Clark County Department of Family Services boosts its ROI to $10M

Using IBM Business Analytics to improve services, streamline processes and support funding claims

Published on 22-Dec-2011

Validated on 03 Jun 2013

"Although the ROI from our business analytics solution continues to increase beyond the already generated $10 million dollars, the real ROI is what it has meant for the Family Services Department. And that is that our staff can now devote more time going out into the community and provide services to families and children." - Eboni Washington, Supervisor, Clark County Nevada

Clark County Department of Family Services


Deployment country:
United States

BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud/Threats, Business-to-Business

IBM Business Partner:


Clark Country, Nevada is the nation’s 15th largest county, supporting more than 2 million residents and 42 million tourists a year. The Family Services department is one of its largest divisions, providing services to protect children through development of nurturing, stable families in collaboration with community providers.

Business need:
Continue to improve quality of services and outcomes for Family Services while addressing budget and funding pressures. Reduce the number of information systems and provide a single source for performance measurement, metrics and reporting to support critical decision-making. Expand self-service information access to improve productivity for IT and Family Services staff. Satisfy compliance for increased federal and state policies, regulations and legal requirements.

Executive support and collaboration across the business and IT to select the appropriate solution and prioritize the deployments to support the department’s demands. Breaking the project down into manageable phases to focus on department priorities, realize value quickly, and drive momentum. Clear dashboards and reports to make it accessible for non-IT users to drill down into data and make decisions – ensuring high adoption of the solution. Partnership with the implementation provider to enable a best-practices approach to translate business requirements to technical delivery.

New reports can be developed almost 55 percent faster than before, and no longer require support from the IT team.

Additional funds for the targeted case management not only improved services, but also prevented set layoffs and program cuts. Reallocated one IT FTE to another project within Clark County, attributable to streamlined IT processes and expanded self-service capabilities to the business. Improved outcomes, giving case workers and supervisors the information they needed to make better decisions. Simplified compliance and reporting, helping supervisors ensure that proper policies and procedures were followed in each case. Reduced errors by creating a single, accurate source of information

Case Study


In 2004, Clark County Department of Family Services was given responsibility for all child welfare, foster care and adoption services in the county. As part of a federal improvement plan for the State of Nevada, the department also needed to be able to comply with rigorous reporting requirements. To gain a true overview of performance and manage workload effectively, it would be necessary to unite data from numerous systems into a single source. With a growing population and an increasing case-load, the demand for easily accessible data became even more acute.

It was critical to find a solution that could extend the investment in the ERP and GIS applications, could scale quickly to support all functional areas, and included a broad range of capabilities for metrics, dashboards, reports, analysis, and self-service information access. A crucial element in this initiative would be to make the solution easy for non-technical users to work with – moving workload away from the central IT team and enabling different business areas to serve themselves with information.

Focus on Business Impact

After a rigorous selection process, Clark County decided to implement a business analytics solution that would provide a single source for all family services-related data. The purpose was to enable users to gain deeper insight into key operational areas such as intake, placement, investigations, permits, adoption, court visits, eligibility for funding, payments, recruitment and training.

Users within each of these operational areas can now answer the key questions that support their day-to-day decisions. For example, members of the intake team can instantly view key metrics such as how many referrals have been made on the child services hotline, how many of them need to be investigated, and how many can be ruled out. Almost 100 percent of these analyses are now handled by the departmental users themselves, with no need to ask for help from the IT team.

Business Value Outcomes

A Nucleus Research ROI study reveals that productivity improvements and enhanced insight into eligibility for funding have resulted in tangible ROI results of 245 percent within nine months, with an average annual net benefit of more than $4.3 million from the investment in IBM Business Analytics technologies.

Deeper Insight

Since the Nucleus ROI study was completed, accelerated ROI has already generated over $10 million in federal reimbursement funds for targeted case management for Clark County Family Services. By giving users across the organization faster and easier access to more accurate information, Clark County not only improved operational efficiencies – it has also been able to identify opportunities to gain additional funding.

Direct Benefits

  • New reports can be developed almost 55 percent faster than before, and no longer require support from the IT team.
  • One member of the IT team has now been redeployed to another department, reducing Family Services’ overall costs.

Indirect Benefits
  • Office productivity has increased, as staff can access information as and when they need it. Meanwhile, dashboards help supervisors save time on monitoring case-workers’ activities.
  • The department can gain a clearer view of which cases are eligible for additional state or federal grants, helping it collect millions of dollars worth of funding that previously would have gone unclaimed.
  • Case management has improved: with easy access to information about the processes and programs that affect each case, case-workers and supervisors can make better decisions.
  • The department has seen a clear improvement in the quality of service it provides for the welfare of children and adults in Clark County.

Solution Review

Clark County implemented a phased deployment of business analytics technologies to meet both immediate business needs and long-term goals. The initiative started with the creation of a project team that represented user across the whole organization, at every level from report-writers to senior executives. This team set the key objectives – implement the business analytics solution to deliver the required capabilities for metrics, dashboards, reporting, analysis and self-service information delivery. The solution would extend the investments in the SAP ERP and GIS applications, support and data warehouse architecture, and be architected for rapid, enterprise-wide deployments. PerformanceG2 was chosen to translate the wide range of business requirements into the business analytics solution.

The first phase of the implementation involved business-led prioritization. Creating scorecards and metrics with underlying OLAP cubes for the intake, placement and investigation teams were among the first objectives. These helped managers not only monitor performance more effectively but also drill down to investigate underlying root causes. Phase two built on the experience of the first phase. A change in emphasis at the senior management level led to an increased focus on creating a more comprehensive data warehouse. At phase completion, information access was extended to every functional area across the department. Business users had self-service access to information, and were able to develop reports for themselves without IT assistance. The development of the data warehouse supports data demands. Today, the culture has shifted and nearly 100 percent of the department’s reports are created and managed entirely by business users.

About PerformanceG2, Inc.

PerformanceG2, Inc. is a full-service performance management consultancy that can help organizations achieve breakthrough performance. It does this by offering a comprehensive package of performance management solutions, services and software including: business intelligence and business analytics, financial and data management, Cognos onsite and online training, consulting and staffing services, all delivered by a team of experienced consultants and award-winning trainers. PerformanceG2 is a Premier IBM Business Partner, and partners with the world’s leading software and service providers to ensure that its clients get maximum value from their IT investments.

About Nucleus Research

Nucleus Research provides investigative, case-based technology research and advisory services. Nucleus analysts investigate hundreds of deployments every year to deliver unique insight into the measurable value of technology. Founded in 2000, Nucleus Research is headquartered in Boston MA and provides services worldwide.

About IBM Business Analytics

IBM Business Analytics software delivers actionable insights decision-makers need to achieve better business performance. IBM offers a comprehensive, unified portfolio of business intelligence, predictive and advanced analytics, financial performance and strategy management, governance, risk and compliance and analytic applications.

With IBM software, companies can spot trends, patterns and anomalies, compare “what if” scenarios, predict potential threats and opportunities, identify and manage key business risks and plan, budget and forecast resources. With these deep analytic capabilities our customers around the world can better understand, anticipate and shape business outcomes.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows, Cognos Business Intelligence, Cognos PowerPlay

Operating system:

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011. IBM Corporation, Route 100, Somers, NY 10589. US Government Users Restricted Rights - Use, duplication or disclosure restricted by GSA ADP Schedule Contract with IBM Corp. Produced in the United States of America, December 2011. IBM, the IBM logo, and Cognos are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.