Bill Eppler, CIS department manager at Community Bridges, talks about how his organization uses crystalreports.com.
Tell us about your organization.
We are a non-profit corporation and our main goal is to serve seniors and disabled citizens. We're located in Aptos, California. We have 60 employees working within the agency and there are 15 employees in the department that I'm connected with, Lift Line. Lift Line is in the business of transporting seniors and disabled people to and from medical appointments, day care facilities, and social service agencies. My role is CIS department manager - I manage our database that does our scheduling, and I do all the reporting requirements for the state, the city, and the county.
What challenges were you experiencing?
We became the provider of transportation under the American Disabilities Act for the county of Santa Cruz. That increased the number of rides [we provide] to about 20,000 rides a month. It required a lot of reporting...distance traveled, number of riders, age group, reasons for the transportation. This was very time consuming, and I was looking for something that I could build reports on...automatically.
Why did you choose crystalreports.com?
One of the main reasons that I selected Crystal Reports is because I could do conditional formatting with it. I can set it up so that I run a report and build a formula that will highlight all the errors and possible mistakes for easy corrections. The formula builder is very easy to use...it has a lot of built-in functions. The ones I do use, I use extensively. I can also [use] graphics...tables, pie charts, bar graphs.
The implementation experience...was very simple. Uploading my reports to the server is very easy. I just program it [and] it runs.
How did you promote acceptance by end users?
Once I taught them how to do filtering, searching, [and] printing...they've taken to it really quickly.
What other benefits of crystalreports.com have you experienced?
The on-demand function is really outstanding because...our directors or people in accounting meetings have laptops and they need information. They can log on to the Internet and they have instant access to all the information that is published [in crystalreports.com].
We've got 11 daily reports that get updated every day - so at any time, they can log on and get information that is less than a day old. When they're doing presentations to try to get funding for our organization, it makes them look good.
Having Crystal Reports has [helped] reduce my payroll. Once the reports are built, the information is instant. On the 31st of the month, [we need] a report for everything we did for the entire month. I can have it [ready] within two hours after the end of the day...whereas with manual input and people counting, it was taking 10 to 15 days to get this information out.
The information is accurate, and the information is there on time...it helps [our employees] get their jobs done because they're no longer having to wait for information to file their parts of the report.
How does crystalreports.com align with your security policies?
I can limit who can see what reports and who can get to what folders. Logging on is very secure. I can force a person to change a password to get in. As long as the Internet is up and running, I've never had a problem with [crystalreports.com] being down and unavailable to me.
Describe the reporting capabilities of crystalreports.com.
The reporting capabilities of Crystal Reports [are] pretty much unlimited. I've never had an occasion where I could not produce what somebody asked me for.