April 8, 2022
Posted by: DevDigital
No local or state government agency can be immune to the effects of natural disasters and cybercrime. They all use various planning tools and methodologies to prepare for these challenges, often using specialized emergency planning software. Back in the Spring of 2020, a popular nationwide provider of emergency planning software contacted DevDigital about doing creating a new and better version of their flagship product. Over time, as new user requirements emerged and the technology landscape changed their original software, which was almost 17 years old, needed a major update. DevDigital managed the design and development work, including migrating their data to MongoDB.
Background and Challenge
BOLDplanning, a Nashville company, is the leading developer of online software for Emergency Operations Planning, Continuity of Operations Planning, and Hazard Mitigation. The software walks planners in local and state government agencies through each step of emergency planning when the need arises, including during a pandemic.
More than 30 states use the software, which the company released in 2004. The software was in dire need of refreshing to leverage the benefits of today’s leading-edge technologies. Not only were there some requests from users to improve and modernize the look and feel, but security encryption and permissions have become more important. Standards and rules around things like data protection and accessibility have also evolved.
BOLDplanning named their new product BOLDdna to highlight its use as the very foundation for emergency and continuity of operations plans. The software needed various updates, but they had one major goal for the project – to make a flexible solution to meet customers’ individual needs more easily without significant development work. Key requirements for the new software included:
1. Flexibility, for the customer, the plan, and the business
2. Security, both internally and externally
3. Being future-facing to comply with such standards as HIPAA, NIST, SOC 1 and 2
4. Scalability with the business and with an organization
5. Simplicity, including an intuitive user interface
DevDigital’s team found a technical approach to delivering on those requirements.
The BOLDdna project kicked off in July of 2020. They chose DevDigital based on a suggestion from Stu Miller, current CEO of DevDigital. At the time, Stu was the CEO of BoldPlanning. He and DevDigital had a business relationship going back several years before the BOLDdna project
was even an idea. BOLDdna launched in September of 2021 as a cloud-based management tool using a MongoDB database.
The Challenge and the Solution
In emergencies, planning facilities are often disrupted and need to move away from their home base for a time. This means a cloud-based emergency management solution is a must. After several months of research, the development team concluded that MongoDB offered the greatest flexibility for this application design. The basis for the entire platform is an application programming interface (API) that allows authorized users to pull the data they need directly into a database, which opens the door to integrating multiple programs from different vendors into one application.
BOLDplanning’s software uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) microservices and MongoDB’s cloud structure that allows users to run the application anywhere, from a laptop to a data center. Various programming languages can be used with this setup, including ones that haven’t been dreamed of yet. This setup offers an unequaled ability to scale up as a customer adds users.
The DevDigital team designed their cloud-based platform from the ground up to be modular and open, resulting in ease of modifications as regulations and requirements change. The team achieved this goal by creating a solution with three main components: Elements, Sections, and Plans. The ability to create Elements gives the customer a great deal of freedom in capturing and sharing data across multiple plans without recreating all of the details separately. Sections are simply a combination of Elements presented in a specific way. Plans are combinations of Sections. Since organizations often need multiple Plans for different departments, the ability to drag and drop Sections into various Plans saves valuable time and money.
About DevDigital’s Custom Software Expertise
The BOLDdna project required extensive work with Amazon Web Services, MongoDB, and APIs to create a reliable and flexible planning tool that could meet the widest possible range of needs. DevDigital has extensive experience with enterprise-level software development projects involving both new and proven technologies and tools. If you have a big custom software project and need a skilled development team, contact us to see how we can help.