Effective technology assessments involve a learn-first approach. Developing a deep understanding of an organization’s products, services, and culture generally allows the best course of action to emerge during the assessment itself. Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), a not-for-profit school specializing in teaching hearing impaired children to speak, needed to replace its existing custom developed software application to record audiology, attendance, and speech assessment test data. CID engaged TDK Technologies to conduct a full spectrum analysis and recommend a solution.
Technologies Used
Data Warehouse
Affinity Mapping
Story Mapping
Contextual Inquiry
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CID was founded in 1914 with a mission to teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen, talk, read and succeed. It was the first fully dedicated auditory-oral school for children with hearing loss in the U.S.  CID partners with families and collaborates with universities, educators and other professionals worldwide to help children communicate to achieve their fullest potential.

CID was seeking a technology solution which could address current operations, research requirements, and integrate with external partners. To achieve this objective, TDK performed a full evaluation of the current systems, processes, and gaps utilizing interview, observation, and brainstorming sessions. Those sessions included meetings with audiologists, teachers, administrators, and CID Board members to learn the terminology, processes and culture of the organization.

The front-end learning greatly enhanced TDK’s analysis of the software options available to CID. Those options included commercial applications that CID had identified, enhancements to the existing custom-developed system, new custom development, and combinations of custom and commercial solutions. The commercial solutions were evaluated using research, demonstration and trials. The existing code was deployed at TDK, where it was evaluated by TDK developers. In addition, the team analyzed all the options based on the potential for limited funding; considering potential benefits and value to CID’s processes.

The team utilized regular touch points with CID during the assessment. These frequent conversations kept the project on track, with regular dialogue about ongoing developments or discoveries that emerged. This iterative approach was important to a seamless final delivery of recommendations; one that coupled TDK’s technical expertise with a deep understanding of CID’s needs and culture.

Ultimately, TDK recommended a solution which integrated a commercial application for audiology, a visual application development environment enhanced with TDK custom code for attendance and assessments, and a data warehouse via custom development to bind them together. Those integrations involve combining locally hosted Filemaker data with web hosted data via a REST API and storing it in a cloud-based data warehouse. External partners are integrated to the warehouse via a REST API.

TDK then provided cost and effort estimates for the recommendations to assist CID in obtaining grant funding for the recommended solution. The completed technology assessment provided great value to CID and they engaged TDK to begin implementing the recommendations.

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