methodologies into the Division's capabilities including the integration of strategy planning, PEAF, TOGAF, as well as doing comprehensive research into MITA 3.0

2. The business operations were at risk 

Their original system was old and fragile making it incredibly difficult to find staff or vendor support with the necessary skills to maintain the system’s applications. 

The system wasn’t well documented and couldn’t be patched or modified for improvements, including changes in legal requirements or filing processes which made it difficult to do tasks effectively and efficiently. 

3. There was limited information access and reporting capabilities

The system design didn’t provide a user-friendly or reliable method for staff and stakeholders to search for and find information. 

Data couldn’t always be retrieved in a useful manner, and could only be compiled and analyzed in small sections. 

The system lacked basic reports for system and program management so staff weren’t able to run basic queries.

The Division commissioned a system integrator to create a system that helped the Division meet its primary functions easier and more cost-effectively. The new system is comprised of three major components:

  • Salesforce service cloud
  • MuleSoft integration cloud
  • Heroku platform

The system integrator was tasked with implementing the system in a highly compressed timeline to meet the legislatively mandated date. But when the system integrator missed the implementation target date twice, the Division hired Elyon to assess the project processes and conduct a fit-gap analysis of the selected technical components.

Project Approach

We were charged to holistically and objectively assess the current health of the replacement system and work closely with the SOS, Division and various vendors to effectively evaluate the business, technical infrastructure, and project management practices. 

We have provided platform assessments for the various state government departments seeking to modernize legacy applications and determining comparative fit for platforms including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Pegasystems. Elyon’s consultants have provided applications using these platforms as well, giving our team full Solution Development Life Cycle (SDLC) experience from strategy to implementation and positioning them well to understand both the complexities and benefits of modernization efforts that use a platform-based solution.

In performing this work, we model the project using our enterprise Maturity Readiness Index (eMRI) and ExcelerPlan tools. eMRI is an enterprise project process assessment tool, assessing the project process capabilities versus industry best practices, value weighted to the specific processes required for success on this project. eMRI project modeling is in terms of Key Process Areas (KPAs). ExcelerPlan is a benchmark-driven, system dynamic modeling framework that uses benchmark data to create a model of project success, also tailored to this project. ExcelerPlan project modeling is in terms of High-Level Objects (HLOs) and Function Point Equivalents (FPEs), which are industry standards to define application scope; plus, Other Direct Charges (ODCs), including infrastructure and licensing; Maintenance and Operations (M&O) support requirements; and project characteristics that impact efficiency. ExcelerPlan’s models are based on data from over 40,000 projects.

In developing our list of priority items for review, our criteria included:

  • Ensuring that the new system restart will result in a high quality, maintainable system that meets the objectives of the various internal and external stakeholders
  • Maximizing value to the state by ensuring that previous work is used to the greatest extent possible and that the path forward is the most economical one in-line with the above quality-related objectives
  • Minimizing the go-forward risk. In particular, our objective is to ensure that the proposed approach is achievable with a high degree of confidence
  • Seeking opportunities with a phased approach to deliver incremental value to the new system’s users (internal and external)

Elyon provided a detailed corrective action plan and roadmap that could be easily followed and achieved for the Division.

We helped guide them forward to develop a plan that would help them achieve successful completion and delivery of the new system and achieve their goals.

Project Deliverables

At the start of the project, Elyon provided the SOS with an assessment work plan that describes at a high level the planned work performed during the 3-month project assessment. We met with a core team weekly and supported communications with a weekly assessment status report of the project that included an overview of the activities accomplished and the hours worked during the reporting period. 

The assessment yielded three key deliverables:

  1. Initial Assessment Report
  2. Comprehensive Assessment Report
  3. Roadmap and Project Budget for use in a Go-Forward Strategy

The deliverables included:

  • Fit-Gap analysis of Salesforce compatibility 
  • Assessment of the technical implementation to determine whether the system developed to date is in alignment with the business and Salesforce platform capabilities, including third-party integration capabilities
  • Assessment of the data migration requirements 
  • Assessment of the system’s coverage of the stated business requirements
  • Communication and management assessment for the entire project
  • Assessment of the quality testing performed during the project
  • Project roadmap and operational roadmap that supported the overall assessment findings and summary report

The Outcome

The results of our assessment will guide the SOS with a path forward to develop a remediation plan to drive towards achieving successful completion, implementation, and delivery of the replacement system with the goal of meeting or exceeding the Division's and external stakeholders' business needs, fulfilling legislative and statutory requirements, and functioning consistent with the legislative intent of the Act. The Division now has a comprehensive and reliable assessment of the project and the system, as well as a solid go-forward plan and roadmap to achieve their system modernization. 

Elyon Enterprise Strategies, Inc.

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Elyon is a management consulting firm specializing in enterprise business design. Our purpose is to see executive burdens lessened and organizational order increased, with leaders and their organizations having more hope, more success, less despair, and human needs being met.

Our vision is to be your most trusted advisor as you seek to arrive at your full potential. We know your unique business, deliver insightful strategies, build great designs, and can skillfully navigate the road ahead together.

We inspire leaders to transform complexity into enterprise success.

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Carl Engel
About the Author
Carl Engel
CEO, Chief Architect
Elyon Strategies
Carl Engel is a Business and IT visionary with 30+ years of experience including Health and Human Services, Revenue, Finance and Technology. Teaching advanced technology, architecture and framework courses on 4 continents.
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