The Queensland Department of Child Safety commissioned Microsoft to build an Integrated Client Management System (ICMS), which would replace its outdated legacy systems. Microsoft engaged the skills and resources of a full-time team of 45 Microsoft staff, Microsoft partners and Microsoft Consulting Services teams, complemented by approximately 100 government IT staff and sub contractors, engaged by Shared Information Solutions. Cody Middlebrook, as a Business Intelligence Solution Architect and Build Engineer, worked alongside Microsoft and the Queensland Government. In an interview, Cody Middlebrook discusses with Rajen Jani about the project.
The ICMS had to fulfill the following:
* Alignment with business practices and relevant legislation.
* An audit trail of any changes to information.
* Automated forms-based information entry.
* Decentralized information input.
* In-depth reporting tools.
* Intuitive workflows for staff.
* Real-time updates.
* Scalability and flexibility.
* Secure access to information for users across the department.
* Statewide access to information.
The ICMS system was built using the Microsoft® .NET development framework and was based on a variety of Microsoft server products and technologies.
RJ: The project team was huge. How was the workflow managed between such a large team?
CM: All source code was stored in a centralized, single repository. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server was used for this. So every developer could keep track of the build and could collaborate smoothly.
RJ: Which technologies did the team use to build the ICMS?
CM: The Microsoft .NET development framework was leveraged. On this framework, Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET 2005 was used to build the ICMS. Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN®) resources were used along with incorporation of process automation tools.
RJ: How were authorizations effected?
CM: The architecture relied on Windows Server® 2003 R2. This was given due protection by Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004, which prevented tampering or unwanted access. Permissions and user information was managed by Microsoft Authorizations Manager by using the integrated Active Directory® technology.
RJ: How did the team migrate the data from the old system to the new?
CM: About 1.7 million documents were migrated. We used Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2006 for this migration. The data was stored in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP1.
RJ: It must have been a unique experience to work with such a large team.
CM: Yes, indeed it was. My role was as the Lead Architect for the BI and the Build technologies. I have also been a lead developer throughout the solution.
RJ: How were the reports generated?
CM: Reporting Services 2005 was used as the main users reporting tool for developing over 150 reports from basic aggregated results to complex financial reports. C# .NET and ASP .NET were used to develop customised report viewer controls using C# and the Reporting Services API.
RJ: Did you write any custom assemblies?
CM: I wrote custom assemblies for reporting services, SQL Server 2005, Web Services, NUnit and custom Build Tasks. Custom assemblies were developed for SQL Server that exposed Visual Source Safe’s 2005 historic content as a dataset. This created a Gateway between the two systems and allowed Source Safe to be queried directly from SQL Server. This was a great solution to query Source Safes labels so that they could be checked against the dependencies tables. This allowed the Testing team via Reporting Services to see which reports were dependent on the releases changes.
RJ: What was your role in data management?
CM: In Data Warehouse and Data Transformation, I designed the warehouse Star and Snow Flake schemas.
RJ: What was your area of operation?
CM: I was asked to work on the BI and data mining of the data. I was to create the BI Cubes to help find trends in data that would alert if a child was in danger or at risk. I designed the BI to look for patterns in behaviour. When the percentage was high, it alerted the correct authority.
RJ: The algorithm must be sound to arrive at some logic for illogical human behaviour. Could you say which variables did you use? Like anger, depression, or violent behaviour?
CM: Well, patterns with certain ethnicity, age and demographic etc. Yes and also anger, violent behavior, repeatable offences, marriage and defacto relationships.
RJ: Very impressive. I am sure you must have not only enjoyed working but must have also learned a lot from the team.
CM: It was a top-notch team of developers and testers and so learning was always there. And I was very involved in the project and so I enjoyed every bit of it.
RJ: Thank you Cody for giving your time. It was a pleasure to interview you.
CM: Thank you Rajen.
The Queensland Department of Child Safety’s operations was extremely benefited by the ICMS solution as developed by the large Microsoft team. The contribution of Cody Middlebrook as the Business Intelligence Solution Architect and Build Engineer was highly applauded.
1. All the objectives of ICMS as stated by the department were fulfilled.
2. Workflows were streamlined.
3. Decision-making was improved.
4. Data entry was automated.
5. Child Safety Officers could now use a technology system that supported and followed their processes of work.
For images, technical drawings and further information:
1. Cody Middlebrook ( firstname.lastname@example.org )