SNAP GAINS NATIONAL ACCLAIM FOR MAJOR DATABASE CONVERSION PROJECT
“We went from the 1990s to the 2020s almost overnight,” says SNAP MIS Coordinator Kathy Talley.
Nearly 30 years ago, SNAP was on the cutting-edge with a custom-built database software named Cap-SYS. Cap-SYS served SNAP well for over 20 years, but as SNAP services and technology grew and changed, the agency’s needs changed as well. In 2018, SNAP began planning for a database replacement, which was implemented at the end of last year.
After reviewing different vendors’ proposals for SNAP’s new database, the team overseeing the overhaul (affectionally called “Project Atlas) earnestly selected Salesforce/Provisio to lead SNAP into the next generation of technology. For over a year, Provisio worked closely with SNAP to build out programs that fit the agency’s unique needs.
Leading the helm from SNAP’s technology team is Kathy Talley. Talley worked closely with SNAP’s Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Lepinksi, to implement the new database, all while helping to prep the agency for remote work amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Talley and her team dedicated “thousands of hours” toward this project, but it was truly a passion project for the MIS coordinator.
“When I started at SNAP 10 years ago, my impetus was to get SNAP where it needs to be so we can be successful.” Talley said. “How can we leverage our IT bring us to our goals? This database overhaul is that project.”
Talley, Lepinksi, and the entire Project Atlas team were so adept at overseeing this database shift that Salesforce/Provisio invited SNAP to present our journey with this project at the national Salesforce conference, called Dreamforce. Last year, Dreamforce had over 171,000 registered attendees. This year, Talley represented SNAP leading a breakout room at the conference about SNAP’s database implementation.
This presentation highlighted SNAP as a nonprofit leader in implementing large-scale processes that can fundamentally change the technology and functionality of an agency.
“Other nonprofits might not be so fortunate to have the human assets that SNAP has,” says Talley. “We have great partners, board members, and leadership that ‘get it’ that enabled us to be successful. We wanted to share tools we learned with other agencies that may be starting with less support.”
Talley ably led SNAP through this database overhaul despite unforeseen challenges. The Coronavirus pandemic forced Talley and the Project Atlas team to alter training methods and rollout strategies to accommodate for a primarily digital workforce. This is a challenge Talley juggled, while preparing the agency for a remote work model.
“We only had a few weeks to create a mobile workforce,” says Talley. “We only had 10% mobile before the pandemic. Within a matter of weeks, we shifted at least 70% of our workforce mobile, all within the final stretch of the database conversion.”
Although Talley, Lepinksi, and the entire Project Atlas team are a model for database conversion, perhaps the most heartening and successful aspect of this team is its focus on client success. The Project Atlas team agonized over many serious client-forward questions.
“How do we use our technology to reach clients better and more efficiently?” Talley asks, “How do we make it easier for clients to access their services so they don’t have to take time off work and take three buses just to access service? How do we leverage ourselves in a way so we are contractually and legally compliant to serve them better? That’s what technology should do.”
As SNAP gained national acclaim for this critical conversion, Talley was able to impart these critical questions to a broad audience of nonprofit professionals. SNAP officially converted to the new database in early September, and will continue to grow and adapt as the year goes on.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Talley says. “But we have grown lightyears.”