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Process Flow of Fund Management

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					            Current and Anticipated
              Information Needs




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                                      Table of Content
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3
Current Deficiencies in Hardware and Network ................................................................. 3
   DCR ................................................................................................................................ 3
      Computers ................................................................................................................... 3
      Servers......................................................................................................................... 3
   SWCD ............................................................................................................................. 4
      Computers ................................................................................................................... 4
      Servers......................................................................................................................... 5
Deficiencies and Needs for Improvement........................................................................... 5
   Fund Management .......................................................................................................... 7
   Recruiting ........................................................................................................................ 7
   Initial Contact and Data Gathering ................................................................................. 8
   Initial Contact: Other Issues........................................................................................... 9
   Conservation Planning and Toolkit .............................................................................. 10
   Approval and Implementation ...................................................................................... 12
   Payment and Bookkeeping ........................................................................................... 13
   Spot Check .................................................................................................................... 13
   Reporting....................................................................................................................... 14
   Mobile Office ................................................................................................................ 15
   Communication Between SWCDs................................................................................ 16
   Administrative............................................................................................................... 16




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Introduction
This part of the study delivers on the goals of discovering and documenting the
deficiencies in the current situation, and assessing current and future needs.

In the process of collecting information from the NRCS/USDA, DCR and SWCDs, CXI
learned a great deal of the current Ag BMP Cost-Share Tracking program and the
software provided by DCR to administer the regular and contractual practices. The
NRCS provides Toolkit software, which supplements the ability of SWCDs to complete
the DCR requirements in administering the Ag BMP Cost-Share Tracking program.

During visits to the different offices (NRCS, DCR, SWCDs) CXI documented the
existing baseline of the system and collected information that outlines the deficiencies in:
    o Infrastructure (servers, desktops)
    o Application (software and database)
    o The process

The first part of the document covers the hardware components in both DCR and the
SWCDs. The second section tackles the business processes and the software applications
simultaneously, mapping the current and future needs elicited from the Districts and DCR
to an analysis of the deficiencies in the current applications.




Current Deficiencies in Hardware and Network


DCR
Computers

DCR workstations are provided and maintained by VITA. No deficiencies are noted for
current desktop computers in DCR headquarters.

Servers

The DCRMETA operating system is outdated. The server still runs Windows 2000
Server. This outdated operating system will be difficult to integrate into another existing
or new environment. Another important point to consider is that the Microsoft Life Cycle
policy no longer provides Mainstream Support to Windows 2000 Server making the
operating system difficult to support.



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DCRMETA is a single server where Citrix MetaFrame XP, Ag BMP Cost-Share
Tracking software and MySQL operate. Development, testing and production
environments all reside on the same server. Disadvantages of this single-server
deployment include the following:
      Insufficient scalability – the server does not have the capability to handle growing
       amounts of work.
      No fail-over – the server does not have the capability to automatically switch-over
       to a redundant or stand-by computer server upon failure.
      Sophisticated management skills are required. With several different applications
       running on a single server, more sophisticated management skills and processes
       are necessary, such as change control to ensure that a change in one application
       does not negatively impact another, and capacity planning to make sure all
       applications have sufficient resources. As applications share a common server, it
       can also be harder to plan downtime for maintenance.
      Reliability & performance - User productivity is reduced due to slow, intermittent
       or no access.

DCRMETA runs an old version of Citrix MetaFrame XP. Features of the new Citrix
version which is Citrix Presentation Server will be beneficial to the growing needs of
users and would simplify administration of the server and management of desktops
centrally. There are over 150 features that broaden application compatibility, improve
usability, simplify access, strengthen application security, and enhance the end user
experience that are included in Citrix Presentation Server but are not available in the
current MetaFrame XP.



SWCD
Computers

SWCD computers vary in specifications among all 47 districts. There is no standard set
for a minimum required computer configuration for accessing the Ag BMP Cost-Share
Tracking software.

A selection of non-USDA collocated SWCDs still use dial-up for access to the Internet.

SWCD desktop computers function as workstations and servers.

There are no existing disaster recovery plans for computers on non-USDA collocated
SWCDs.




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Servers

SWCD has access to Citrix server at DCR via the internet. No deficiencies are noted.




Deficiencies and Needs for Improvement
The SWCDs provided a great deal of information through the surveys and interviews
about difficulties with the current process. They listed their needs for improvement in the
current applications functionality, as well as ideas for new functionality that could
improve their productivity. District managers and conservation technicians expressed the
desire to spend as much time in the field as possible, and many of the needs give them the
ability to do so.

