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Project brief

Statesman Travel's existing method of presenting personalised travel usage data to their customers was to construct, populate and then email excel documents to each of their customers on a regular basis. This was very time-consuming and inefficient.

The aim of this project was to replace this workflow with a cloud-based MIS solution that allowed their customers to log on from anywhere and view their data via a collection of pre-defined and custom dashboards, tables and charts. For some of their existing excel documents it could take tens of minutes to load single worksheets, we needed to be able to load the same reports in seconds, so performance was a key factor.

Analysis

Our first step was to investigate their existing workflows and systems to assess their datasources, information architecture and ultimately how they wanted their customers to consume their data. This process involved finding and analysing 'bottlenecks' or areas of poor speed/performance and brainstorm methods to overcome them. Due to the high-performance nature and varied requirements of this project, we chose to build this app using the IrisJS application framework and CMS.

For the datasource, we would need a solution to overcome the limitations of their highly-normalised database locked behind a local firewall.

Implementation

Statesman screenshotUsing the IrisJS framework we were able to create the required 'organisation' entity types containing various fields for organisation specific configurations, such as name, logo, user roles and permissions, and relationship to other organiastions (hierarchies) etc. The various pages were defined and constructed, the most complex of which was the report builder. The user is now able to choose a report type such as table, bar, line or pie chart, then be lead through a workflow of forms to define the axis dimensions, filters and sorts etc. Ultimately, this user-interface is able to construct dynamic SQL queries in the backend.

After building individual charts, those charts can be placed into responsive dashboards with click-through behaviours defined that allow charts to drill-down to successive charts or dashboards. On the clientside, Chart.JS is used to render the various chart types.

Conclusion

After launching version 1, we have delivered a highly complex, flexible and configurable MIS solution that gives great power to the site admins and end-users. With very little effort, the highly intuitive workflows allow users to generate almost any type of report from the entire datasource, but is secure enough so that only users with the appropriate permissions can access fields as defined by organisational admins.

Statesman are very happy with the solution we have delivered and we are currently working on enhancements for version 2.

Client feedback

We were introduced to City Web Consultants in early 2016 with a view to help us build and deploy a web based Management reporting system that would differentiate us from our competitors. 

Online reporting systems were not new to CWC however developing for a Travel Management Company it was indeed a new and different challenge.  The complexity of the data and the numerous reporting variables and combinations proved to be a huge challenge.

They have proved however that not only they can develop systems but that they can become subject matter experts by their ability to quickly understand and analyse the business requirements.

They have managed to deliver a solution that combines advance technology and dynamic/ interactive customisation, addressing this way all user group’s requirements. Their approach, communication and support have been excellent throughout taking personal pride in the success and quality of their work

-- K. Paschalis, IT Director

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