US Border Patrol Achieves Higher Productivity and Lower Costs through Training Automation
The U.S. Border Patrol is the uniformed law enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Border Patrol provides trained officers to detect and prevent illegal immigration and smuggling of contraband across America’s borders. It trains approximately 8000 students per year at its Glynco, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina training facilities.
With over 40 training sessions per year, the U.S. Border Patrol wanted to migrate from a manual record keeping system to an online and secure database to streamline the training academy’s business processes. This required a system that could handle the entry of 10,000 to 12,000 new records per session. In addition, it was necessary to convert all session records from previous years into the secure database.
A vendor had previously been selected to develop customized software in Visual Basic, using Oracle as the required database. This approach meant that the software must be loaded on each computer used by the Border Patrol, and required extensive technical support to load and configure the software. After several problems during the final phase of the project, Envisage was hired to analyze the situation and to recommend the best long-term business solution. During our analysis, we discovered that the previous vendor used Microsoft Access® instead of Oracle® as the database. The U.S. Border Patrol then asked us to take the Visual Basic® system and convert it to Oracle. In the process of migrating the database from Access® to Oracle®, we found that the software didn’t work and that the Department of Justice had a nonstandard network. The client then asked Envisage to continue working on the project.
Envisage developed a solution through a phased methodology that actively involved the client throughout each step. Work products in each phase were approved before we proceeding to the next phase. Together, with the Border Patrol, we carefully analyzed the issues so we could define the business requirements. These requirements were based on a combination of existing business practices and anticipated class management system capabilities. Once the requirements were defined (and approved), we suggested a solution that would make the best use of available tools.
Re-engineer the system so it uses standard browser technology . The advantages of this approach are:
- Secure, centralized database
- Software and database run from network servers
- Standardized reporting (from site to site)
- Standardized business processes used to manage the academy
- Eliminates “technical experts” to install and configure hardware and software
- Eliminates the need to load software on each computer
Envisage developed a web-based training and assessment database utilizing Oracle®. The database provides secure data entry, and full search, report and update capabilities. The intranet portal is built to provide limited access to people who do not need it. Users need only a browser-enabled computer to access the system.
The result is higher productivity and reduced costs. The U.S. Border Patrol intranet has exceeded the client’s expectations. It is helping the client to:
- Streamline business processes
- Automate class management activities
- Improve productivity and save time
- Reduce paper flow
- Search and find requested data in real-time
- Create user-defined reports