At a very high level, the deficiencies and areas for improvement in the applications are:
     Redundant data entry, particularly for Districts with a high proportion of cover
       crops
     Linear, tabbed data entry flow is neither intuitive or efficient
     Conservation planning tools are separate
     Data usefulness in tracking BMP activity is very limited
     Quality assurance to validate data is time consuming and delays reporting for
       months
     The current data model is in non-normalized database format.

This section presents charts that organize needs by the stage of the business process they
address. The needs are mapped to an analysis of the deficiencies of the applications
serving the business process.

All of the suggestions are included. The purpose is to illustrate the needs that have been
presented, not to submit a final, validated set of requirements on which to begin
development. Thus, some of the suggestions included may not be feasible from a
development standpoint. Others may not be desirable from a business standpoint. They
will have to be researched further with a detailed requirements gathering project as part
of the Planning phase of a software development project. Those suggestions that CXI
identified as potentially problematic are notated with a (v), and are not included in the
solution until they can be validated.

This section is structured to follow the high level business process flow:
    Fund management                                   Conservation plan development
    Recruiting                                           & gathering of technical data
    Initial contact & data gathering                  Forms, ranking sheets and
                                                          checklists


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      Board presentation and approval                   Reporting
      BMP implementation                                Spot checks
      Cost share payment

In addition, there are a couple areas broken out to focus attention:
     Mobile office
     Administration
     Communication




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Fund Management
   Need                                                               Analysis of deficiencies
                  Ability to establish different funds, and           The current application does not provide
                  categories within those funds. For                  tracking of funds from DCR and other
                  example, BMP funds are broken into                  sources.
                  Priority, Contract and Base buckets, and
                                                                      Participant and even individual practices
                  there can be several TMDL funds                     can use funds from multiple sources.
                  managed by a SWCD.
                  Technical assistance may be taken from              Tracking cannot be done through the
                  each fund, and may need to be tracked               BMP but must be re-entered into other
                  either as a sub-category or separately              tools used by the districts.
                  Ability to restrict specific types of BMPs
                                                                      The ability to enter and track these funds
Fund Management




                  to specific funds, for instance,                    through one source would be easier.
                  Urban/Residential BMPs to TMDL
                  funds. (v)
                  Ability to assign money coming from
                  different fund buckets to a single BMP.
                  (split)
                  Ability for the SWCD to establish
                  priority among the funds and
                  automatically assign BMP to a fund (v)
                     Establishing the assignment hierarchy needs
                      to be administrated by the SWCD, and
                      changed whenever new fund types become
                      available.
                     Users should have the ability to override the
                      automatic assignment of a Fund.
                  Need to be able to apply interest and fees
                  to each fund source.

Recruiting
   Need                                                               Analysis of deficiencies
                  Ability to generate mailing lists from              Reports are not provided in the current
                  database                                            Ag BMP Cost Share application to help
                                                                      users generate mailing list for
Recruiting




                                                                      recruitment and other purposes.
                  Ability to generate customizable letters /
                  emails announcing the start of a new                SWCDs must compile their own
                  program year                                        database of participants and generate
                                                                      letters to announce new sign up periods..


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Initial Contact and Data Gathering
     Need                          Analysis of deficiencies
                                                      Procedure for data entry needs to not       The Ag BMP Cost-Share Tracking
                                                      require the user to jump back and forth     software consists of two separate
                                                      the between pages, but proceeds in a        programs, one for contractual (pink) and
                                                                                                  one for regular (green) programs. The
                                                      logical flow.
                                                                                                  two programs do not share data so data
                                                      Require data entry of participant data      must be entered into both systems. Also,
                                                      only once.                                  while dealing with much of the same
                                                                                                  information the procedures and systems
Initial & Con Plan Data Entry: Flow and Duplication




