The 'short form' and 'long form' screens

Further customising with 'short form' and 'long form' screens

One of the attractive features of the PIIE iAbacus software (See: Why is it called the PIE iAbacus?)  is that it has the flexibility in design to be customisable to suit the needs of any particular agency or network. This means that it is quite possible to adapt the interface - what you see on screen - to reflect more closely the level of exploration that best suits your services.

The Pizazz on paper simply uses the main framework of the 'Big Five' PIEs 2 themes.  It allows space to go into the 15 more detailed practice elements; but any discussions and plans at that greater level of detail can only be captured with attached sheets, post it notes or whatever.

For some services, especially for smaller, single ('stand alone') services, the pen-and-paper version may well be quite sufficient for your needs.  But the PIE Abacus does offer many additional features, lurking just behind that first 'short form' screen, waiting to be discovered.  With the PIE iAbacus it is quite possible to 'drill down' deeper in to the framework, and go into each or any of the key elements in each cluster, according to the overall level of development or particular interests of your service. You can even 'add in' new features.

(Note that some of the language used here - 'drilling down', 'adding in' -  is still tentative, as we try to work out what wording works best, for the complex needs services sector.)

A word of caution: to keep your assessments comparable to those of others - in your own services, or beyond - it is important to keep the main framework. If in doubt, the forthcoming training course on PIEs assessment can give further guidance on how to get the maximum benefit, without loss.

The 'short form'

At first sight ( see below, and/or panel opposite), the PIE Abacus looks very similar to the pen-and paper version of the Pizazz - but on screen and in colour. They do use essentially the same five stage process, the same wording etc.   The Handbook - 'Useful questions' - applies to both the pen and paper and the on-line versions.

It should hopefully be very easy for those already familiar with the Pizazz in its pen-and-paper version to find their way around the on-line ‘short form’. There are nevertheless some changes, that may give the on-line version an advantage over the pen-and-paper version.  (See: Key features of the PIE Abacus [1] the 'short form' )

'Drilling down' and 'adding in'

Firstly, on the PIE Abacus, those familiar five key (or 'headline')  themes of PIEs 2.0 can in principle  be opened out (or ‘drilled down’), to reveal the next tiers of the PIEs 2.0 formula, where specific issues can then be addressed in more detail. (For more details, see: Key features of the PIE abacus [2]; 'drilling down')

The PIE Abacus design also (and already) allows services to add in any further issues of their own – specific questions that are of interest to a particular service, but had not been generally or sufficiently highlighted in the overall main framework of PIEs 2.0. (For more details, see: Key features of the PIE abacus [3]; 'adding in' fields)

Sharing assessments using the 'overlay' feature

Just as significant, however, is the scope for sharing data, with the PIE Abacus.  There are two principal ways to do this.

The first is to simply give ‘access to view’ rights to any individual or organisation that you wish to share with - such as a researcher, or a peer reviewer.  The second is to use the overlay feature, to amalgamate several Abacuses to create a searchable overview of many different services, to find common themes, and to get an overview of developments, progress, and barriers.

How this 'overly' feature, if then used, opens up a wide range of possibilities, such as - for large organisations with services across multiple localities - a coherent overview and feedback to 'Head Office'.  The overview it creates at locality level also allows sophisticated gap analysis and progress tracking, that will be of particular interest to locality commissioners.

For research purposes, at allows access - by agreement - to researchers. with a particular interest in any particular aspect of service design or development (For more details, see: Key features of the PIE Abacus [4]: using the overlay features).