Extending SugarCRM for Building Large Scale Federal Level Application

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The goal of the United States Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work (TTW) program is to aid persons with disabilities to find, obtain, and maintain employment such that these individuals can rely less on federal cash assistance. The TTW program relies on thousands of case workers (called Employment Networks (ENs)) across the U.S. to provide employment services to people with disabilities. Several administrative inefficiencies have been noted in the TTW program that make it difficult for ENs to become financially sustainable and successful in the program.

In September 2009 the Kay Center for E-Health Research at Claremont Graduate University engaged in a research project to identify potential process improvements and administrative enhancements. Their findings included the need for a web-based solution to help ENs with beneficiary case management, employment tracking, and determination of program milestones, outcomes payments, and reports.

As such, a web-based solution has been proposed to assist Employment Networks (ENs) become:
1) successful in servicing their clients (people with disabilities seeking jobs), and
2) become financially viable and sustainable.

The proposed system may potentially serve several thousand ENs and close to 10 Million beneficiaries across the U.S. and will be implemented with a wide range of ENs over the next 2 years.

The Kay Center of E-Health Research has selected the SugarCRM platform, as well as BIRT reporting, upon which to build this web-based tool. A CRM solution suits many of the functions needed for ENs to serve their clients with disabilities. However, several additional customized modules were required to be built from scratch to support SSA TTW program specific functionality. SugarCRM has been extended to support disability related rules, EN payment tracking, recording of job earnings, and tracking program milestones. These modules are supported by workflow and business rules to automate determination of government program checkpoints and payment submission notifications. The alpha version has been completed and a pilot test is scheduled during the first half of 2011.

This implementation demonstrates robustness and maturity of SugarCRM as a platform where SugarCRM is used to develop applications that extend beyond CRM processes. Stakeholders at the Kay Center will be glad to showcase the implementation with OSSCube as a successful case study.

Photo of Benjamin Schooley, MBA, Ph.D.

Benjamin Schooley, MBA, Ph.D.

Claremont Graduate University

Dr. Schooley is a Research Fellow and Faculty member at the Kay Center for eHealth Research, School of Information Systems and Technology, Claremont Graduate University. His experience spans both academia and industry and has focused on designing and evaluating software systems for use in multi-organizational public-private e-government environments. His recent innovations for multi-agency emergency medical response and his work with the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Transportation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, private foundations, and industry partners. Leveraging open source has been a key focal point in each of these endeavors. He has presented and published over 50 technical reports, white papers, and research articles on these topics.

Sue Feldman, RN, MEd, PhD

The Kay Center for E Health, Claremont Graduate University

Sue Feldman, RN, MEd, PhD – Affiliate/Expert in Health Informatics & Educational Technologies; Claremont Graduate University

Sue S. Feldman, RN, MEd, PhD is the Assistant Director of the Kay Center for E-Health Research at Claremont Graduate University (www. kaycenter.org). She has clinical, practical, and analytical expertise in health information systems analysis, design, and training. Her primary research efforts are in the use of information systems in the continuum of disability health management and services. She led three nationally publicized case studies about utilization of the Nationwide Health Information Network for the transmission of electronic health record information in the Social Security Administration disability determination process and co-led system, program, and policy analysis for the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India. She is currently involved in designing and pilot testing a system for assisting those with disabilities to obtain and sustain employment. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing and is on the site visitation panel for the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Dr. Feldman’s work has been published in several top-tier national and international journals, used during a White House presentation, and was the 2010 Student Research Award recipient for the American Public Health Association’s Disability Division and the 2011 Scholarship Award recipient for Southern California HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society). Dr. Feldman can be reached by email at sue.feldman@cgu.edu.

Photo of Vineet Agrawal

Vineet Agrawal


Vineet is cofounder of OSSCube is currently accountable for building Alliances and open source community. Vineet is a serial entrepreneur and OSSCube is his 5th venture. Vineet’s passion to promote Open Source led to foundation of OSScamp – India’s largest unconference on open source.

Vineet regularly speaks in conferences and meet-ups. Vineet has worked closely with PHP since 1999.

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Rakesh Kumar
07/28/2011 7:17pm PDT

nice article.