IBM Helps Alameda County Deliver Social Services

Analytics Brings Efficiencies and Potential Millions in Cost Savings while Improving Public Assistance

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LAS VEGAS - 26 Oct 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that California's Alameda County Social Services Agency (Alameda County SSA) is using IBM analytics technology to improve the delivery of social services by implementing efficiencies at every program level. Furthermore it will help assure that the correct benefit amounts get to deserving clients.

The new analytics system enables caseworkers to quickly and securely verify claims and make critical decisions on services within minutes thereby improving the eligibility process for clients needing to access county services. Alameda County caseworkers and clients will now benefit from instant automated notifications during certain status changes, such as the benefits approval process allowing caseworkers to make more informed decisions. 

The IBM analytics system, which was up and running in less than six months, gives caseworkers a consolidated picture of all the benefits a client is receiving across six different social services programs. Audit logs are used to improve accountability and ensure higher levels of privacy protection. The system can now deliver automated emails, text messages via cell phones, or calls to both caseworkers and clients notifying them when there are important changes in status, such as eligibility for Federal assistance. 

"This analytics system is helping us in our fight against poverty in Alameda County," said Don Edwards, assistant agency director, Alameda Social Services Agency. "With new smarter insights, we can be proactive instead of reactive in delivering secure services people need, when they need it the most, while saving valuable taxpayer dollars." 

By coordinating information across programs, Alameda County SSA can immediately identify gaps in service and direct funding and resources to where they are most needed. For example, caseworkers can now access a single dashboard that provides the real-time status on children in the child welfare system from multiple payment and case management systems. This enables caseworkers to instantly analyze the effectiveness and status of particular interventions, look at the history of a case and adjust the services based on the specific needs of a child. 

It also provides an invaluable tool for the Agency's Team Decision Making (TDM) staff and community partners when making critical placement decisions. Now, TDMs which includes caseworkers, family and extended family members, clergy, and Juvenile Probation, have a comprehensive view of all services and programs affecting a child. This expanded access to information ensures that everyone responsible for making decisions on behalf of children all have access to the same information. 

Another key component of the Alameda County SSA system is that business analytics helps detect fraud and abuse and can potentially save millions. The ability to quickly identify people that are not entitled to benefits saves tax payer money. The new analytics system enables the agency to immediately detect problematic trends such as numerous claims from the same address. 

For example, within the CalWorks (welfare) program alone, the agency identified millions of dollars of potential savings. Soon after launching the new software, Alameda SSA determined that only 10 percent of CalWorks' clients were participating in mandatory work activities. Previous systems erroneously reported participation at 50 percent. With the new system administrators are alerted of cases requiring action in less than a minute rather than weeks, months, or even more prolonged periods. 

Facing a mounting deficit, deep Federal and State budget cuts and an increase in requests for assistance, Alameda SSA is constantly challenged to do more with less. Business analytics technology enhances the agency's ability to maximize every dollar through technology efficiencies. The system also simplifies the tracking and reporting requirements for government funding by providing real-time dashboard views of funding and progress across programs. 

"Alameda County sets an example for how advanced analytics is benefiting both its citizens and social services agency," said Anne Altman, general manager, IBM Global Public Sector. "The new analytics system is helping Alameda County SSA get a better view of client information that can lead to more informed decisions, improved management of resources, and faster delivery of services." 

Alameda County SSA's analytics system is Web enabled and runs on the Linux platform. It includes IBM Cognos reporting and dashboards, IBM Data Warehouse, DB2 and Entity Analytics. 

This effort with Alameda County supports IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, which recognizes the need for improved information access, quality and insight. 

For more information on Alameda County, visit:

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IBM Analytics: IBM Business Analytics & Optimization Press Kit, and You Tube: Analytics: How it Works

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