                                                                                                  do not behave the same intuitively or
                                                      Require data entry only once for ten or     offer the same features causing
                                                      more data elements associated with a        confusion
                                                      location, such as WQI, HEL, EI, map         The current data model is one extensive
                                                      name, watershed. Hydrologic unit, etc.      table for regular and another one for
                                                      Automatically populate historical data      contractual practices with a few
                                                      for annual recurring BMPs. Allow data       associated look up tables. Because of the
                                                      entry of new data over the pre-populated    non-normalized database format, there is
                                                      values, as needed.                          a great deal of duplication that exists for
                                                                                                  participants and locations with multiple
                                                      Show only the relevant fields for each
                                                                                                  practices i.e. the same participants and
                                                      BMP, incorporating the differences          locations are entered into the database
                                                      between regular, contract and               for each practice submitted.
                                                      residential/urban practices.
                                                      Ability to continually capture and update   The procedure is neither intuitive nor
                                                      data for contractual practices over the     well explained, requiring the user to
                                                                                                  jump back and forth between pages to
                                                      course of the span of the contract.
                                                                                                  get the desired results, such as CE factor.
                                                                                                  New users must be monitored for
                                                      Automatically generate the BMP              months before they’re familiar enough
                                                      lifespan.                                   with the system to produce accurate
                                                                                                  results.

                                                                                                  Historical data is available but is not
                                                                                                  useful in populating or serving as a
                                                                                                  reference when entering in new data.




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Initial Contact: Other Issues
     Need                                                       Analysis of deficiencies
                  Ability to generate a Letter Of Agency        Standard printable forms and documents
                  for participant approval, allowing access     are not provided in the current Ag BMP
                  to USDA information.                          Cost Share application

                  Ability to present simplified contract
                  containing participant identification data,
                  BMP installation and maintenance
                  obligations, and cost and payment
Initial Contact




                  estimate.
                  Ability to capture information on             There is limited ability to enter in other
                  voluntary practices, with voluntary           data important for state tracking of water
                  practices flagged. Allow more flexible        quality. Voluntary participants are still
                  rules on required fields, and explanation     required to provide complete
                  of level of compliance.                       information which some participants are
                                                                not willing to volunteer. Also other data
                                                                fields for volunteer/partial data are not
                                                                available, such as “reason for not
                                                                making spec” etc. Collecting this data
                                                                would be helpful for other programs
                                                                such as TMDL’s.
                  Ability to capture information on other       The current Ag BMP Cost share
                  practices outside of the Ag BMP Cost          Applications are not modular. They do
                  Share Program                                 not allow tracking other practices not
                                                                covered by the current applications.




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Conservation Planning and Toolkit

The state requires that a conservation plan be written for a BMP Cost-Share program.
For many SWCDs, the USDA Toolkit application is the only alternative in which to
develop a conservation plan. Though time consuming, Toolkit can adequately serve this
need, however, Districts find that performance is slow during peak hours, which is a
function of the USDA network. Also, some functionality present in ArcMap has been
stripped out. Further, duplicate data entry is required for all data elements. Some
Districts admit to re-using existing plans, or completing the conservation plan as the
final, not initial step of the process.

Some SWCDs have access to Terrain Navigator and / or ArcMap. There is still duplicate
data entry required for all data elements.

                                                                      Need                                       Analysis of deficiencies
                                                                      Ability to capture GIS data in the field   The amount of practices and different
                                                                      (see mobile office).                       statistics needed to be recorded for each
                                                                                                                 is confusing to track. Field users often
                                                                                                                 miss collecting certain statistics or spend
Conservation Plan / Technical Data Gathering / Fill Out Paper Forms




                                                                                                                 extra time typing up cheat sheets.
                                                                      Ability to overlay GIS data onto maps.
                                                                                                                 The variety of data needed for different
                                                                                                                 BMPs, and the variety of BMPs
                                                                      Ability to capture map data from           employed by different SWCDs, require a
                                                                      application such as ArcMap and import      robust solution allowing for diverse
                                                                                                                 methods of obtaining and saving field
                                                                      into the database.
                                                                                                                 data.
                                                                      Need to capture TMDL data not              There is no way to associate statistics
                                                                      included today, such as name of            (data elements) needed with practices.
                                                                      impaired water body, number of animals     Requirements change on which statistics
                                                                      excluded, type of animals, explanation     are required for each practice, making it
                                                                      of type and linear feet of exclusion.      difficult for Districts.
                                                                      Need to have each data element capture
                                                                      one piece of data only. For instance,      The fields for certain statistics can mean
                                                                      today data entered into Columns G and I    different things for different practices.
                                                                      represent different information for
                                                                      different practices and /or different
                                                                      SWCDs.
                                                                      Collect all data needed for supplemental
                                                                      required forms. (v)
                                                                      Collect all data needed for Cost-Share
                                                                      estimate, including the NRCS cost sheet.


