REVIEWER: Peter Birley, director of information technology for Browne Jacobson LLP.

BACKGROUND: Browne Jacobson is one of the largest law firms in the Midlands, UK, with national reach through its offices in Nottingham, Birmingham and London. It prides itself on developing long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded clients in the public, commercial and insurance sectors. The firm has invested in leading-edge technology that helps ensure it provides clients with the best possible service. The firm has gained national recognition in many areas, including its work in the health, retail and environmental sectors as well as being recognized as regional heavyweights for corporate, property, public enquiry, litigation and professional risk work.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to RSinteract from ICS there was no visibility of the data and information stored in the case management system other than standard IT-developed reports. RSinteract provides a framework that lets business users create and maintain their reports with no IT involvement, allowing data to be analyzed in a timelier manner.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: RSinteract sits within the Reporting Services module of SQL Server, providing business users and management information professionals with the ability to build, edit and interact with Reporting Services reports on SQL Server and Oracle relational data and Analysis Services/Unified Dimensional Model (UDM) cubes, without any specialist skills. RSinteract is an incredibly powerful product that can be used at all levels of an organization for decision support and analysis. RSinteract is a major step toward the democratization of information - deployed via a standard Web browser, with no plug-ins or downloads. Users can easily create table-, matrix- and chart-based reports in an ad hoc query environment that enables users to browse work and analyze data to its fullest. Grouping, conditional formatting and filtering are all easily applied to data to provide the user with a rich experience.

STRENGTHS: RSinteract is Web-based to allow a simple rollout strategy. The product is designed with nontechnical users in mind. Product training was only a half day for the end users, allowing the training to concentrate on the data, not the product. RSinteract allows not only the creation of traditional analytic reports, but more operational filtered listings reports from the same OLAP cube, simplifying the IT maintenance overhead to a single data source and ensuring a single version of the truth.

WEAKNESSES: The Web-based interface does not allow for as much richness of user interface as some of the competitive products. RSinteract is targeted at ad hoc report creation with limited report presentation functionality; however, fixed-format reports in a presentation style can be created from the same Reporting Services server using Microsoft Business Intelligence Development Studio.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The target criteria for the choice of application were that the application must easily enable the end users to create and maintain reports with minimal IT input. RSinteract provides a self-service environment that is easy to use and deploy.

DELIVERABLES: The main high-level goal of the project was to provide a central reporting repository and end-user reporting functionality to the insurance and public risk department. This has now been achieved, allowing other departments to be brought on. The deliverables required to achieve this were the creation of a case management data model in Microsoft SQL 2005 Analysis Services and the creation of both fixed-format report and template RSinteract reports to allow the insurance and public risk department to report and analyze data in a timely manner.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Most of the pre- and post-implementation work has been carried out by the vendor, with support from the internal IT department. Most of the issues with the project have to do with data quality in the source system. Training, support and data model documentation have been provided by the vendor and are adequate for use.

DOCUMENTATION: To support the implementation, a documentation wiki with data definitions was created, and it is clear and accessible. The users tend to refer to the data model documentation more frequently than the product documentation, as the product is fairly self-explanatory.

RSinteract Enterprise Edition
Doxford International Business Park
7 Camberwell Way
Sunderland, UK SR3 3XN
+44 (0) 161 886 8500

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