Enterprise Application Development

Solutions our Clients Love

Crowell Solutions believes in creating software that our customers can rely on. We believe in creating solutions that fit their needs and are customized to the way they do business. Overall client satisfaction is what drives our development and management practices.  Click into the expandable sections below to learn more about our methodology and the various technology solutions we deliver, or tell us more about your upcoming project to get started now!

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Our Methodology

Principles for Custom Development

Leveraging Feedback

A big factor in creating successful solutions is the ability to know what the customer really needs. The ebb and flow of how a business operates presents a challenge to anyone creating solutions to accommodate a business's desire to be more efficient. There needs to be a direct channel for communication between developers and the customers.

A Flexible Plan for Action

The solution requirements typically change during the development cycle depending on what the client requires. Most businesses have a better picture of how they operate and how solutions can best fit their needs by 'test-driving' core functionality and making changes through feedback sessions. A big hurdle in traditional project management processes is the lack of flexibility when requirements are changing during the course of development. This is a primary reason why software often times have 'features' that don't exactly fit with the clients expectations. Crowell Solutions believes in implementing development processes that employ strategies that enable constant feedback from customers. This results in software that truly matches the requirements the clients have. That is why Crowell Solutions beleives in the Agile Methodology.

Agile Methods

Agile methodologies help provide ways that the development team can effectively develop solutions while taking into account the varying changes in requirements given by the customer. The agile methodologies facilitate a means to do this by employing some key tenets:

Determine core functionality

Software solutions are broken down into feature sets. These sets are developed and integrated continuously throughout the lifetime of the project. Initial functionality is determined and developed first in order to have an operating solution that clients can use and can be improved upon until the final release of the application.

Release functionality in managed time frames

Typically called 'sprints' or 'gates', a software application that is segregated into feature specific releases allow the customer the ability to observe the progress of the features released and fine-tune them. Crowell Solutions prefers 30-day feature releases so that they can be checked by the customer. Once feedback and final integrations are applied, these releases will then result in the final solution.

Collaborative development environments

The Crowell Solutions development process involves team collaboration through meetings that enable the development team to work in synch during the project life-cycle. Continual feedback and analysis of tasks in 'scrum' meetings help to maximize developer contribution and encourage creativity.

Content Management Solutions

Content Management Systems

  • Analysis
  • Customization of existing CMS Applications
  • Integration into existing systems
  • Expert level of knowledge with the following CMS Applications:
    • Alfresco
    • EMC Documentum
    • EMC X-Hive Docato
    • Sharepoint
    • Astoria
    • Siemens Team Center
    • Mark Logic
    • Others

Content Management Services

It has become a challenge for companies to effectively manage their ever-increasing amounts of information. Crowell Solutions has helped a variety of companies and industries with effectively storing, managing, finding and re-using their information.

We have expertience with a wide range of systems and solutions including: PTC/Arbortext CSDB, Documentum, Infortust/XHive AMDS, Alfresco, Astoria, and OpenText.

Information Management

Crowell Solutions has expertise in building (or integrating COTS tools) applications that allow our customers to share, interpret and find to the vast quantities of information that companies are now keeping in knowledge bases. Being able to find and retrieve relevant information is a big priority for most organizations; and we help them adopt knowledge-sharing standards, search strategies and text mining approaches.

Single-Source Publishing

The Crowell Solutions team has vast experience in developing single-source publishing systems. By using structured information standards (e.g. XML and SGML), we have been able to create systems that allow users to write their documentation once and then output it to many formats (HTML, Word, PDF, etc.) all from one XML source.

Content Re-use

Companies have a large volume of content available from current and legacy publications, old articles, and graphics. Crowell Solutions has helped our clients reuse and repurpose content. With our expertise in XML we can help our clients create multiple customized versions of documents based on reuse strategies.

Business Intelligence Solutions

Business Intelligence (BI)

Business Intelligence technology enables informed decision-making.

  • ETL Service - Extraction, Transformation and Loading of data
  • Dimensional Modeling
  • User Interface Development
  • Analytical Reporting

Informed Decision-Making Based on Data

Business Intelligence (BI) enables better decision-making based on facts. It enables your organization to acquire a clear understanding of market behavior and commercial context. There are common questions that most companies have:

  • What are the best selling products?
  • How does this quarter's sales compare with last quarter?
  • Where are the top sales dollars generated?
  • Who are the bottom 5 employees based on profitability?

These types of questions can be answered by providing a way for business data to be structured in a way to enable the retrieval of related information. Crowell Solutions enables organizations to use Business Intelligence technology offerings as a means to provide this type of intelligence capability.

Business Intelligence Architecture

Source Systems

Most companies have distributed stores of data pertaining to the respective departments. Sales departments typically have metrics related to sales and performance. Inventory warehouses deal with their own set of metrics in relation to physical products or assets. These differing sources of data make up the business intelligence landscape for the company.

Data Staging Area

The different source data that comprise the company's business information need to eventually be stored in a data warehouse. There is a process called Extract Transform and Load (ETL) that facilitates means of formatting data from different sources so that they can be loaded into a data warehouse structure.

Data Warehouse

The varying forms of data get stored in a Data Warehouse. The Data Warehouse is the structure that facilitates the main work of business intelligence - reporting and analysis. Bits of data are structured in a way to facilitate flexible matrices that ultimately can be configured to display data in multiple dimensions by utilizing the concept of Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). This concept provides a configurable structure to analyze data.