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          Determine estimated cost. The
          calculation would vary by BMP. Allow
          ability to override any cost estimate. (v)
          Automatically generate a check list of       No functionality is provided in the
          necessary activities to be completed by      current Ag BMP Cost Share application
          the District for each BMP. Alternative:      to help users generate checklist or
                                                       manage the process.
          Ability to link to each supplemental
          document, to easily print / download
          when entering the application.
          Ability to check against both statewide      There is not enough error control to alert
          and district specific caps. Exceeding cap    the user to mistakes. If any mistakes are
          should trigger a warning. Allow caps to      made in data entry, discrepancies in the
                                                       quarterly reports result. Tracking down
          be overridden, with warning.
                                                       these discrepancies can take days for the
                                                       districts.
          Ability to import a finished conservation    Toolkit is a federal product which is
          plan into Toolkit.                           updated multiple times a year. Creating
                                                       a customized interface with the
                                                       application would require constant
                                                       adjustments to remain in-sync. The
                                                       NCRS is developing a plug in that would
          Ability to export map data from Toolkit.
Toolkit




                                                       allow other applications to interact with
                                                       the databases supplying the application.
                                                       However, there is no schedule date for
                                                       release, and programming specifications
                                                       and hardware requirements are not
                                                       available.




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Approval and Implementation
   Need                                                     Analysis of deficiencies
                Ability to select records by various        SWCDs may have in-house, non-
                criteria, and display a list with limited   standardized databases and spreadsheets.
Approval




                data and a check box for quick approval.    Any data saved at the district locations
                                                            must be exported from the Ag BMP
                Allow approval of less than 75% and for     Cost-Share Tracking software or
                more than $50,000. Allow override of        manually entered into an extensive Excel
                calculation of estimated payment.           spreadsheet or Access database.

                Automatically generate approval and         Users must open each practice record for
                denial letter / emails based on approval    approval, requiring a lot of time
                status and date from a customizable
                template.                                   Reports are not provided in the current
                                                            Ag BMP Cost Share application for
Implement BMP




                Automatically generate supplementary
                                                            ranking, Board presentation purposes.
                documents such as final specifications
                for BMP, including list of NRCS             Standard printable forms and documents
                components and requirements, cost           are not provided in the current Ag BMP
                estimate worksheet, tax Credit              Cost Share application
                Certificate, etc
                                                            While the $50k cap can be waived for a
                Ability to update estimated cost while
                                                            practice, the quarterly reports are not
                maintaining the original estimate as the
                                                            adjusted and will be inaccurate.
                implementation progresses.




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Payment and Bookkeeping
   Need                                                                                Analysis of deficiencies
                                            Ability to import and export data from     Data must be re-entered into financial
Payment: Duplicate Entry & Reconciliation



                                            QuickBooks and Quicken (used by 95%        management software, typically
                                            of Districts)                              QuickBooks or Quicken, maintained by
                                                                                       the SWCDs. Data includes participants’
                                            Automatically generate a Payment           personal information and approved
                                            Worksheet and customizable letter /        funding which is available in the BMP
                                                                                       but not easily exported.
                                            email to deliver to participant with
                                            payment.
                                                                                       Standard printable forms and documents
                                            Need to automatically generate the
                                                                                       are not provided in the current Ag BMP
                                            1099-G form. Standard in all districts.
                                                                                       Cost Share application.
                                            Need to only produce for total annual
                                            payments over $600.
                                                                                       Reports are not provided in the current
                                            Report to highlight variances between
                                                                                       Ag BMP Cost Share application
                                            QuickBooks/Quicken data and BMP
                                                                                       financial management purposes.
                                            Cost-Share for reconciliation


Spot Check
   Need                                                                                Analysis of deficiencies
                                            Automatically generate a random list of    Standard printable forms and documents
                                            potential spot checks based on lifespan    are not provided in the current Ag BMP
                                            of practice.                               Cost Share application.
                                            Automatically generate a letter / email
Spot Check




                                            informing the participant of the spot      Reports are not provided in the current
                                            check                                      Ag BMP Cost Share application for spot
                                                                                       check purposes
                                            After entering the status of the spot
                                            check, automatically generate a letter /
                                            email to the participant reporting the
                                            results.




