A global provider of gift cards and stored value services has grown its footprint over 20 years to deliver over 600 million card products annually across 50 countries. As a market pioneer processing over 1.3 billion transactions per year for its clients, it has demonstrated the ability to deliver an average increase of 350% in gift card sales for its clients in the first year. It has built a diverse team and cultivated expertise in creating customer engagement strategies, promotional cards, retail gift cards, e-commerce solutions, and mobile interactivity. Its flexible technology and superior analytics serve a diverse clientele across industries like travel, apparel, dining, specialty, supermarkets, and drug stores. Its end customers rely on the data, reporting, and dashboarding foundation of the company to boost sales and achieve long-term business growth through superior customer acquisition, retention, and engagement. The company’s strategy required an enhanced focus on its reporting and analytics services and the leadership decided to convert from the legacy Business Objects to Jaspersoft. Some of the benefits expected by the business included –
• Enhanced flexibility and customizability to address unique customer needs
• Easier integration with a variety of platforms
• Lower TCO(Total cost of ownership) since license cost does not escalate with the user base
The company chose DataTerrain to lead this initiative based on its successful track record in delivering complex reporting platform transitions and its accelerated automated methodology based on a Zero defects approach.
DataTerrain’s automated transition methodology
DataTerrain’s SMEs deployed its robust automation-based transition methodology which is based on the key tenets of zero business disruptions and zero unexpected outcomes based on a Zero-defects philosophy. An overview of this phased approach customized for the customer and the major activities performed is provided below –
1. AS-IS assessment and planning – A detailed assessment of the AS-IS reporting environment and setup was performed using DataTerrain’s utility. Some of the key information gathered include –
a. Number of universes, objects, reports, types – like financial & statutory impact, their usage levels, and potential candidates for archival
b. Report sizes, duplicates, and unpurged reports
c. Types of outputs, analysis of jobs – destination folders & validity, users, size and complexity of queries, number and types of data sources
d. User roles, power users, regular vs infrequent users
The complete picture from the above analysis and subsequent stakeholder interactions on priority changes to be performed was used to categorize reports based on their nature and transition tasks involved. This was used to create a detailed component wise plan. After all key stakeholders signed-off on this plan, calendars were blocked in advance to ensure the availability of all key participants at the agreed times in alignment with their daily routines.
2. Automated transition and validation – DataTerrain’s automated transition utility was configured based on the outcome of the AS-IS assessment. The automated transition process included the clean-up and elimination of redundant objects and components to optimize the transition effort and the Jaspersoft environment. For every major report category, an individual report was converted using the automated utility to detect and fix issues early in the process. Following this, reports for each category were automatically converted in batches using DataTerrain’s utility. Some of the major transition tasks performed across components include –
a. Using JasperReports variables to map expressions, functions, calculation logic, and mapping to dynamic queries, user selections, and controls, reviewing groupings and sorting orders
b. Embedding converted reports in other bespoke applications and performing automated validation of data, formats
The converted reports were validated using automated testing to ensure every element matched the source outputs. For example, in excel reports, the automated comparator used Jaspersoft excel properties to validate cell to cell and detect and enabled correction of changes like cell merging.
3. User validation and rollout – Users validated reports before the final promotion for rollout based on the project plan. User involvement from the outset and at every major interim milestone and decision during the previous phases ensured that there were no surprises during this phase. The accepted reports were promoted for deployment during subsequent releases.
The DataTerrain Difference
Customer feedback after this successful on-time and on-budget transition highlighted the following as the major difference made by DataTerrain –
1.) Skilled SME pool – The deep technical expertise and experience of DataTerrain SMEs were visible to the customer throughout the project. The SMEs team had experts in both the target and source platforms and this helped quickly identify solutions for unique requirements like for example, multi-tabbed excel outputs, dynamic queries using run-time parameters to pass database schema, etc.
2.) Best practices implementation – DataTerrain SMEs also implemented best practices during the transition like maximizing the use of standard Jaspersoft features, query stripping, and tuning to improve performance. This has helped the customer improve user productivity, minimize technical debt and improve the maintainability of the Jasper reports implementation.
3.) Global delivery model for accelerated delivery – DataTerrain set up a distributed team including associates from its global delivery centre for a follow-the-sun model that ensured project tasks execution round the clock and accelerated project completion.
With its accelerated high-quality best-practices-based transition, DataTerrain has saved valuable resources for the customer and enabled its in-house team to take charge of the minimal maintenance required. With the new platform based on Jaspersoft, DataTerrain has helped the customer deliver improved adaptability and a significantly better experience for its end customers.