Case Study

Revitalizing Legacy Systems at one of North America’s largest cemeteries


The Overview

Services: Legacy Modernization, Oracle APEX Development

Solutions: Portal Creation, Dashboards, Reporting, UX/UX Enhancement

Industry: Funeral Services

Our client is one of North America’s largest and oldest cemeteries and serves as a tranquil resting place and a historical repository. Its complex operations, from burial arrangements, gravesite maintenance, record-keeping, compliance, and financial management to community engagement and customer service, relied on an outdated, legacy Lotus Notes system.

The Challenge

For over twenty years, our client was encumbered with the outdated Lotus Notes system, a structure that was now proving to be a hindrance. Installed on local servers, this obsolete technology had multiple issues: it was incompatible with modern devices and software, required constant specialized intervention for even simple data corrections, and exposed the organization to security vulnerabilities.

  • Obsolete Technology
  • Complex Maintenance
  • Poor Integration
  • Lack of Autonomy
  • Need for Enhanced Security
  • More Accessible Platform

The client’s departments, such as sales, operations, and accounting, were entangled in poorly integrated manual processes. This disjointed system often led to communication gaps, such as the sales team potentially selling a plot that was already reserved due to a lack of real-time information sharing. Moreover, there was a significant lack of autonomy for business users, where even trivial changes required the expertise of IT specialists, creating bottlenecks.

Furthermore, the system’s inability to prevent data manipulation and tampering was a significant concern, given the sensitive nature of the data managed. This lack of security and control could lead to unauthorized access to client records or untraceable changes to financial data. Additionally, the client’s desire for a more interactive and accessible platform was stymied by the old system’s limitations, inhibiting initiatives like online access to memorial services or grave site reservations. The pressing need for an overhaul was clear, as the organization sought to enhance efficiency, security, user control, and community engagement.

The Solution

A comprehensive overhaul was needed. Insum leveraged Oracle APEX to address each of the challenges and built a suite of applications that enhanced efficiency, security, user empowerment, and community engagement.

  1. Customer Portal: A public-facing portal now provides families and communities with essential information when needed. Parish employee involvement is no longer necessary at this level.
  2. Admin Application for Business User ManagementA key challenge was the dependency on specialists for routine tasks. An admin application was developed to address this issue, empowering business users to manage and configure workflows, notifications, and other operational aspects. This put the control back in the hands of the department heads, enabling them to tailor the system to their specific needs without technical intervention.
  3. Dashboards and Task Queues: Efficiency was greatly enhanced by introducing role-specific dashboards and task queues. Different users across the departments had immediate access to their relevant tasks, activities, and insights, streamlining the process of managing everything from sales inquiries to maintenance scheduling.
  4. Approvals and Notifications for Instant Visibility: By implementing a robust system of approvals and notifications, transparency and accountability were achieved throughout the task flows. Whether it was a request to reserve a plot or a notification about an upcoming memorial service, stakeholders had instant visibility into the status, contributing to a more responsive and engaged organization.
  5. Advanced Reporting Capabilities: The system was enriched with both Interactive Reports and APEX Office Print, providing dynamic and flexible reporting options. This allows for tailored insights that cater to various departmental needs, enhancing decision-making and strategic planning.
  6. Integrations with Existing Parish Systems: Recognizing the importance of a unified technology landscape, the solution included seamless integrations between all Parish systems, including Microsoft Dynamics for accounting. This ensured that data flowed smoothly between various components, such as updating financial records when a plot was sold or synchronizing operational schedules across the different departments.

The Technology Used

This solution included Oracle’s fully managed Autonomous Database (Autonomous Transaction Processing) and Oracle Application Express (APEX), Oracle’s Rapid Application Development platform.

The Autonomous Database is an optimal solution, ensuring data security for the client’s sensitive information while minimizing maintenance efforts thanks to its self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing capabilities.

The solution also leveraged 3rd party tools such as Flows for APEX and APEX Office Print.

The Results

The implementation of these transformations bolstered data quality, visibility, customer satisfaction, and operational autonomy:

  1. Improved Data QualityThe implemented system introduced robust validations at multiple stages, substantially enhancing data quality. Errors are now caught and corrected early in the process, and inaccuracies are significantly reduced. This improved efficiency and built confidence in the data being used for decision-making.
  2. Enhanced Visibility to Key DataThe solution improved visibility into critical data across all departments with dashboards and real-time reporting. This interdepartmental transparency fostered collaboration and alignment, enabling a more cohesive approach to managing cemetery operations.
  3. Elevated Customer SatisfactionThe Parish can now respond to customer requests much more quickly, thanks to the streamlined workflows and immediate notifications. Whether scheduling a visit or inquiring about a plot, families and community members experience a more attentive and responsive service, significantly improving customer satisfaction.
  4. Increased Autonomy of Business UsersThe dependency on IT specialists was reduced by creating a user-friendly admin application and providing business users with the tools to manage and configure their workflows. This autonomy allowed for more agile adaptations to changing needs, empowering staff to make decisions and implement changes without delay.
  5. Secure and Stable Platform: Utilizing the features of the Oracle Autonomous Database, the solution provides a secure and stable platform. Automated backups, patching, and security features ensured a resilient and reliable environment.

Overall, the solution implemented by Insum has set a benchmark for cemetery management, turning challenges into opportunities. Integrating modern technology and user-centered design has revitalized the Parish’s approach to its operations, making a meaningful impact on its internal processes and the community it serves. The success of this transformation stands as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration, underlining the positive change that can be achieved through thoughtful and strategic technology implementation.

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