DataTerrian’s client is a comprehensive public research university with an academic pedigree extending over 150 years in Canada. Over 32000 students from 120 countries are enrolled across its campuses in urban hubs and rural communities making its database extensive. Interdisciplinary programs are complex and span physical and life sciences, arts and humanities, social sciences, business, agriculture, and veterinary sciences and need exhaustive tracking. The reporting and dashboard needs are elaborate for this University which features in the top tier in multiple global rankings. The University leadership decided to convert to TIBCO Jaspersoft after the announcement about the end of life for Crystal reports. The customer also wanted the following additional benefits by using the unique features of TIBCO Jaspersoft –
1. Enhanced integrated data access and scripting by developers using Jaspersoft frameworks to simplify embedding reports and dashboards into user interfaces.
2. Flexibility to connect to data sources in applications across academic departments using the data and architecture agnostic foundation of Jaspersoft for rapid custom features development
3. Improved user experience through the personalized and user-centric design of reports and dashboards supported by a variety of out-of-the-box features and custom components of TIBCO Jaspersoft
The University was keen to carry forward the accumulated knowledge and effort put into building the reports repository in Crystal reports. The customer chose Data Terrain based on its demonstrated methodology and references in completing comparable transitions on time and within budget. DataTerrain’s automated utility and its reputation in the market for accelerating transitions by retaining legacy formats and pixel-perfect reports were the other decision factors for the University.
DataTerrain’s Best-In-Class automated transition methodology
The transition approach of DataTerrain was based on the following key principles –
1.) Zero disruption for end users. All activities were completed without disturbing the daily routines of users.
2.) Zero defects principle enabled by the automated, tool based transition and pixel-perfect validation
3.) Zero surprises for end users. Original Look and Feel retained after transition. Quick win customization to address pressing user needs performed during the transition.
The major steps followed during the execution of this project were –
1.) AS-IS analysis during which –
a. Legacy crystal report characteristics were documented including purpose, usage patterns, owners, and unique features. Potential transition issues were flagged for planning suitable interventions during the transition process.
b. Redundancy analysis including duplicates and similar reports to list out consolidation opportunities
c. Quick-win and improvement opportunities were identified to provide suggestions for enhancement and betterment of reports using the features of Jaspersoft
2.) Automated transition and validation – Data Terrain’s tool was used to automate the transition and accelerate the transition process. Some of the best practices followed during the transition include –
a. Maximize use of out-of-the-box features of Jaspersoft
b. Reuse, translate, and add to the available common resources in the repository like controls and images to simplify and avoid redundancies
c. Reuse and maximize the creation of generic report templates to improve standardization of look and feel
d. Create a robust configuration management system for JRXML files and implement strict controls using a version control system.
e. Follow recommended guidelines for report and dashboards development in TIBCO Jaspersoft
f. Early key-user involvement and extensive user feedback during all critical interim milestones
g. Automated validation to ensure an exact match of report formats and data outputs between the source in Crystal reports and the converted TIBCO Jaspersoft reports and dashboards.
h. Improve Precision and accuracy of quality control for pixel-perfect reports using the automated tool
During this phase, prioritized user requirements requiring custom development were also taken up along with the implementation of agreed improvement recommendations and performance fixes.
3.) User acceptance and rollout –After automated quality checks and validation, converted reports were forwarded for user validation in a continuous flow. This enabled accelerated visibility to users, early identification of issues, and quick fixes. The result was improved user comfort, minimized training effort, and accelerated adoption during rollout.
The project was completed on-time, within budget, and well ahead of Crystal reports being phased out. According to the customer, DataTerrain made a difference in the following ways-
• Robust methodology and automation – The customer noted the following highlights about DataTerrain’s methodology –
o performing a detailed assessment, proactively identifying and flagging issues early to plan for their resolution,
o a detailed project plan and communication to orchestrate stakeholder availability
o early user involvement to simplify training and ease rollout.
o Quality assurance through automation, especially for pixel-perfect reports.
• Global delivery model – DataTerrain resources continued working round the clock from global delivery centers to accelerate project execution.
• Customization and value add – Priority user wish list items were addressed through customization during the transition leading to positive user feedback and helped build momentum for a smooth rollout.
The University has continued to unlock the power of TIBCO Jaspersoft and embed customized reports across the internal applications used by its departments.