Ready, set, go (repeatedly): the value of continuous deployment and innovation in ECIDS

At 3Si, we believe that speed matters—especially when it comes to delivering better outcomes for children and families. In the world of Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems (ECIDS), the importance of delivering results quickly cannot be overstated. We understand—from our daily work with our clients—the time-consuming processes that typically go into shaping or revising early childhood policies. They can take months, or even years, especially if states want to be systematically data-driven in reviewing and analyzing policies and programs.

The reality is that data-driven program development requires integrated data, and this integrated data is quite often simply not there for states to use in a meaningful way. And most ECIDS implementations that are aimed at providing states with consolidated, often cross-agency, data take years to complete. But, at 3Si, we think differently. Our model focuses on accelerated implementations that take less than a year, followed by continuous innovation and continuous deployment.

The cornerstones of 3Si’s approach are:

Achieve a Minimum Viable Product quickly: 3Si works with state agencies to implement a Minimum Viable Product (or MVP) of our ECIDS solution, CUSP, quickly – generally within a year. The CUSP MVP is designed to answer foundational questions about the demand for and supply of early childhood services and programs in a state or community. But 3Si and our partner states do not view CUSP as a one-shot implementation that remains static once the initial set up phase is complete.

Instead, we view CUSP as a dynamic solution that 3Si continues to enhance, expand, and support. This way, we strive to ensure that CUSP is relevant and effective and delivers ongoing—ideally increasing—value to our clients by addressing their data needs as they evolve over time and with more adoption and use. With the CUSP MVP, we establish a population base of all young children in a state, segmented by age and important household characteristics. Then, we account for children served by early childhood services and programs using states’ administrative data and other reliable program data sources. We also produce an unduplicated count of early childhood providers and estimate gaps in the reach and delivery of early childhood services and programs. Failing to prioritize this MVP foundation is often a missed opportunity for states because it limits the value, they can realistically extract from their ECIDS projects.

With CUSP, states get an ECIDS data platform that comes with our leading-edge interactive analytics and visualization tools that democratize CUSP data and outputs by making them easily findable and accessible for state agencies’ decisionmakers, program staff, researchers, and analysts, not just their technical staff. The result? Early user feedback, early insights on the use cases that can be addressed and those that remain to be addressed, for example, with more data or better-quality data, and an ECIDS that generates relevant, actionable data outputs and analyses that are usable by anyone who needs them in an organization.

Expand, evolve, innovate – continuously: Our continuous innovation model means that 3Si develops new features, capabilities, and improvements in an ongoing, iterative way to help our clients and the whole ECIDS Network enhance and evolve their CUSP solution. This is how we meet the ever-changing needs of state agencies and their early childhood partners. It means that we are committed to staying at the forefront of technology and early childhood sector trends and priority needs, driving improvements, developing new and innovative capabilities, and incorporating valuable feedback consistently.

Deploy seamlessly and continuously, without unnecessary downtime. 3Si’s model of continuous deployment, also known as continuous delivery, is a software development and release strategy in which changes to a product or system—such as new features, enhancements, and updates—are released seamlessly and regularly in small, frequent batches.

In other words, instead of infrequent and large-scale releases, we adopt a frequent, incremental approach with CUSP. As soon as a new improvement or update is ready, we test it rigorously and then deploy across all CUSP implementations in the ECIDS Network. Our model minimizes downtime, reduces the risk of errors, and ensures that our solution deployed in client environments is always equipped with the latest innovation, capabilities, and improvements. With this approach, we enable our clients and partners to stay on the cutting edge of early childhood data management and use.

3Si’s proven strategy of ongoing innovation, development, and deployment helps us deliver value to our clients more quickly and effectively. It also helps states stay nimble and react quickly to changing market conditions in the early childhood space. In the world of ECIDS, the needs and requirements of our clients are constantly evolving, and organizations that can adapt quickly are more likely to succeed. By releasing improvements on a regular basis, our clients can stay ahead of the curve and respond more effectively to changes in the market.

Interested in learning more about our work? Connect with us here.