Argos Proves to be Good Fit at the University of Idaho
University of Idaho
The University of Idaho (UI) was using a reporting solution they found to be outdated and, more importantly, was no longer supported. As operating systems were upgraded, fewer and fewer people had successful installations. Because it was installed in only a few specific offices, report distribution was challenging. In addition, it wasn’t very user friendly and it took valuable time away from other innovations.
UI needed a reporting tool that could be accessed and used by end users, not just by programming and reporting personnel. University administrators also sought a solution that would improve turnaround time on the reports they requested.
The University of Idaho was already using another of Evisions’ solutions and, after seeing some demonstrations and comparing it to other options, determined that Argos was clearly the best choice to become their new enterprise reporting solution.
Advancement Services was the main client interested in Argos, so they teamed up with ITS to determine how Argos would be structured among the different divisions across campus. This team determined that Argos would be used strictly to SELECT data. They designed it so each unit had their own area within Argos, all with their own Development, Production and Test folders. Each unit could decide their own hierarchy/organization within their area. A Sandbox area was also created, to which everyone at UIdaho has access in order to share reports.
While the Argos datablocks are created by the developers, the reports themselves are run by end users throughout the UI campus. Departments include: Accounts Receivable, Advancement Services, Finance, Famis (Facilities), Financial Aid, Human Resources, and the Registrar’s Office. Of these, Finance is the biggest user in terms of number of production reports created.
An example of reporting improvement can be found in Advancement Services. They’ve created tools so the end user can get the information they need at the touch of a button. Advancement used to get requests to see all donors to a specific designation. Now, there are reports the end users can query themselves. The old way took up to two weeks, gathering information and building a population base for the request. The new system gets the user the data within 24-48 hours.
UI’s Advancement department also finds great value in Argos’s Interactive Charts feature. They’re utilized in their executive reports, and the Executives and Deans absolutely love them, as they make it much easier to interpret data.
The Financial Aid Office transferred many of their daily processes into Argos (especially popsel generation) and has seen their efficiency and time management drastically improve. Being able to run a report, sort columns and instantly make the needed adjustments (e.g. add a document to a student’s RRAAREQ record) has sped up workflow tremendously.
Finance used Argos to replace some locally developed forms to reduce modifications to the vendor delivered ERP. A large percentage of reports enable end users to generate unformatted data files for use in specialized reporting, reconciliations and external data requests to meet public records requests. End users are no longer dependent on developers to provide “data dumps.”
Human Resources provides reports that allow departments and colleges to obtain employee lists without developer assistance. Many exception reports have been developed indicating issues with employee data that may hold up data processing, looking for anomalies such as abnormal time and leave reporting. A quick look report is used to provide employment verification to external queries.
Lastly, the University of Idaho has seen great value in the Evisions CO-OP as a report and knowledge resource. Advancement Services has downloaded a ton of sample datablocks, and Financial Aid continues to learn how they can expand the benefits of Argos by using it to improve processes, not just reports.