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Low-Code Solution Delivers Highly Acclaimed Support for U.S. Army Families with Special Needs

47,246 Service members
59,326 Family members
12,662 Enrollments completed in 12 months
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The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) in the U.S. Department of Defense is a program that provides a variety of services to employees that have family members with special needs. After numerous complaints regarding a paper-based system, the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring proper support for these families when making permanent station moves.

BAM Technologies, a veteran-owned software development company, used OutSystems to accelerate the digitalization and modernization of the U.S. Army’s EFMP. The new software, that would have previously taken years to develop, was delivered in 6 months. Now families in the Army have the support they deserve.

  • App Modernization
  • Case Management
  • Customer Experience
  • Case Management
  • Mobile Applications
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Web Apps & Portals
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"Reuse of previous development prevents reinventing the wheel. But more than this, OutSystems gave us the speed needed to successfully fine-tune the user experience for this high-profile, user-centric project, which demanded successful engagement and feedback from very vocal service personnel and families."

George Barborak Managing Partner, BAM Technologies, LLC

A paper-based process with amnesia

For those concerned about the quality of life for armed forces personnel, a permanent change of station ("PCS") is a moment of truth. There's inevitable stress for service personnel and their families when uprooting loved ones to new locations. Moreover, this is often when service men and women are preoccupied with new roles and responsibilities.

For families with special needs—from asthma to autism or any number of health and educational support needs—moving to a new station is particularly stressful. It starts at the planning phase, as personnel deserve continuity of care for their loved ones.

Around nine percent of active-duty personnel have family members with special needs. They depend on EFMP to enroll for whatever support is needed to treat or manage their family member's condition.

However, the EFMP process had become a significant cause of dissatisfaction—even hopelessness—for service families in need. The lack of an integrated system, the reliance on paper-based registration, and disjointed manual processes, emails, and spreadsheet kludges had disastrous consequences:

  • An unsatisfactory, slow, user experience with no transparency
  • No performance metrics
  • A lack of service-level agreements and accountability
  • An inability to report case status—either individually or collectively
  • Energy and time wasted on chaser calls and complaints.

Moreover, it was as if the system had amnesia. With active-duty personnel typically facing a PCS every three years, families repeated the same excruciating form-filling and care justification every time they planned a move.

Based on these issues, the U.S. Congress served an improvement order on the DoD. Congress stipulated that the new system must have performance metrics, status transparency for users, and robust case management features.

"We listened to soldiers and families, and we took to heart their frustrations with the dated requirement to print out every form and take them physically to a new office with every move. This new system allows any EFMP user to securely access their information anywhere in the world, anytime, from a computer or a mobile device."

Member of the US Army

In the U.S. Army, 46,000 active-duty soldiers have around 55,000 family members enrolled in the EFMP. Responsibility for improving the program fell to the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division (known as "MWR"). This Division has a Quality-of-Life Task Force which led the Army’s EFMP improvement project.

By collaborating with peers across the U.S. armed services, the task force quickly realized that BAM Technologies, a veteran owned software development company, had already developed some best practices that could help them on their improvement journey.

Following demonstrations, the way forward for the Army became clear. BAM's existing cloud-based digital development practices could be quickly and economically tailored for the Army. Code reuse and rapid low-code development significantly sped up delivery, saving months of developers time and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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Why U.S. Army chose OutSystems:
  • speed-up-development-and-improve-agility-icon Speed-up development and improve agility
  • enterprise-grade-scalability-icon Enterprise-grade scalability and security
  • deliver-web-and-mobile-applications-icon Deliver web applications and portals

Listening to users calls for an agile approach

Given the passion for EFMP shown by service members and their families, the Quality-of-Life Task Force knew that input from soldiers and families was crucial for this project to succeed. So the task force conducted a roadshow visiting U.S. Army installations around the world, ensuring soldiers' voices were heard.

Using an agile scrum development approach with two-week sprints and daily meetings with Army stakeholders ensured user feedback remained a critical input throughout the project. Over 1,000 Army families participated in a 2021 pilot of the new system, which allowed them to test drive the improvements and offer feedback to the developers and program managers.

"Agile development was a crucial success factor for this project. It allowed us to continuously onboard ideas and improvement suggestions to arrive at an ideal solution. And the speed of development with OutSystems greatly assists that process. It shortens feedback loops, which inspires confidence and elicits even more good ideas."

Anthony Brammer Project Manager, BAM Technologies, LLC
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Bam Technologies, LLC (Partner)

BAM Technologies is a Veteran Owned Small Business providing modern software solutions on web and mobile platforms. We bring a simple, straightforward, and immediate solution by providing the highest...

Learn more about Bam Technologies, LLC (Partner)

Enterprise EFMP provides exceptional service to exceptional families

The U.S. Army launched the new digital platform called Enterprise EFMP in August 2022. The new system streamlines care for EFMP families, making enrollment, assignment coordination, and family support access easier by synchronizing all aspects of care. Features include:

  • Reactive web applications that work across all form factors, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Option to download as a progressive web app to mobile devices.
  • Easy-to-follow, save-as-you-go questionnaires that replaced complex, hard to follow paper-based application forms.
  • Integration with HR personnel systems such as the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) which allows it to pre-populate soldier data and minimizes the rekeying of data.
  • Two-factor military-grade security—hosted on Cloud Army impact level 5 infrastructure to secure personal and medical data.
  • Automated workflows and robust case management features that ensure fine-grained metrics that roll up to SLAs and management dashboards at all levels of the organization.
  • Knowledge management features, including multilingual help articles, discussion forums, enterprise search, and chatbot assistance to find relevant help articles.

Furthermore, the system is now Common Access Card (CAC) enabled and allows soldiers and their families e-signature capability.

Staying true to the commitment to keep listening to users, the system includes integrated support desk ticketing and feature request feedback, helping the Army to continuously improve the Enterprise EFMP system.

“Using OutSystems has made it easy to respond quickly to new information and requirements, enabling us to ensure that any necessary changes can be rapidly developed and pushed out. The intuitive interface, along with the ability to create reusable components, has helped not only with the speed of developing new features but also with making updates to existing features a breeze.”

Eric Patton Technical Lead, BAM Technologies LLC

Additionally, the Enterprise EFMP provides a searchable dashboard where Service Members can review care availability trends for specialty care services and providers at overseas locations. Soldiers and family members can also utilize a community forum to inquire about the quality and availability of care in the area they are considering or enroute to.

The amnesia of the old paper-based system has been consigned to history, as all information is captured in the secure GovCloud for easy future renewals.