Case Commons uses social media technology to keep people and relationships at the center of electronic social-welfare case management.


Frustrated with the counterproductive technology and linear process used by legacy systems to support case workers in social services, Case Commons sought to create a more intuitive and holistic case management system modeled on social networking to further their mission of better serving vulnerable families and children through the use of web-based software and tools.

Case Commons came to Pivotal to build a person- and family-centric experience that contextualizes the case in terms of relationships rather than isolating it from the larger social picture. This socially-based approach makes it possible to track individual children and families over time, interact visually with collected data and share insights within the user community.

With Case Commons, Pivotal prototyped and built software to replace an unwieldy legacy system, and then used what we learned to develop a system for the State of Indiana called Casebook, which state social services personnel began using in 2012.

Case Commons CEO, Kathleen Feely, believes only Pivotal could have gotten the organization to such a successful product launch. “I can’t imagine how we would have succeeded with anybody but Pivotal,” she says. “Building something this complicated in less than two years is amazing, and we did it at a fraction of the cost of a legacy system provider.”

“It’s very cool to have all the domain experts working together—developers, legacy system experts, product managers and UX designers. In addition to building the product, Pivotal helped us plan our strategic roadmap.”
Kathleen Feely, Case Commons CEO

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After designing a prototype for child welfare management at the county level, we built software to replace a client-server, legacy enterprise system that had become so cumbersome caseworkers avoided using it, preferring paper files instead. “Caseworkers were spending too much time fighting the legacy technology as opposed to helping families,” explains Josh Knowles of Pivotal. “We built a system that lets them focus on what’s important.” Determining the best way to migrate the mission-critical data in the legacy system to the new platform proved to be a central challenge. It took a great deal of coordination with the owner of the old system to ensure no essential information got lost in the conversion. The Casebook software is a success thanks to the discipline of a large development team. Pivotal and Case Commons engineers pair-programmed all day every day, using automated testing to iterate quickly and deploy with confidence in the product’s quality and performance.

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