Accessible and Affordable Reporting Achieved with Argos
The reporting team at Jacksonville University (JU) has gone through more than their fair share of reporting implementations. For years, their primary reporting system was a combination of Colleague® by Ellucian®, its attendant ODS client and SAP’s Business Objects. rePORTAL, a web delivery and distribution system, was implemented to distribute the reports coming out of their system. In addition to this central reporting structure, JU had five legacy systems—from Excel and Access to manual extracts with SSIS, VBScript and Powershell—that were all seeing regular use.
Maintenance for all these systems was a perennial issue, and the 3-person reporting team was spending too much time on setup, security and dissemination. End users, if they were lucky enough to be in one of the five offices with the appropriate product licenses, they were still in the unenviable position of having to run reports ad hoc. For every individual report, the user had to start from scratch—every parameter had to be manually re-entered, every time. JU was in the market for a comprehensive reporting solution that would 1) make their data easier for the end users to interpret, 2) consolidate their reporting efforts into a single environment and 3) at a reasonable cost, make reporting available to a wider selection of departments.
In March of 2012, JU implemented Argos, the Enterprise Reporting Solution from Evisions. Within a year, JU’s reporting situation became nearly unrecognizable from what it had been before. In that time, JU’s one IT Reporting Analyst was able to not only migrate all of the existing reports into Argos but also build 300 custom DataBlocks, which are containers used within Argos to organize data and make it available for report building. On top of that, Argos’ compatibility with Microsoft Active Directory means that JU’s new reporting solution seamlessly pulls in data from all of the university’s many data sources.
Compared to the ad hoc, static reports JU’s staff was accustomed to working with, Argos’ dynamic dashboards and its real-time reporting interface have been an incredible improvement. End users no longer have to struggle to reproduce reports from scratch every time they need to look at a particular metric. Instead, they can go into the relevant DataBlock and either look at real-time data on their screen or simply run a pre-defined report, all with the click of the button.
Argos’ ease of use hasn’t just made a difference for the end users. JU’s IT department has also reaped the benefits. Compared to their previous reporting setup, which took an enormous amount of effort to maintain, Argos requires very little. Since getting Argos up and running, the IT department has saved an average of 15 hours a week that had previously been spent on troubleshooting and problem-solving with their old systems.
Another feature that made Argos a good fit with JU’s needs is its licensing setup; with an enterprise license, the entire reporting system is available to unlimited users. The cost of multiple licenses had been a significant barrier to offering widespread reporting across campus. In just one year of using Argos, JU was able to cut $12,000 in reporting licenses as well as $25,000 in other software licenses from their budget.
At the same time that JU was cutting back on licenses, they were expanding both the scope and the availability of their institutional reports. Prior to Argos, only five offices had direct access to their reporting solution. With Argos, that list has grown to 16 departments and offices all across campus. Plus, with Argos Web Viewer, access is now even easier. Users can log in and view dashboards and reports from any browser, even on their tablet.
With dynamic dashboards, enterprise licensing and ease of use for both IT staff and their end users, Argos has helped JU not only save thousands every year in licenses and staff-hours, but also reinvent their reporting environment.