CATEGORY: Analytic Applications and Performance Management

REVIEWER: Rick Minicucci, CTO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

BACKGROUND: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1984 by an act of Congress. In cooperation with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice, NCMEC has aided law enforcement officials in the search for more than 86,000 missing children, and its 24x7 hotline and missingkids.com Web site takes in new cases and leads. Additionally, NCMEC works with local and federal law enforcement. NCMEC has helped recover more than 68,900 children and has raised its recovery rate from 60 percent in the 1980s to more than 93 percent today. Technology has played one of the most important roles in this increase.

PLATFORMS: The CleverPath software runs on Windows 2000 and connects to a variety of diverse data sources housed on both Windows and Solaris systems.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With children's safety at stake, we needed a solution that would help us do our jobs faster and more efficiently without sacrificing accuracy. We also wanted a solution that could help us analyze our historical records and identify patterns of child abuse and abduction. Additionally, we had integration challenges. NCMEC needed to streamline and standardize information access across a multitude of paper-based and online systems, including memos, newsletters, government and private databases, electronic bulletin boards, home-grown and third-party applications, e-mail and instant messaging. By implementing a CleverPath-based solution, employees now have one interface to all data sources. The software ensures current and accurate information and also allows for individual customization.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Our Case Analysis Dashboard provides instant access to the most up-to-date information, giving our internal caseworkers the ability to access this information directly through the dashboard. Law enforcement agencies, parents and other interested parties can also access the same data through our Web site. In the past, our most current information was delivered via weekly or monthly reports that were often obsolete before people had a chance to review them. In an environment like ours, access to the most current information is absolutely a critical requirement; every minute lost can mean the difference between life or death for a child. CleverPath allows us to quickly identify information about the specific case and similar cases, providing crucial data about likely subjects and patterns. We expect to develop further analysis to determine why children of a certain ethnic background are abducted or areas where most children are abducted from and the recovery rate. We hope that this will allow us to protect more children and prevent future crimes.

STRENGTHS: The time-to- value of the CleverPath solutions is amazingly fast. Because NCMEC's Case Analysis Dashboard was created in less than two weeks and required almost no user training, we were productive with it almost immediately. Also, the flexibility to design the interface for each user's needs, whether it's case- specific information for our case workers or summary information for law enforcement agencies, has helped improve our efficiency and time-to- recovery.

WEAKNESSES: The breadth of the CleverPath product line can cause problems when prioritizing implementation plans. For example, we chose to implement the Dashboard option first, but the Collaboration option was a strong contender because agencies and departments need to work together closely to recover children faster.

SELECTION CRITERIA: NCMEC chose CleverPath because of the speed of implementation; the openness and integration with data sources, systems and applications; and the flexibility and customization capabilities of the user interface.

DELIVERABLES: The Case Analysis Dashboard created by the CleverPath Dashboard Option provides improved time-to-recovery by enabling NCMEC's internal and external customers to view and retrieve missing child information in easy-to-understand formats accessible through any Web browser, mobile phone or wireless PDA.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The Computer Associates team was extremely knowledgeable. In addition to helping us design a system to best meet our current requirements, they contributed excellent ideas to help us plan for future growth and implement a long-term strategy.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for CleverPath is complete and easy to use, especially the online context-sensitive help. We have found that we rarely refer to the full product manuals provided on the installation CD because the help is so comprehensive.

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