Louisiana's Department of Social Services has been employing the system, which uses business-intelligence software from Information Builders Inc. and GIS software from ESRI Inc., for about two months, said Fontenot, officially introducing the system at Information Builders' user conference here.
The Web-based system allows the state's 19 social-services investigators to map transactional food-stamp data with geographic data about retailers to try to spot fraudulent activity. Fraud accounts for about 4% of the $700 million federally funded food-stamp program, so cutting fraud could mean saving millions in federal funds, Fontenot said.
The department has been using Information Builders' WebFocus business-intelligence software since the late 1990s for real-time reporting on food-stamp transactions.
Louisiana tapped IBM Global Services and a local consulting company, Bluestreak Technologies, to help develop the GIS system. Fontenot said the department officials are thinking about employing the system in connection with its child-support and day-care services. Louisiana's ultimate goal, though, said Fontenot, "is to become more efficient in providing services."