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Tackling an urgent reporting project for an Australian food manufacturer

As a small business unit within a large organisation this food manufacturer's IS department were spending a disproportionate amount of time producing reports for other departments, distracting them from other important projects. They sought a reporting solution that could be put in the hands of their users without degrading security or operational performance. OPEN/DB-Jacana proved to be the ideal solution offering users the ability to define the reports without having to rely on IS. Momentum undertook the initial IS and user training. A year on and both users and IS are extremely happy with the results.

Helping out a long standing automotive customer

This international automotive user had lost all its skills in using OPEN/DB. However, as 2000 loomed they realized that their database was not totally Y2K compliant. Faced with producing 16 types of reports within 3 weeks and lacking the time and skills to rewrite their reports and subsets themselves they asked Momentum for help. Momentum was able to rewrite their reports and subsets for the new Y2K compliant system within a week under a fixed price contract. 

"Momentum were excellent. We simply didn't have the time or skills to rewrite all our reports ourselves so having the experts to complete them for us made so much sense. Using Momentum saved us valuable time and resources and got the job done ahead of schedule." 

Momentum to the rescue

A Sydney based electronics company had been battling with some poorly performing reports. It was taking much too long to run 12 critical monthly sales reports with each report taking on average three and a half hours to run. Momentum was asked to investigate and propose enhancements to improve the production run times. Momentum recommended and contracted to redesign this customer's data subsets and re-build the 12 reports. Within two weeks the project was completed and the 12 reports are now running in under 6 hours compared to the 36/40 hours previously experienced. 

"I can't believe the difference it has made to our month-end. Momentum were totally professional and we really appreciated the follow up calls to ensure that the job had been completed and was running to our satisfaction" 

End user reporting for an HR Department

Human Resources users at this manufacturer of outdoor power equipment and transmission technology were particularly frustrated that data could not be easily accessed using the standard reporting from their HR application and/or without IS help. IS faced a backlog of report requests from HR for selection, sorting and analysis of the data held in the HR application package from Midrange Software called PERMS. Ideally, HR needed a user friendly report writer to design and produce their own reports to overcome constantly having to trouble limited IS resources. 

To tackle this reporting dilemma they implemented R2/D2-Jacana-Valet [R2/D2 is a derivative version of OPEN/DB marketed by Midrange Software]. R2/D2 offered a number of critical components. These included the powerful yet highly intuitive windows report design application (Jacana) essential for end user involvement, the ability to run reports from the desktop (Valet), and additionally Midrange Software had populated R2/D2's Information Interface to simplify access and understanding of the PERMS data. The Information Interface feature of R2/D2 enabled details of the underlying database structure and technical intricacies to be hidden from the end user. In designing a report the end user only needed to work with a list of authorized fields all of which had clear descriptions. There were no worries about linking files or converting date fields as that task has been handled in the Information Interface. 

"Jacana has been a highly productive tool compared to programmers writing and maintaining RPG programs and it is not constrained by the limitations of constructing output using Query/400. With end users now able to work with their data and fine tune their reporting to their specific needs themselves, pressures on IS resources to produce reporting have reduced considerably." 

"By giving users the ability to create, refine and run reports to meet their own deadlines we have considerably reduced the involvement of IS staff in day to day activities." 

With help from Momentum, 25 staff representing both the IS and HR departments were trained initially, 4 of whom have become the 'core' designers actively developing reports. Nearly 200 reports were developed in the first few months! The backlog of outstanding reporting requests melted away with all sorts of reporting tackled including listings, summaries and extracting data for PC downloads e.g. employee master listings; birthday, anniversary and address lists; monthly employee turnover figures for each department and company. 

Without R2/D2 and Jacana, providing and maintaining this range of reporting would have been very difficult. Now, even end users feel really comfortable modifying existing report designs to change select statements, create new work fields or rearrange the report by clicking and dragging fields without having to rely on IS expertise. 

"Due to the HR department's lack of experience in report writing we initially had some doubts about them using Jacana, but it's ease of use means they have taken to using the application like ducks to water. The support we have been given by Momentum has been very good, they are attentive to our needs and their response times are excellent. Training and responsive support have been key ingredients in successfully introducing this tool into our operations."

On going partnership with Momentum

A UK based software and services organization serving unit trust management companies has to fulfil constantly changing reporting requirements for each of its clients. The business expanded so rapidly that their IS resources have been fully stretched. Using OPEN/DB-Jacana as the means to deliver the extensive and never ending stream of reporting requests from their clients they also rely on Momentum to provide the backbone of the team dedicated to delivering this essential part of their service. 

Helping another long term OPEN/DB user

This UK based waste disposal service company had been long term users of OPEN/DB since 1986. As the year 2000 approached they had to address Y2K issues with their internal dates. This required amendments to 600 existing OPEN/DB reports created over many years and built over old OPEN/DB subsets. Momentum carried out the investigative work to recommend the best approach to achieve the conversion and improve the operational data subsets and reporting. Momentum scoped the work, re-trained the company's IS team, recommended the optimum technical approach and worked with the team to accomplish the redevelopment of subsets and 600 reports!

Query/400 running out of control at a large banking organization 

This bank recognized that their usage and dependence on Query/400 seemed to be exploding exponentially. They therefore required an urgent appraisal of the situation. They looked to Momentum's Query/400 Audit service for help - for an analysis that would quickly highlight potential problem areas and recommend action items to bring before management. 

"Your instructions for collecting the query data were easy to follow and I didn't have any problems even though I've never transferred data to and from our iSeries in this manner. The reports you've sent were perfect for presenting to upper management to display a problem we are having with query use getting out of control. Thank you for offering a quality product." 

In this case a review of over 6500 queries resident in 126 libraries, created over 10 years, revealed 2300 queries that were never used. There were 130 different Query creators, 1900 queries created in the past 3 months and the report highlighted that there are just 100 or so queries being used on a daily basis. Recommendations included deletion of unused queries, review of one-off queries and grouping of production queries into a more contained and controlled library environment. In addition, the analysis highlighted inappropriate use of QSECOFR as Query creator, considerable duplication of output inherent with so many queries being created and the likelihood, with so many query creators, of a significant number of inefficient queries being put into production. 

Tools to help rationalise the inefficiencies highlighted by the analysis, for example 'to move queries from one library to another', are also included as part of the Query/400 Audit service.

Momentum's report writer OPEN/DB is also marketed under a variety of derivative names including Info WorkPlace, Midas/Q, S/RW and R2/D2. The Information Interface functionality itself is the same at comparable release levels.

 

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