Our customer is a world-class technology services organization that leverages its extensive experience and industry insights to help its clients attain their digital goals. With a unique deployment model emphasizing high-quality local engagements, this client’s network spanned 70 client delivery centres across the US, Canada, and Mexico. The business emphasizes speed, agility, and flexibility with dynamic fit-for-purpose teams brought together with customized, industry-specialized service models to deliver proven solutions to achieve results.
BI(Business intelligence) and analytics were key to making rapid decisions to shape new deals and manage the execution of projects. Since Crystal Reports was out of support, our customer needed to convert to a new platform quickly and chose Oracle BI Publisher.
The customer wanted no impact on the users during this change, and retaining the AS-IS look and feel from Crystal Reports was a critical requirement. The customer chose DataTerrain to complete this transition due to its robust and successful automated approach to transition from Crystal Reports to Oracle BI Publisher. As one of the early movers in building a seamless transition path out of Crystal Reports, DataTerrain’s experience has been refined over numerous challenging projects. DataTerrain’s proprietary tool has demonstrated its ability to accelerate conversion and transition through automation.
Accelerated transition using DataTerrain’s automation tool
DataTerrain’s structured approach for the transition from Crystal Reports to Oracle BI Publisher was followed to complete this transition on time and within budget. The major phases of the transition include-
1. Automated analysis and detailed planning–DataTerrain’s tool created an inventory of reports and performed a high-level technical and functional analysis to identify nuances to be addressed, flag potential transition issues and performance bottlenecks, and plan manual interventions. It identified redundancies and potential consolidation options. This information was fed into a detailed project plan, further refined after a few pilot reports were converted and validated as proof of concept.
2. Automated transition and validation–The transition tool converted each Crystal Report to a corresponding RTF template and deployed to the PeopleSoft server to be made available as Oracle BI Publisher process types accessible using the application engine in the PeopleSoft environment. People code designed for Crystal Reports was converted and made suitable for the new Oracle BI Publisher environment and the application engine where applicable. The time saved through automation was used to customize queries and report features for priority items requested by users. Additional drill-downs and prompts were provided for users to filter based on parameters like input year, region, and department to generate the desired report views. Performance issues were also resolved, saving execution time and resources.
3. User validation and rollout – User involvement from the initial planning stage was ensured by both the customer project manager and DataTerrain. This enabled the project team to fast-track decisions and proactively act on risks and issues. Users validated the reports in the target testing environment as the RTF templates were deployed. The process scheduler in Oracle BI Publisher was also run during the validation and business user acceptance testing, followed by sign-off and rollout to production.
The customer team called out two noticeable aspects of this transition project as visible differentiators provided by DataTerrain.
• Accelerated project execution using a global delivery model, ensuring the transition was completed before Crystal Reports went out of support. DataTerrain SMEs across the global delivery centres ensured that someone was available around the clock to push forward with project activities
• Value adds while retaining Look and Feel – Additional features like filters and long-pending customizations led to high user satisfaction and positive feedback.
Some of the major benefits to the customer following the successful On-Time and within-budget transition to Oracle BI Publisher include –
1. Seamless integration with PeopleSoft and reduction in effort to maintain and enhance the new system, which retains the original look and feel while working on the latest software version.
2. Increased flexibility and reuse due to data layout, logic, and translation separation. This simplifies the effort for maintenance and lights-on support.
3. With multiple layouts possible for the same dataset, the proliferation of reports is slowed down, keeping the overall application lighter and simpler.
4. The ability of Oracle BI Publisher to handle extensive data improved performance and is proving to be a major productivity gain for the user community.
5. The versatile layout editor has enabled the delivery of outputs in various formats like .doc, .xls, and .pdf. The layout editor provides drag-and-drop features for users to customize and easily create report formats.
6. Integration of data from multiple sources like web services, HTTP XML feeds, and file data sources adds additional options for users to track and report critical business metrics
7. Users can now deliver personalized content to multiple destinations in multiple output formats using the scheduling and bursting feature in Oracle BI Publisher
8. Developers of bespoke applications in the client environment are now able to hot-plug these reports using web services or JavaAPIs
Following this transition, the customer has continued to expand its usage of Oracle BI Publisher as a strategic tool to improve its decision-making and to meet its growing reporting requirements.