Adopting the IBIS-PH Software
What is IBIS-PH? IBIS-PH is a set of open source software web applications that provide real time querying of SAS datasets, centralized management of health indicator profiles, as well as other content such as health topics and publications. The system is mostly data driven with all of the pages being dynamically created. Please see the What Is IBIS-PH page for more information that describes the technical aspects of IBIS-PH, the intended adopter audience, and some basic comparisons.
How Do We Adopt? In theory all that is needed is get the software, get some data, and put it together. However, it is far from that easy. Below are typically the steps that most adopters go through:
- Contact an existing adopter to confirm the software will meet their needs.
- Get high level management support and basic funding.
- Get a Support Contract with STG. This step is technically not needed but all adopters have gone this route.
- For those that want to do SAS queries procure the SAS software (if not already licensed).
- For those that want to do Health Topics contact an adopter that has similar topics which provides a starting point.
- For those that want to do Health Indicator Reports / Community Reports contact an adopter that has similar data and copy the DB tables which provides a starting point.
- Get with their IT department to get the appropriate networking and server(s) setup.
- Get the free, open source IBIS-PH software installed and configured.
- Hold shareholder meetings to determine what data and how they want the data presented.
- Get with their agencies webmaster to determine the web standards and department requirements.
- Implement site specific/adopter specified user interface for their website.
- Recruit data owners and data stewards to help administer data.
- Get some basic training on IBIS-PH and IT processes.
- Plan and procure the appropriate resources needed to maintain the data.
- Test, test, test.
Who is using IBIS-PH and where can I get real information about it? The IBIS-PH Community of Practice (this site) is open to, and welcomes anyone who is interested in the dissemination of health related data (even if you do not use or intend to use the IBIS-PH software). Please contact any of the adopting members so that you can be added to the list or if you'd simply like more information. Please see the list of adopters on the main IBIS-PH CoP Welcome page which you can link to and then can view their contact information page.
WHAT DOES IT COST? Collecting and displaying data on the web is considered an "enterprise endeavor" and involves much more than simply plugging a PC into a network and installing some software. The total cost of ownership consists of/is based on the following types of costs (these cost categories are typical for any web data presentation platform):
- Hard Costs - software licenses and computer hardware. For an IBIS-PH installation these costs range from free (if open source OS, open source web app server, open source database, no realtime SAS queries) to thousands per year (Microsoft OS, commercial web app server(s), commercial database server, SAS server for realtime dataset queries). The IBIS-PH software is free but if you want the SAS real time query capability you will need to purchase SAS. SAS costs are determined by the power of the server which is determined by the amount of data and the number of users performing concurrent queries (so desired responsiveness).
- Infrastructure Costs - IT and overhead. This includes all IT charge backs like server, network, IT support charge backs, office space etc.
- Soft Costs - labor to maintain content. The internal labor related costs (internal staff needed to maintain data, management of staff, training) are present in any organization that collects and provides access to their data. Most IBIS adopters have several data specialists (some more, others less) others rely on STG engineering support. These soft costs typically account for most of the total cost. These soft costs are present no matter which software and/or approach is being used to share and present an agencies data. For IBIS, the soft costs are dependent on:
- How many datasets are you wanting/ will need to be maintained?
- How often do those datasets need updating?
- Do you have other content like PDF publications that need to be on the site?
- Do you have secure datasets that require special approval processes?
- Do you have special webpage layouts or designs that are mandated by your organization that will require additional website development or modification?
- How much bureaucracy does your agency have concerning IT, web sites, and data?
SIMPLE HIGH SUPPORT COST ESTIMATES: If an adopter does not have the needed data stewards or personnel with available time to dedicate to implementing a website and maintaining data then the primary option is to contract with STG (see below) to get engineering support (note that these are all soft costs). Typically the up front, one time cost could be:
- General IT help and implementation: $10,000
- Look and feel development, site planning meetings etc: $10,000
- Implementing queryable datasets: $10,000 per queryable dataset (so 10 modules could be $100,000)
- $1,000 per static web page (so 10 webpages = $10,000)
- $5,000 per indicator profile (so 20 indicators could be $100,000).
Ongoing maintenance and support typically runs about $15,000 annually. This support usually consists of helping add new years to existing data, IT support, help/training, and minor website support. Costs can be much higher depending on the needs of the adopter (e.g. wanting STG to add more datasets and/or indicators - see rough cost estimates above). Capital costs can also be $0 if an adopter 100% manages their own website and content (but there is still an internal organization cost for the hours needed to maintain their content).
Software Development and Support
- Software support and development contracts are NOT required. To adopt and use the open source IBIS-PH software is free. An adopter is free to modify, deploy, and use the software as they see fit. Support contracts are often procured by an adopter so that an adopter does not have to incur the expense of employing specialized IT support to help with deployment, data organization, user interface modifications, and any customization.
- IBIS-PH uses simple web-based technology. However, IBIS-PH is an enterprise application that will involve collaborating with your I.T. support and networking staff. The web applications are best managed by someone with web development (HTML, XSLT, CSS), database and information technology system skills. The content is best managed by someone with knowledge of public health data. Data analysis skills and business rules surrounding use of, and the public release of public health data is also highly recommended.
- Adopter financial support is critical to the ongoing maintenance and development of the IBIS-PH software. Virtually all IBIS-PH adopter agencies purchase software support and contribute to the ongoing improvement of the software. It is recommended that each adopter commits to a minimum annual contribution of $30,000, which provides about 250 hours of support and development. For new adopters, the amount will be devoted primarily to installation and customization support, with more of the dollars going toward software maintenance and development over time. Most new adopters will procure more support hours initially to help get their datasets ready and to help with working through their agency's IT environment and requirements. If an adopter has a need for development of a particular feature, or requires additional I.T. support, additional dollars will be required. Any features developed for IBIS-PH will be integrated into the code base and shared with all community members.
- Software development and support contracts are available through Software Technology Group (STG), a private company in Salt Lake City, UT. The IBIS-PH community has built an excellent rapport with STG technical staff persons who work with IBIS-PH. STG has many years of experience with IBIS-PH and has demonstrated their passion for the project and enthusiasm for providing solutions in the best interests of the IBIS-PH community. Further, monthly conference calls with IBIS-PH development and support persons, Garth Braithwaite, Paul Leo, and Zhiwei Liu, are held to ensure transparency and communication with the IBIS-PH community.
BOTTOM LINE: The IBIS-PH software is free, has a number of great features that can be used to meet much of what a agency needs, and when compared to some solutions can be cheaper (both in capital costs and on going costs). IBIS-PH is not all things to all organizations - it is not even a 100% match for any of the existing adopters. Anytime an agency collects and shares data it will have significant "soft" costs (whether employing a 100% manual website, implementing a robust data warehouse solution, using IBIS, or putting your data into a cloud based commercial system). The IBIS-PH software aims to provide 80% of an adopter's data dissemination needs with the least total cost of ownership for those adopters who want to control and/or own their online data presence.