New tools and technology are empowering digital transformation in every industry across the world, completely reshaping the way organizations operate. This is particularly the case for government agencies, which are making use of everything from mobile applications to big data to gain efficiency while minimizing costs.
Ascendas, a business solutions provider based out of Ireland, is one of the many facilitators of digital transformation, helping other companies make the technological leap with cutting-edge tools. Ascendas offers local authorities a progressive application that started as a debt management tool, but has evolved over time to function as a comprehensive customer relationship management solution.
With the Ascendas CRM, local authorities can send debt reminder letters and financial letters to customers, look up financial information about people in the database and setup payment agreements, among other critical tasks.
The CRM also has extensive backend functionality, allowing users to create reports or assign tasks to others. The application is currently used by 20 local authorities, with more than 400 users.
However, because Ascendas outsources development, report development was problematic. Whenever Ascendas wanted to make changes to reports, there was a time-consuming back-and-forth process with the developer that impeded productivity.
“If I wanted to make even a single change, say to the drop-down parameter, I’d have to contact my developers, then they would make the change and email me a fresh build,” said Gerry Connolly, Director, Ascendas. “Then I would have to test the build and and deploy it. The whole process was a cost problem, a time problem and also a massive headache.”
The Ascendas CRM was originally built with Telerik® Platform by Progress, so it made sense to integrate Telerik Report Server as well to address the reporting issues. Report Server was an attractive option for a variety of reasons, but three stuck out ahead of the rest: ease of use, value and customer service.
Unlike more complex reporting platforms, Report Server is very easy to integrate and use. Ascendas was able to easily embed Report Server into the CRM application, enabling users to select from a variety of reports, then open Report Server straight from the application. Once integrated into the CRM application, reports could easily be changed, downloaded and republished as needed—no more time-consuming exchanges with developers.
Value was another key selling point. Compared to other reporting platforms, Report Server was just as capable, but at a more affordable price. For instance, with other solutions, Ascendas would need an enterprise edition upgrade to access key features, such as notifications and data alerts. This functionality comes standard with Report Server and enables Ascendas to keep track of important data points.
Finally, the customer service provided by Progress cemented the deal. The online documentation for Report Server is comprehensive and covers most topics. However, for any other challenges that cropped up, Connolly knew from his prior experience with Progress that he could rely on customer service agents to assist him.
“If we ever have an issue, we contact the support desk and they’re excellent,” Connolly said. “They always respond promptly and give great advice—more so than any other software company I’ve purchased from.”
Ascendas is currently rolling out the Report Server integration to all 20 CRM installations, and the process has been smooth.
Smaller companies need to make the most of their time. With Report Server, Connolly is able to focus on more mission-critical activities and no longer has to spend time going back and forth with developers over small changes. The burden of inefficiency has been lifted.
Since integrating Report Server, Ascendas has realized numerous benefits, such as:
- Improved Report Generation: Connolly can create reports in as little as an hour
- Streamlined Development: With Report Server, Ascendas has managed to cut out
several steps from the development process
- Faster Development: Overall, Connolly estimates that Report Server has enabled him to slash reporting development time by as much as 50%
- Greater Autonomy: Ascendas is now less reliant on outsourced development to make critical changes, which helps reduce expenses
This is just the value he’s come to expect from Progress. Connolly has been a long-time Progress customer and, moving forward, he intends to continue using Progress tools for subsequent Ascendas projects.
For example, Connolly plans to bring the Ascendas CRM to mobile platforms—such as tablets—in the future, and he’ll be looking to Kendo UI® to help develop a user interface suitable for smaller screens.
“Digital transformation is not something we’re frightened of, we actually embrace it,” he explained. “We are a smaller company, so I put a lot of faith in Progress to identify the best trends and then I just follow Progress. That’s why we have three applications that are completely built using Progress tools.”