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The U.S. Army Improves Recruiting Applications with Teleran BI Management Suite

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Calvin Stasel, manager of data administration for United States Army Accessions Command.

BACKGROUND: The U.S. Army recruiting process has become important in maintaining the preparedness of its more than 499,000 active duty soldiers and 700,000 National Guard and reservists worldwide. United States Army Accessions Command (USAAC), located at Fort Knox, Kentucky, provides the command, control and staff support to more than 7,300 Army recruiters in more than 1,600 recruiting offices across the U.S. and the world.

PLATFORMS: The Teleran BI Management software is running on one domain of a Sun E10000 with the Teleran Administrative Console on a Windows 2000 server. The Sun system also supports the USAAC data warehouse running Oracle9i. The client application deployed is Brio Web.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As USAAC began implementing our recruiting application, we needed to support a large number of users while minimizing support costs. Given the critical nature of Army recruiting, we needed to meet service levels as usage and databases grew. Lastly, we were required to comply with Federal regulations for securing the privacy of personal data collected during the recruitment process. After determining that database and system level monitoring tools did not offer comprehensive usage metrics or effective user controls, we turned to Teleran.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Teleran's iSight tracks what data is being used, by whom and how the application is performing. iSight usage reporting identifies where we need to make performance tuning adjustments to the application and the database. iSight enabled us to identify Microsoft Access users that were generating very inefficient queries. Because Access is not one of our authorized tools, we activated a query control policy with iGuard to prevent the use of Access. Now, users attempting to log on with Access are blocked and immediately sent a Teleran automated help desk message notifying them to use the authorized application. This improved performance and application security at the same time.

STRENGTHS: iSight gives us a continuous view of SQL statements from applications that are being run against the database. System tools such as TKPROF and others are difficult to work with. With iSight, one parameter change allows all SQL statements to be captured or ignored by a user or application. iGuard gives us a security capability outside of normal database security settings, allowing us to create customized security policies applied by servers, users, user groups and other parameters. Teleran's user controls prevent a wide range of user errors and inappropriate behavior and automatically guide users to more efficiently use system resources.

WEAKNESSES: Initially, iSight reporting was limited in flexibility. Teleran has since implemented a more powerful Web-based reporting system that is a great out-of-the-box tool. The reports can also be easily customized by working with the Teleran support team.

SELECTION CRITERIA: USAAC, working with its system integrator, took a comprehensive look at the monitoring and usage management market. Our criteria included: the ability to deliver easy-to-use monitoring and automated application controls in a single platform; ease of installation; minimal administration; the scalability to grow with our application; and working with an established company. We found competitive products lacking in one or more ways.

DELIVERABLES: Our Teleran solution delivers a better performing and more effective application supporting the Army recruiting process. iSight reporting gives our management the visibility to understand how our system is used with minimal effort from our DBA staff. It allows us to be proactive in addressing problems well before our users are impacted. Our productivity has improved, as has the productivity our recruiters in the field, with usage policies and user messages. The inevitable end-user errors no longer end up degrading system performance, frustrating users and generating help desk calls. Teleran's compliance reporting and access controls allow us to meet requirements to both audit and enforce our data privacy policies.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Teleran has implemented product modifications that we have requested, making their software an even better fit for USAAC. I cannot say enough about how good Teleran support has been. A good example was when we were doing upgrades over one weekend and our Teleran support rep gave me his home phone number, just in case we had a problem. I do not ever recall any other software vendor offering that level of support and dedication.

DOCUMENTATION: Teleran provides thorough documentation, which we initially used. Since then, we have only occasionally needed to refer back to it.

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