North Port, FL, Successfully Migrates from QRep to Superion Analytics
The City of North Port, Florida, is a leader in using technology to improve organizational efficiency and transparency. A long-time NaviLine QRep customer, the City began exploring various reporting options when they learned of IBM’s withdrawal of Cognos 7 support. Additionally, North Port IT Manager, Jeff Kasson, recognized that moving to the newer Superion Analytics reporting platform would increase the department’s overall efficiency and decrease the time needed to create and distribute reports.
“We wanted a modernized interface that would allow us to create dashboards with improved functionality. Over time, all of our reporting functions had rolled back into the IT department, and we wanted a solution that was easily accessible and usable for all employees,” said Kasson. So he decided it was time to begin the migration to Superion Analytics, powered by Cognos 10.
In addition to the software, Superion delivered a migration path that allowed North Port to experience one of the most powerful business intelligence tools available in today’s market as they continued to maintain normal QRep operations. Additionally, a training program was designed to successfully transition existing reports and teach the City’s staff how to use the new application. As a result, the City avoided down time during the switch.
Kasson found the new software far easier to manage and more secure through Windows Active Directory. “Adding new users and configuring their access levels is much simpler today with Analytics. The data sources are better segmented, and the security options are much more robust,” he said. “We also like that the system can use data from other sources.”
“Analytics provides multiple levels of security, allowing administrators to create role-based access, and group data into separate catalogs, such as human resources and finance, so data is now better protected and grouped together more efficiently. With Analytics, the Utilities staff doesn’t have access to the HR and Payroll catalogs, and vice versa. New users are easier to set up and the process is quicker too,” added Kasson.
As part of AnalyticsNOW, end users participated in a series of training sessions. Employees learned the basic features and functions of Analytics based on the complexity of reporting they needed. From the average end users who perform basic reporting functions to more advanced business and professional authorship levels, specific training was customized to each employee’s specific skill level and need.
A week-long workshop subsequently was held where employees could work one-on-one with trainers and get specific questions answered. During these sessions, employees were given the opportunity to convert previous reports within the QRep system into the new Analytics format. From email address changes to checks and building permits issued, North Port previously relied on various types of reports from different departments to effectively serve its constituents. However, end users had limited access and lacked the ability to create reports. “Our finance person was running seven different reports for departments at the end of the month. Now each department is running its own reports,” said Kasson.
“One of the biggest features we love about the new system is the web-based nature of Analytics. All that our users need is access to a web browser and the appropriate security credentials to access any report at any time. This eliminates the need for a special set of software or to switch machines,” said Wade Gore, Applications Development Manager for North Port.
North Port employees have been extremely happy with the switch to Analytics. “They’re excited about the opportunity to create their own reports, instead of having to wait on the IT department. Users find it powerful and easy to use. They can render their own reports in their preferred format—whether it is Microsoft Excel or HTML,” said Kasson.
North Port sees the potential of Superion Analytics to realize immediate organizational efficiency with reporting and also improve long-term strategic success. “One of the things I wanted to do was to help our organization become more data-driven in our decision making. Analytics gave us the ability, with its dashboard feature, to directly link to the data sources of our departments’ KPIs. This has made data more meaningful and lets us use a real-time representation of our progress on the City’s strategic plan. Plus, it has added to our transparency to the community, which really is the future,” said Kasson.
Kasson recommends other organizations consider the migration to Analytics. “It is a large task initially, but once you get a basic understanding of the platform, it is far superior to the old way of doing things. The amount of effort put into the transition is worth it when you see the cost savings from time spent on administration and report creation,” he said.
“There is so much more you can do with this new system. It really is a no-brainer for any organization that chooses to upgrade,” added Gore.