The State of Louisiana's Department of Social Services for the last two months has been employing an anti-fraud system that uses business-intelligence software from Information Builders and geographic-information-system software from ESRI. Duane Fontenot, the department's director of information services, who introduced the system at last week's Information Builders user conference in New Orleans, says it lets the state's 19 social-services investigators map transactional food-stamp data with geographic data about retailers to try to spot fraudulent food-stamp activity. Fraud accounts for about 4% of the $700 million federally funded food-stamp program. Investigators wouldn't provide details, but one possible scenario: The map app can show if a food-stamp recipient is passing up several nearby retailers to transact with a particular out-of-the way retailer, suggesting food-stamp brokering. The app has already proved successful--investigators say one retailer simply gave up and admitted guilt when confronted with the geographical data.
Speaking of Information Builders' user conference last week, rumor has it that attendees were treated to a voodoo dance complete with drums and snake (a very large snake), which the voodoo priestess carried among the crowd at Sunday night's opening reception and dinner. Monday morning's keynote by CEO Gerald Cohen was kicked off by a gospel choir belting out "This Little Light Of Mine." Laissez les bon temps rouler!
I haven't been to a party where there was voodoo and a snake in a long time. Wait--I've never been to a party with a snake. If you don't count my ex-girlfriend. If you have a snake story, or have an industry tip, send it to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about executives going to jail, software revenue recognition, food-stamp fraud, or voodoo, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.