Important Updates from the Reporting Team

We’d like to share a few updates from the ICA MN Reporting Team:

The Fall in Minnesota: the leaves turn vibrant, the temperature brisk, the sun dips behind the horizon earlier each night… and here at ICA, we bundle up, click on our double monitors, then hunker down with a pot of coffee as we look toward the flurry of approaching HUD and state reporting deadlines.  That’s right, the Fall is our busiest time of year!

Given the regular uptick in reporting, we’ve developed a few practices to best manage expectations while remaining responsive to our community’s needs (that’s you!).

Our current queue for custom reports is (at minimum) 90 days.

We’re thrilled our queue is so long, as this means that our community is looking to HMIS data to inform their practice. However, it also means that we need your requests as early in your planning process as possible. If you say to yourself or your workgroup, or your boss, or your funder, “I wonder if we could use HMIS data to tell us X about the populations we serve?” or “It would be swell if we could track X as we develop this pilot project that we’d like to launch in 6 months!”, run, don’t walk, to your computer and submit a custom report request.

What happens when I submit a custom report request?

So glad you asked! While this process is agile and will be retooled along the way, here’s what you can expect from us:

  1. Within 15 business days, we will review your request, mock up a sketch of the report and the specifications. We’ll also provide, based on complexity, priority, and current queue, an estimated time for completion.
  2. We will send this to you to review, discuss if needed, then ask that you approve the design is what you envision.
  3. We’ll get to work building the report, including testing and documentation.

For ICA to meaningfully assess the scope of work involved, here’s what you should prepare when you submit a custom report request:

  1. Purpose, audience, date range, data elements, grant, CoC, or homeless program
  2. Preferred delivery date, and any relevant deadlines
  3. Report design: how do you envision  this report to look? Draw it out!

What if I want to do more with HMIS data to improve my program/monitor performance/understand the populations we serve, but I don’t know where to start?

So glad you asked! Here at ICA we want our community to look to HMIS as more than a mandated reporting tool, but as a valuable database that can inform our work. As our project capacity allows, we want to be at the table with you from the beginning, helping you to shape program and performance evaluation at the agency, program, and funder levels. This is why it is critical that we partner with you at all stages of your project.

Report Redesigns

You may notice some of our reports have gotten a makeover. While a new reporting tool is on the way (Qlik), the anticipated timeline has extended well into 2018. We have adapted our strategy accordingly, and are beginning to rebuild state homeless program reports, as well as others, in our current tool (ART). We welcome feedback on these reports.

In the coming months, you’ll notice changes in reports, their look and feel, and their attending documentation. This is a beta period for us; we’re going to try on a few approaches, and see what fits best.