Case Study: InnVision Shelter Network

Highlights

- Replaced an MS Access database with Salesforce
- Eliminated double data entry and paper files
- 50% time saved on completing program exit process

"Our case managers now have online access to their clients’ entire history. Everything our employee needs—from completed forms and progress reports to plans and notes—is available as soon as that client walks through the door. Case managers can easily look for patterns and serve the client more effectively based on their history and needs." ‐ Jennifer Ong, Former Director of Technology & Compliance, InnVision Shelter Network

Client Description

InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN) is one of the largest and most effective providers of shelter/housing and supportive services across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula. IVSN operates 18 major sites from San Jose to Daly City, providing emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing, along with a vast array of supportive resources to help clients secure a place to call home.

Challenges

Labor-intensive case management process
Paper case files were the norm at IVSN, as most forms, including those used for intake, were completed by hand. Reporting on the information from these files required case managers to fill out an Excel form and send it to another employee who would then enter the data into an Access database. This double data entry was time-consuming and inefficient. The process to review progress notes for clients was also inefficient—especially for 80% of IVSN’s staff, who are in the field—because employees had to physically track down the paper file that contained the relevant information.

Database modifications required the assistance of a consultant
The Access database that IVSN used to track client contact information and demographic data was outdated and inflexible. “We had to ask a consultant to update anything in the system,” said Jennifer Ong, Database Manager at InnVision Shelter Network. “This same person had to delete information if we made a mistake.” These limitations meant that staff tried to find workarounds for issues like duplicates, rather than engaging the assistance of a third party.

Rapid growth was not adequately supported by access
“We were growing pretty quickly as an agency in terms of new programs and information that we needed to track,” explained Jennifer. “We were worried that as we continued to get bigger, we would struggle to track all our data in Access.”

Solution

IVSN selected Exponent Partners’ chose Exponent Partners to build a custom case management solution on Salesforce. “We wanted a case management system that was going to be useful to our program directors, as well as our administrative staff.” IVSN decided to move its client intake, client exit information, progress notes and service plans onto Salesforce in order to eliminate paper files and double data entry, as well as to streamline various processes related to case management. “Thanks to Exponent Partners, the information that was previously in our paper case files is now available electronically, along with the questions that we need for reporting out to our funders.”

Results

Eliminated double data entry and paper files
“We use Salesforce for primary data capture; we no longer have a secondary step for data entry,” stated Jennifer. “The impact is noticeable not only in terms of the time we save, but also the paper and physical storage space we have eliminated.”

Enhanced tracking of individual clients’ complete information, history and related services 
According to Jennifer, “It has been very useful to be able to see the history of a client as they move through all our programs. Program directors, who never had access to our previous database, are especially excited that they can run reports on their own in Salesforce, even if they are working remotely.” Case managers are able to keep a more accurate tally of service categories by client, as well as leverage case management tools to set goals, create budgets and develop housing plans for clients.

Automated key processes
“The program exit process is now automated,” explained Jennifer. “With the click of a button, Salesforce automatically clones a client’s entry information and creates an exit assessment, which is then reviewed by staff. This automation has helped to reduce the number of steps in the exit process.”

Gained ability to add new programs or questions without the help of a consultant
“Now I can add a new program to the system by myself, whenever I want, and also delete duplicate information as needed,” said Jennifer. “We no longer rely on a third party to take care of these tasks.”

InnVision Shelter Network (IVSN) is one of the largest and most effective providers of shelter/housing and supportive services across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Peninsula. IVSN operates 18 major sites from San Jose to Daly City, providing emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing, along with a vast array of supportive resources to help clients secure a place to call home.

Challenges

Labor-intensive case management process
Paper case files were the norm at IVSN, as most forms, including those used for intake, were completed by hand. Reporting on the information from these files required case managers to fill out an Excel form and send it to another employee who would then enter the data into an Access database. This double data entry was time-consuming and inefficient. The process to review progress notes for clients was also inefficient—especially for 80% of IVSN’s staff, who are in the field—because employees had to physically track down the paper file that contained the relevant information.

Database modifications required the assistant of a consultant
The Access database that IVSN used to track client contact information and demographic data was outdated and inflexible. “We had to ask a consultant to update anything in the system,” said Jennifer Ong, Database Manager at InnVision Shelter Network. “This same person had to delete information if we made a mistake.” These limitations meant that staff tried to find workarounds for issues like duplicates, rather than engaging the assistance of a third party.

Rapid growth was not adequately supported by access 
“We were growing pretty quickly as an agency in terms of new programs and information that we needed to track,” explained Jennifer. “We were worried that as we continued to get bigger, we would struggle to track all our data in Access.”

Solution

IVSN selected Exponent Partners’ chose Exponent Partners to build a custom case management solution on Salesforce. “We wanted a case management system that was going to be useful to our program directors, as well as our administrative staff.” IVSN decided to move its client intake, client exit information, progress notes and service plans onto Salesforce in order to eliminate paper files and double data entry, as well as to streamline various processes related to case management. “Thanks to Exponent Partners, the information that was previously in our paper case files is now available electronically, along with the questions that we need for reporting out to our funders.”

Results

Eliminated double data entry and paper files
“We use Salesforce for primary data capture; we no longer have a secondary step for data entry,” stated Jennifer. “The impact is noticeable not only in terms of the time we save, but also the paper and physical storage space we have eliminated.”

Enhanced tracking of individual clients’ complete information, history, and related services
According to Jennifer, “It has been very useful to be able to see the history of a client as they move through all our programs. Program directors, who never had access to our previous database, are especially excited that they can run reports on their own in Salesforce, even if they are working remotely.” Case managers are able to keep a more accurate tally of service categories by client, as well as leverage case management tools to set goals, create budgets and develop housing plans for clients.

Automated key processes
“The program exit process is now automated,” explained Jennifer. “With the click of a button, Salesforce automatically clones a client’s entry information and creates an exit assessment, which is then reviewed by staff. This automation has helped to reduce the number of steps in the exit process.”

Gained ability to add new programs or questions without the help of a consultant
“Now I can add a new program to the system by myself, whenever I want, and also delete duplicate information as needed,” said Jennifer. “We no longer rely on a third party to take care of these tasks.”