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The challenge: Determine technology resources and programs required to improve accessibility investment over time and help consumers who are blind or visually impaired gain independence in their everyday lives.

The solution: Strategic business assessment and technology roadmap delivered by IBM that outlines the center's accessibility and adaptive technology needs by consumer group and focus area.

The benefit: Clearly defined strategy to help in serving consumers more effectively and gaining an understanding of initiatives and resources needed to execute strategy.

Helping consumers reach their potential

Founded in 1906, the Cleveland Sight Center provides educational, rehabilitative and support services for thousands of people in the greater Cleveland area who are blind or visually impaired. The center's programs, clubs and recreational activities have helped enhance the quality of life for its consumers for almost a century. "We value an individual's desire to lead a full and meaningful life," explains Cleveland Sight Center Executive Director Michael Grady. "We are proud that our center helps individuals of all ages with vision impairments learn, work, play and live independently."

Changing requirements

Cleveland Sight Center recognized that its consumers' service requirements were changing as rapidly as technology, and the not-for-profit organization decided a roadmap was needed to outline its accessibility strategy over the next few years. The roadmap would address individual needs of the center's three key consumer segments (children, working-age adults and seniors), outline what assistive technologies would be needed for each demographic and establish when each technology should be deployed. The roadmap would also widen the scope of the center's consumer services and be a comprehensive vision of not only accessibility needs, but other resource predictions, including funding and personnel, that could carry it into the future.

Creating a vision

The center brought in IBM consultants to assess each of its consumer group's technology needs and develop a roadmap based on the findings. The three groups had similar requirements, which had to be addressed with assistive technology in different ways. So the IBM consultants determined how each age group used the center's services and technologies, and outlined their unique characteristics to predict which accessibility solutions would be the most useful to them.

"IBM's analysis of our organization helped us to understand our future technology and funding requirements so we could develop a comprehensive plan of action that will greatly improve our allocation of resources."
   — Cleveland Sight Center, Executive Director Michael Grady

Diving deeper

Based on the assessments of the consumer groups, the consultants delved deeper and provided the center with a comprehensive action plan centered on five objectives:

  • Broadening its technology portfolio
  • Driving awareness in the marketplace
  • Prioritizing education-related activities
  • Developing strategic partnerships
  • Communicating effectively with the surrounding community

All with the end goal of better serving its consumers who are blind or visually impaired.

Moving forward

With a clearly defined accessibility strategy in hand, Cleveland Sight Center is now better positioned to deliver quality, targeted services and solutions to its key consumer segments, and has the technology to serve them more effectively. At the same time, the roadmap also provides a communication plan, guidance on how to leverage partnerships and details on funding requirements for the next few years to help the center reap the full benefits of its IT investments.