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Reporting
   Need                                                       Analysis of deficiencies
            Users at the state level and district level       The canned reports are helpful to DCR,
            should be able to request reports                 but are not very useful to the districts.
            Query tool with the ability to select
                                                              Few reports are provided in the current
            records based on field based on various
                                                              Ag BMP Cost Share application.
            criteria and display a customizable set of
            fields.                                           Functionality to produce simple reports
            Need to be able to select on various              dynamically would be helpful.
            geographical criteria, such as farm,
            watershed, county, hydrologic unit, etc.
            Need to be able to select records based
            on criteria such as status, fund type, etc.
            Report module to develop reports.
            Specific reports mentioned:
               o   Practice Implementation Tracking:
Reporting




                   Which practices are about to be
                   completed in 30 days, 15 days, etc.
               o   SWCD Management: Show who has
                   worked on what in each quarter by
                   status, fund type, and date.
               o   BMP Status: Sort & total by approved,
                   pending, paid
               o   Budget report for local governments.
                   Select records based on fund type,
                   watershed.
               o   Participant Data: Print a map / report
                   detailing which fields qualify and which
                   do not.
               o   Board Presentation: Summary that may
                   include C/E factor or practice specific
                   ranking criteria, as determined by
                   District.
               o   Spot Check Tracking: Practices not
                   passing the spot check needing further
                   inspection




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Mobile Office
  Need                                                                                  Analysis of deficiencies
                                          Ability to access BMP Cost-Share              After collecting field notes information
                                          database and applications remotely on a       must be manually entered into the
                                          laptop for working from home.                 appropriate applications upon return to
                                                                                        the office.
                                          Ability to capture data in the field with a
                                          device to enter data into BMP Cost-           The amount of practices and different
Efficiencies Brought By A Mobile Office




                                                                                        statistics needed to be recorded for each
                                          Share database applications.
                                                                                        is confusing to track. Field users often
                                          Ability to capture data in the field with a   miss collecting certain statistics or spend
                                          device to collect GPS data and                extra time typing up cheat sheets or take
                                          measurements and other relevant data.         time collecting everything they can
                                          Note: The devices must be field worthy.       whether or not it’s needed for the
                                          Ability to record Con 6 notes, and have       practice involved.
                                          an electronic transcription.
                                                                                        The variety of data needed for different
                                          Ability to provide data back to the
                                                                                        BMPs, and the variety of BMPs
                                          farmer/participant from the field. If         employed by different SWCDs require a
                                          enter data on the spot, want to provide       robust solution allowing for diverse
                                          something back on the spot. Print out or      methods of obtaining and saving field
                                          send email.                                   data.
                                          Ability for participant to be able to start
                                          the application process on-line with web
                                          access to the application. Can be tied to
                                          individual SWCD websites and to the
                                          DCR site. (v)




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      Communication Between SWCDs
        Need                      Analysis of deficiencies
                                 Ability to share knowledge and field         There is no centralized repository for
                                 questions for troubleshooting.               Districts to share their own best
                                                                              management practices, research and
              Share Knowledge




                                 Ability to share outreach resources,         tools.
                                 advertisement materials and practices
                                 between districts.
                                 Ability to share common processes,
                                 documents, tools, practices and materials
                                 for field research.
                                 Ability to collect, approve and share
                                 secondary considerations (v)

      Administrative
        Need                                                                 Analysis of deficiencies
                                Ability for DCR staff to administer and      Changes to the statistics required for
                                manage the application for changes in        practices and adding practices need to be
                                practice requirements and data collection    performed by DBA or member of the IT
                                needs with minimal IT assistance.            staff, potentially causing delays while
                                                                             waiting for resources to be available.
                                Need for validation and error control on     Users can submit practices to DCR
                                data entry to alert the user to mistakes.    without having all the required fields
                                And avoid lots of QA.                        entered, or entered correctly.
More Efficient Administration




                                                                             There is not enough error control to alert
                                                                             the user to mistakes. If any mistakes
                                                                             occur, discrepancies in the quarterly
                                                                             reports result. Tracking down
                                                                             discrepancies takes days for the districts.

                                                                             Limited validation in the application
                                                                             causes a backlog of work for DCR. Data
                                                                             entered in the applications must be
                                                                             reviewed manually for missing or
                                                                             invalid data. This procedure ties up
                                                                             resources in the central office for
                                                                             months. Districts must also spend time
                                                                             confirming or correcting mistakes caught
                                                                             by the central office in data entry.
                                Allow access of historical practice data
                                gathered from 1985 to system cutover.




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