A few days ago, our student transfer application surpassed 5000 transfer requests. Having worked on many enterprise systems, 5000 is not a large number but one of the things that I’ve always found challenging with enterprise systems is that the benefits are often difficult to quantify and due to the bureaucracy of organizations challenging to realize. This has not been my experience working with school districts.
Before using our application, parents had to fill out a paper form and drop it off at the school district. District personnel then keyed in the request and maintained the information in a combination of Excel documents, paper folders, and local computer files. As you can imagine reporting was time consuming and managing overall the student transfer process required a high degree of institutional knowledge.
Now parents complete the form online and district staff manage the entire process in a secure, open standards based, web application that requires minimal training. Reporting is built in and the entire process is very transparent.
All told, our student transfer application cuts processing time down by about 10 minutes per request. So far, this is over 800 hours saved and this speaks nothing of the benefits easier analysis provides and a (much) more transparent process.
If you build enterprise-y applications for a living these numbers might not impress you. However, it’s among the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Our application is used on a daily basis, our customers are delighted, and I’m making a (small) difference in something I care about. It could be a lot worse.