User Interface

The business intelligence analysis can materialize in several different ways. Web-based applications can display information dashboards that display information. The data can also be accessed through reports generated by report writers. Custom applications can also display this data as well and any type of Ad-Hoc Query tools.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

The most valuable information an organization has resides in the brains of its employees. Knowledge management provides a means of capturing, preserving, sharing and reusing that information. Inevitably each employee will retire, change jobs, win the lottery, or leave the organization for some other reason. Knowledge management allows your organization to continue functioning at the highest level even after key players leave. Preserving and managing knowledge is vital to an organization's ongoing success. Of the many technology advances taking place today, semantic technologies stand out for their orientation and promise. Semantic technologies make it possible for machines to draw many of the inferences that humans make every day and mostly take for granted. This means that semantic technologies provide the best mechanism today for knowledge management. While it may sound like magic or science fiction, semantic technologies are neither. What they are, in fact, is an ideal means of capturing and using the knowledge that companies routinely build up in their workforce and then lose as workers move on to other jobs or retire. The opportunity is two-fold:

  • Develop a knowledge base by capturing and retaining that knowledge.
  • Build upon it over time through normal growth and machine-based inferencing.

The primary means for achieving all this is through an ontology which captures a specific amount of knowledge of a domain. Ontologies can be submitted to a reasoner so that inferences may be drawn. Semantic technologies are built around the academic discipline of Description Logics and the collection of RDF/OWL standards from the W3C. That gives semantic technologies an unusually strong opportunity to make progress in the marketplace; academic research is rich and steadily contributing to the development of the field, while the standardization of the technology allows companies to build semantic solutions in confidence that their work will inter operate with other semantic tools. Semantic technologies can be used in a number of ways, each of which complement that others:

  • Integration
  • Enterprise Search
  • SCORM Learning Modules
  • Text Analytics Applications

At last, the many applications that use all the different kinds of knowledge represented in each of these find a common expression; companies can now build applications and processes that truly integrate these different areas and become the informational backbone of the enterprise.

Electronic Health Records

Health Information Technology

The passage of the 'American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009' provides the biggest impetus ever for the modernization of Health Information Technology (HIT) in the United States. It provides $17.2 Billion between 2009 and 2015 to health care providers for the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR); that $17.2 Billion is well-over 50% of the total amount provided in the bill for health care modernization.

The federal funding has a time-based incentive to it: health care providers will have to start modernizing their systems with EHR in 2011 in order to qualify for the maximum amount of funds available. With each passing year, the amount available diminishes until 2015 when it ceases altogether. Moreover, the modernization effort has a punitive side to it: starting in 2015, Medicare and Medicaid billings must be in EHR systems; if they are not, the biller will pay a penalty for *each* billing.

For individual physicians, the funding scenario looks like this:

Year Funding or Penalty
2011 $18,000.00
2012 $12,000.00
2013 $9,000.00
2014 $6,000.00
2015 $3,000.00
2016 1% Medicaid
2017 2% Medicaid
2018 and beyond 3% Medicaid

Table 1: Physician Funding Scenario, Full Compliance

Now, imagine that a physician doesn't get started implementing EHR until 2013. What happens? The last two year's of payments are lost:

Year Funding or Penalty
2011 $0.00
2012 $0.00
2013 $12,000.00
2014 $9,000.00
2015 $6,000.00
2016 1% Medicaid
2017 2% Medicaid
2018 and beyond 3% Medicaid

Table 2: Physician Funding Scenario, Partial Compliance

For hospitals the formula is more complicated, but the diminishing payout and increasing penalty schedule is the same.

So, the Federal government has set up a carrots and sticks approach: get modernized with EHR records sooner rather than later when there are more funds available; wait and you lose out on the money available; wait too long you begin paying penalties in 2015. This means quite simply that everyone, health care providers and software vendors alike, is under pressure to get EHR modernization started quickly.

HIT Technology Expertise

Crowell Solutions, Inc. offers expertise in three areas critical to the modernization of Health IT: interoperability, standards, and Electronic Health Records.

Interoperability refers to the ability of information systems to communicate within and between organizations. Developing inter-operable systems requires extensive knowledge of several areas. Facility in working with different application APIs is critically important. Experience is a key element in this because application APIs can be quirky and are seldom well documented. The ability to understand various kinds of data models, and how they relate to business requirements, is another key issue. Finally, understanding the optimal ways to have applications communicate with one another is an issue that has multiple levels: networking, services, and information exchange options, to name but a few. In some, the issues of interoperability are a prime reason why health information systems are not currently modernized, and so consist of the most difficult problems involved. The consults at Crowell solutions have many years' experience developing inter-operable systems that work within the real-world parameters of business.

Standards touch many parts of the overall HIT landscape. Many software companies, and many consulting companies as well, are comfortable only in the narrow space of their proprietary information system. They are not accustomed to working in a standardized environment. But standards are what make interoperability possible in the most general case. And working with standards to develop inter-operable systems requires a different mindset that traditional application development. The consultants at Crowell Solutions have many years experience working in standardized environments and understand how to solve problems using standards-based solutions.

EHR is the biggest goal of the health modernization effort. It offers the area of greatest potential cost savings because once captured electronically, health records become easier to maintain, use, share, and track than paper records. EHR is a step our health information system must take, and the time is now. But EHR involve specific requirements, like HIPPA compliance, that cannot be risked with inexperienced hands. The consultants at Crowell solutions have many years experience in building systems that comply to numerous government security regulations and provide confidence that customer records are safe and secure.

Crowell Solutions provides the following services:

  • Conversion from legacy data to modern EHR
  • Mapping data from one system to another
  • Application integration
  • System interoperability
  • Application, system, and network security
  • Standards compliance verification

A HIT Small-business Partner

Crowell provides an excellent partner for companies who need technical expertise in the ares noted above. In addition, as a small business, Crowell provides an added benefit to any company who also desires to benefit from contracting work to a small business.