Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MIDAS Demo Comments Continued

User One thing which is not clear to me in the MIDAS demos is whether the "user" in the demos is conceived of as the tech in the county office or the producer online.  Conceptually I think it works to have the same basic software available to both, but to make it work I think you need an elaborate upfront security apparatus so that producer A can't change (or maybe even view) data pertaining to producer B but the technician for the office serving producers A and B can do everything.  That means an extensive validation process behind the scenes to check whether the current user has authority to manipulate the data to which she is requesting access.

Organizational Changes  The last demo module, on Reporting, includes a visual showing 12 systems currently in place which would be replaced by the software being demoed. I suspect there are several organizational units in DC, and perhaps in KC, which are currently responsible for the systems.  At least there were in my day and although USDA and FSA don't update their online organizational data as they used to (the USDA organizational directory is 4 years old), I've enough faith in the inertia of bureaucracy to believe it's true today.

One of my problems with the current FSA website, which I may or may not have mentioned, is the hodge-podge of services available online under the "Online Services" tab.  I suspect that's because different siloswithin FSA were responsible for creating the individual options, without having one outfit coordinating.  The result for any producer who tried to make use of online services would be an unfriendly and awkward user experience. 

So I wonder how FSA is going to set up organizationally to handle software development and delivery of services online?

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