Webinar presenters Joe Alexander and Chris Williams answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Adapting to Critical Change at Corrections Facilities. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: How people can get access to the power apps that you just demonstrated.
Joe Alexander: What I would encourage you to do if you’re interested in any of what you saw, is, reach out to Chris on the number you have there. There is that these apps that we’re showing on this are not sitting out on an app store somewhere just to download. But we do have them, and we can provide them to you very easily. So, I would encourage you to reach out to Chris, and let him know what you’re interested in seeing. And we can have a conversation around, which one of these fits best? Now, what do you need from a power apps standpoint, your licensing standpoint as it relates to actually utilizing the applications? And we can help educate you a little bit more. But we definitely have those, if it’s something you’d be interested in looking at.
Chris Williams: Joe said at the beginning there, yeah. Any power apps, if you’re interested in any of that, just reach out to me and we can take a look at, you, know what the situation, what solution you’re looking for, and then we can pair it up with what you need, and we can talk about licensing and what may need to be added to that. So, from a great starting point, we work really closely with Microsoft. So, just everybody knows Microsoft Power Platform is a Microsoft product. We work very, very closely with them, so we’ll get you hooked up with the people that you need to talk with
Audience Question: Does this technology sync with existing data management systems? Meaning, will it import things like names and identifying numbers from a separate database? Or will all of that has to be input manually.
Joe Alexander: I’ll take that. That’s a great question. Yeah, and I will say this, the Power Platform itself has a number of different pre-built connectors that are already available to you. So, we worked with organizations that, for example, have their Jail Management System sitting on an Oracle database. There’s actually an Oracle connector already built. And so, what we do is, we work with you to determine what that system of record is. How often that data needs to be pulled in. I mean, obviously, in the inmate world, right. There are new inmates every single day leaving and coming to your facility. And so, we can set that up with you in setting up an integration to be able to ensure that you have the right data sources. When you’re going in and working through the pandemic tracker itself. Now, with that being said, this is all about choice. We looked at, the organizations that have said, Yes, this is critical, that we have this integration. And we’ve worked with others who have said, “Hey, you know what? We’ll go ahead and manually input this process ourselves. So, depending on your needs, as an organization, would really dictate the Dataflow, That would go back and forth. But suffice to say that absolutely, 100% that is available, and would be part of any conversation that we would have if you’re interested in the application.
Audience Question: We currently keep our information across multiple spreadsheets. How difficult with the speed of import?
Joe Alexander: Yeah, that’s a good question too. We’ve come across it, and sometimes multiple spreadsheets can get confusing very, very quickly. The intent of this is actually to serve as a replacement for those spreadsheets. So, what we do is we go, we would go through an exercise with you, and understand exactly what data you’re capturing from those spreadsheets. And then there is an import tool that is part of the power platform that allows us, and it actually has the same way, we’ve got connectors, various integration. It has a connector for things like spreadsheets, where we simply go through a small data mapping process to determine what are the right data elements that we’re bringing in and go through that import process with you. It’s very typical. And it’s something that not only in the world of corrections and what we’re talking about today, but with many, I’d probably say 90 to 95% of app implementations that we do as an organization has some element of consolidating data from Excel sheets that’s out there today. So again, I would encourage you, if you, if you have that question, what I would ask is, reach out to Chris. He’ll set up a conversation. Let’s take a look at those sheets, let us understand how you’re doing it today, and we should give you some recommendations as it relates to this would probably a good way forward, to be able to take that information out of that probably antiquated and tough to manage Excel environment, and drop it into a relational database that will be more manageable for you in the long term
Audience Question: You might have kind of implied this, but does this system also integrate with other systems like supply ordering or staffing systems, that kind of thing?
Joe Alexander: Yeah. It absolutely does. Again, the ability to integrate with other applications, whether those are available in preexisting connectors, that they have that the Microsoft Power Platform has made. Or whether it’s via, you know, perhaps some integrations using some open web APIs or other types of technology, that is very common. There’s very rarely a scenario we go through that does not include some sort of integration with some database. Whether that’s a legacy system, you may be sitting on today to get, just can’t get rid of, for whatever reason. Or that an accounting system or personnel system, the ability to communicate with those in a bidirectional manner, pushing and pulling of data is very typical in these engagements.
Audience Question: Is the app able to help? I think you might’ve implied this, but is it able to help with contact tracing in the jail setting.
Joe Alexander: Yeah, and I think that’s really the genesis of the inmate tracker app itself is allowing you to set up those relationships in the system. We didn’t get too much into the reporting aspect of it. And we can definitely do that in a 1v1 if you guys would like. Is being able to set up those relationships to be able to say, okay, here’s an individual, and here is the contact tracking, kind of piece of it to determine who this, what that spider web can potentially mean within our organization. That’s the genesis of this application. Now what we have found is that contact tracing for institutions is a little bit different across the board. So, we’re providing a framework for that within the power apps, and then working with you to determine exactly what that looks like. Is it a report? Is it the dashboard? Is it a list of information? Is it simply a list of content? So, yeah, that is the genesis of it and really kind of the design of it.
Audience Question: Does it use the info from their inmate wristband RFID?
Joe Alexander: Yes, it can, again, the design of this system is not to replace your jail management system in any case. But, as we’re going through the integration component of connecting it to your jail management system, if we want to link this to the RFID, kind of scanning capabilities, that can absolutely be done as well. We do RFID in some of our jail management deployments because we don’t do have a solution that offers that piece as well. So, we’re familiar with RFID and can incorporate that, if necessary.
Audience Question: Are your app systems, for the COVID epidemic, Are they HIPAA compliant?
Joe Alexander: Yes, Microsoft, the entire Power Platform is, is HIPAA compliant? So, yes.
Audience Question: How long does it take to implement a service like this? What does the onboarding process look like?
Joe Alexander: Yeah, I think that it’s sometimes dependent on your organization what your complexity needs are. But what we do is we go in with organizations, and we typically see this takes weeks not months. We’ve seen is typically be the 2 to the 3-week time frame for us to come in, lay the solution on top of your power apps, the application, and then work with you to kind of configure it. We also realize that this is not oftentimes, as you’re doing right now if you’re using Excel sheets, you probably started out with Excel sheets and realize two weeks into it, hey, I’d like to modify this, or do this a different way. It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint type of mentality. So, while we can throw it in there and get you something immediately, you’re going to see three months, three weeks down the line, four weeks down the line a month down the line that there’s something I want to modify and go in and change. So, the initial deployment itself, we look to see about 2 to 3 weeks, and then offer you the tools and essentially teach you guys to fish rather than fish for you, so that you can continue to modify the application as you see necessary.
Audience Question: I think this was again implied in the demo, but I just want to clarify the application is accessible through a mobile device, a tablet, a phone? And is it agnostic, whether it’s an Apple or Android device?
Joe Alexander: Yeah, I mean, but everything you saw today is browser-agnostic, device-agnostic, and location agnostic. What I mean by that is, you can access that from a PC, a laptop, a tablet, your iPhone, your Android device. Whatever it is, you may be using.
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