People With Disability

pwd_250x150People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWD) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation. Their primary membership is made up of people with disability and organisations primarily constituted by people with disability. PWD also has a large associate membership of other individuals and organisations committed to the disability rights movement. Founded in 1981, People with Disability Australia seeks to provide people with disability with a voice of their own. They have a cross-disability focus representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability. Their purpose is to be a leading disability rights, advocacy and representative organisation of and for all people with disability, which strives for the realisation of their vision of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community. PWD is a non-profit, non-government organisation. People with Disability (PWD) provide telephone support services under a government program. They need software that combines a “Call Centre”, a “Help Desk” and a “Case Manager”. Each of these give us opportunity to enter new markets. They have strict record keeping obligations and comprehensive reporting requirements. The system must meet these needs in a functional way (document output). This means that the security/access model is complex. There are many different levels of access (data entry, case manager, govt reports, civil legal, criminal legal, etc). Being able to show that we can meet state and federal government requirements for data security is essential for large legal, health, education and commercial clients. Most business’ have a homogenous model relationship with clients/suppliers. PWD must track a large, heterogenous set of relationships over time. The people and organisations can shift roles and interact in complex ways. eg, a person (x) may make a complaint against an case worker who has been assisting them. The case worker is now (a) involved in two cases, (b) on the side of x in the first case and on the other side in the second case (c) active in second case but no longer active in the first case. Having developed the methods to flexibly manage such complex interactions we now have the ability to meet all foreseeable design challenges.

• The objectives of the company are to establish ongoing commercial relationships with large stable organisations so that we ensure our revenues are based on committed contracts over the mid-term.

• The objectives of the company are to develop products suitable for sale so that we can recoup and maximise the time and effort involved in development. The PWD project provides a basis for at least three separate tools: Incoming Calls (Service based or Emergency); Case Management; Help Desk (technical or self help).

• The challenges inherent in this project are: complexity, security, accountability. Meeting these challenges provides the bona fides needed to approach large organisations at their level. We can talk security, scale, flexibility, and change knowing that we have the skills and the tools at our disposal. The project aligns with our strategic business objectives – that of providing innovative systems to help businesses work smarter.

The primary objectives were to create methods for data storage and retrieval which were adequate to describe all parties, individual and corporate; track all documents, communications, etc; and to meet all legal obligations for service provision and accountability. All objects had to be temporally defined to ensure documents were historically accurate.

• The technical objects were then defined by the software development environment specified by the client.

• The application was to be built using FileMaker Pro v11, a client/server database.

• The technical objects were then threefold: i. Define methods that enable fully normalised data sets to be generated and to then allow data from any individual entity to be associated with multiple roles, multiple places, multiple responsibilities. ii.Define methods that provided temporal (date based) record keeping across multiple relationships. iii. Meet the access/security requirements at all levels. User Interface, Data Storage, Raw data formats, Email, Printed/PDF documents, Reports to government, Reports to Police, Reports to Legal teams. Methods for describing complex data patterns are available in the literature (Silverston, The Data Model Resource Book v1, v2 and v3). Temporal data models are also described in the literature (Snodgrass, Developing Time-Oriented Database Applications in SQL). The standard environment for complex database applications in theoretical and practical usage is SQL compliant systems. The patterns described in the literature are useful insofar are the software environment is able to match the theoretical assumptions of the text. FileMaker Pro is not SQL compliant and the design patterns and methods are only theoretical equivalent. The technical challenge is to develop methods for achieving our goals using definition within the data schema alone. It is possible to do this going outside the data schema (using scripted actions) but the security and data integrity is then reliant on the user interface. It is only possible to ensure full data integrity if a solution can be found entirely within the data schema. We are unable to discover any literature that describes this work. It’s our opinion that the lack of literature reflects the commercial environment in which it is developed. We have succeeded in developing methods for generating data and generating reliable relational schemas entirely within the data scheme using methods that are native to the FileMaker Pro software environment. The methods that we have developed enable us to bring complex design patterns, typical of large commercial applications based on SQL methods, into the FileMaker Pro software.

The design methods that we developed can be transferred into any products or projects that we manage. A typical scenario is that we are approached by an organisation that is using an existing application designed in FileMaker Pro. The design methods are only suitable for small scale data sets or for limited application. We are able to implement proven design patterns suitable for large scale and complex applications within the FileMaker Pro software environment.

PWD remain a valued client of the FMStudio.