BACKGROUND: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) operates and maintains one of the largest data warehouses in the federal government ­ the Compliance Data Warehouse (CDW). This data warehouse stores tax data (including tax returns, audit information and accounts receivable) which is used largely for information gathering and in-depth research on tax compliance issues. To provide easy access to the information for authorized users, the IRS is leveraging Web browsers and their intranet.

PLATFORMS: Dual Sun Enterprise 6000s running Solaris 2.6.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The IRS is focused on continually expanding our compliance research initiatives to help individuals file taxes accurately and on time, and improving tax filing systems and our own business practices and resource management. To do this successfully, it is essential to track and measure accomplishments as well as identify and improve problem areas. We needed to immediately enable our analysts with the ability to access, analyze and decipher information stored in the CDW. However, we also plan to expand the reach of the CDW by providing controlled access and reporting capabilities to a large number of users, including hundreds of customer service representatives across the United States. To do both we needed a Web-based query and reporting solution that could provide high-value, easy-to-use data access and analysis capabilities, be quickly and easily installed and managed, and scale to support hundreds and thousands of users. With the Viador Information Portal, we found our ideal solution.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With the Viador Information Portal, we can provide all levels of users with interactive query, reporting, charting and analysis capabilities in a familiar and easy-to-use, point-and-click browser-based environment. It also provides a highly scalable solution that effectively leverages our pre-existing technology investments and lessens the burden on IT through its centralized administration. The initial roll out was fully deployed and up and running within six weeks, and we are now expanding the system to support additional customer service users.

STRENGTHS: The Viador Information Portal provides the industry's most advanced, server-based solution for data access, reporting and analysis via the Web. Its Web-based, point-and-click interface is highly intuitive. The application is also very easy to use ­ both in designing the reports and accessing and distributing information. Additionally, the scalable architecture and end-to-end Java design allows users to capitalize on the benefits of true, thin-client computing, including the ability to leverage existing technologies, support hundreds of concurrent users and centrally manage user access and system administration.

WEAKNESSES: Up until now, one weak area has been that reports on more complex aggregations and roll ups take a little extra work. However, substantial work has been completed in this area with the new n-tier reporting feature; and this issue will be resolved with the new version.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The ability to scale and support hundreds of users was important to the CDW query and reporting project. The Viador Information Portal was the only product we found that could offer us a technology designed for the Web, could leverage existing technologies and provided us with an easy, elegant installation.

DELIVERABLES: Using the Viador Information Portal with the CDW has enabled us to generate reports that show our progress in increasing voluntary tax compliance and indicate the success and/or inefficiencies in our overall business processes and resource allocation. This information helps determine the return on investment on projects, in turn enabling better decision making at a strategic level. The solution also provides an intuitive, easy-to-use method for customer service representatives to access and report on tax compliance issues.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Viador's professional services made the installation process painless and enabled us to get our product to market on time. We simply helped develop the plan and milestones. Follow-up technical support was also strong.

DOCUMENTATION: Thorough on-line documentation is available for all end users, and hard copy documentation is available for the administrative and designer modules of the product.

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