"Our previous IDU GUI project was on a development timeline of almost two years with a team of 4 developers. MITEM completed the project, and even went above and beyond the required functionality, in four months with only two people. With MITEM we saw it was possible to get advanced, fully integrated business solutions without a lengthy development time or tremendous cost."

Rick Beyer

Project Manager

USPS

 

508 Compliance

Section 508, an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act, was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.

Case-in-Point: United States Postal Service (USPS)

Summary: MITEM developed two payroll applications for the USPS, both of which had had to be in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, federal guidelines that help ensure the universal accessibility of applications for people with disabilities.  

These applications were developed as a part of a Postal Service "Shared Services" initiative which was aimed at cost reduction and containment. This reengineering effort includes technology upgrades of approximately 53 inter-facility processes to provide enhanced service to USPS employees, without adding more staff. With more than 800,000 employees, the USPS is the third largest employer in the U.S.

Integration Challenge

USPS has a single data processing center for all payroll and human resources systems. It's Accounting Services Center (ASC) processes various types of payroll adjustments for all employees. This operation uses multiple mainframe systems with a variety of payroll and human resources applications.  

Two new payroll adjustment processing applications were needed to upgrade older technology and streamline payroll business processes.  

USPS needed to renovate its Involuntary Deduction Unit (IDU) application used by 25 specialized data entry staff to process IDU requests. Its traditional 16-bit screenscraper. that accessed mainframe data needed for IDUs, could no longer accommodate the usability features USPS wanted to provide.  

The second project involved a Web application to handle USPS' payroll adjustment processing. With the traditional method, each of the thousands of USPS supervisors manually filled out a form, sent them via postal mail to a specialized payroll department, and they were keyed in and processed. If the form had an error, it bounced back, by postal mail, causing significant delays in employees' pay adjustments. The department handles 30,000 requests every two weeks and USPS wanted to leverage Internet technology to automate and streamline this process.

Solution

USPS selected MITEM's integration platform, MitemView, as a key component in developing and deploying both applications. It easily provides a seamless interface with the USPS mainframe payroll system, an IBM OS/390 mainframe.

For the IDU application, MITEM rewrote the GUI in Visual Basic, to provide a more adaptable, flexible programming environment for future growth. MITEM also added advanced usability features to enhance USPS' business processes such as a cleaner, more intuitive user interface and edit checks.

With MITEM's Web-based payroll adjustment application, supervisors fill out the complex forms in a secure browser, submit them, and maintain a feedback loop with the processing department to ensure timeliness and accuracy. MITEM not only duplicated, online, the complex process of accurately completing the form, but also built in an advanced communications layer so that if supervisors need assistance they can communicate with the payroll department to get the issue resolved before an inaccurate paycheck is issued.

Results

The USPS' IDU application has been live since mid-October 2001 and users report tremendous gains in processing speed. Tasks that used to take 30 seconds, now take less than one second.  

The payroll adjustment application is going live at the end of February 2002. The USPS expects it will greatly diminish the need for extensive manpower to manually process 30,000 forms every two weeks. USPS expects cost savings as well as greater efficiency in the payroll adjustment process.



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