Initially conceived as an opportunity for state public safety training academies to share information on training management practices, the Acadis Readiness Summit in Edneyville, N.C., bloomed into an event of national significance in its field.
Dana Phillips, Deputy Director of the North Carolina Justice Academy, suggested the event as a means to engage other users of the Acadis Readiness Suite, developed by Envisage Technologies, in conversations about how different agencies use the software to streamline their training and compliance operations.
Phillips discussed his idea with Envisage, and the result was the inaugural Acadis Readiness Summit held April 15-18. Leaders from federal, state, and local government agencies attended, representing the gamut of public safety fields, including corrections, criminal justice, emergency management, fire service, homeland security, and law enforcement.
During keynote remarks, Envisage Founder and CEO Ari Vidali highlighted the similarity of mission needs and of challenges the agencies face that brought them together.
“There are 20 different modules in Acadis that were built by a disciplined and deep collaboration between agencies that may not normally work together,” he said. “Having federal, state, and local government agencies here designing the future together in this way is unprecedented.”
Envisage developed Acadis to fill a void in the marketplace for a training and compliance solution built to address the unique and critical needs of public safety. As a result of this approach, Acadis has grown to serve the largest public safety user base in the U.S. among training management software, utilized by 9,800 individual departments and 1.7 million public safety personnel.
NCJA Director Trevor Allen and Deputy Director Phillips said the Readiness Summit exceeded their expectations from beginning to end, with an impressive group of participants from all levels of government sharing their knowledge and experiences, and planning to work together more deeply in future.
One of the ways in which agency attendees shared information was through presentations followed by Q&A sessions. The following Acadis training sessions were presented by representatives of the Colorado POST, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Protective Service, Indiana State Police, North Carolina Justice Academy, Ohio State Fire Marshal, and Utah POST:
- Experiences with Online Training
- Monitoring Compliance
- Building Consistency in Course Registrations
- Instructor Scheduling: Assignment Acceptance and Exchange® Integration
- Streamlining Compliance and Blended Learning Strategy
- Career Roles
- Panel Discussion on the Impact of Acadis
In a retrospective session at the end of the Summit, participants reported they had learned about each other’s challenges, and solutions to the challenges they faced. They also said they discovered that their agencies are more similar in their use of Acadis than they had thought, and despite differing terminology, their agencies perform many similar functions and can share information and learn from each other’s experiences.
The Readiness Summit was nationally significant not only because it attracted agencies from all parts of the country to discuss problems and solutions they share, but also because it set them on a path toward working together to ensure the readiness of personnel serving all public safety functions in cities, states, and the nation. Acadis customers from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies joined those from state and local governments as geographically dispersed as the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training, Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee, South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training, Washington State Criminal Justice Academy and Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, among others. Many of the attendees met for the first time, yet got right to work discussing plans for ongoing collaboration that will benefit all of their agencies and the people they serve.
“They were excited about coming together in a way they never had before,” Vidali said. “What’s even more exciting to me is that this group of leaders is charting a path ahead to tackle joint challenges in ways they haven’t before.”
Acadis Development Process Explained
Envisage Chief Operating Officer Michelle Cole presented “Making the Most of Agile Methodology,” in which she described the Envisage Agile software development process. In this process, Envisage focuses on listening to customers, figuring out what they need, and continually developing software features that deliver rapid value based on their needs.
Cole said Envisage is focused on giving customers rapid value through features that meet their needs in the smallest increment that will be helpful. This increment is called minimum viable product and is provided through an iterative process in which developers continually make customer-focused updates.
“We get to the smallest viable increment to add value for customers and build from there to add value as quickly as possible,” Cole said.
Envisage staff also provided a series of workshops in which they and other attendees shared information on the use of the following Acadis modules and capabilities ‑‑ Compliance, Reports & Data Tools, Surveys, Workflows, Imports/Exports, Registration, Mobile and Observed Testing, Curriculum Design, and Scheduling, as well as a workshop on using the FirstForward online platform for public safety.
Envisage thanks all of the attendees and speakers and especially appreciates the efforts of NCJA Deputy Director Chris Anderson and his staff at the beautiful NCJA West Campus, where the Summit was held. Envisage also commends the excellent work of Summit planning committee members Danise Alano-Martin, Rob Aney, Chad Bollhorst, Heather DeMoss, Brian Dimbath, Hannah Sitz, and Kim Storvik.