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December 2008
 
In This Issue:
- Jinfonet Wishes Happy Holidays to All
- Customer Story: GSA - Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)
- JReport Tech Tip: Applying Multiple Parameter Values

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    There is no better time than the Holidays to express our appreciation for your business and friendship. May all the joys of the season be yours.
 
GSA Selects JReport for 
Rich Functionality and Low Total Cost

GSA

The General Services Administration (GSA) is the sole source for the US government to procuring goods and services cheaper, faster, and in compliance with laws and regulations. GSA brings best practices to procurements and harnesses the full purchasing power of the federal government, which in turn saves money for taxpayers.

As an integral part of GSA, the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) delivers comprehensive products and services across the government. JReport is utilized within the Office of the Chief Information Officer, which is responsible to develop and manage applications and systems in support of the needs of the FAS business lines and staff offices. Users of JReport are federal employees and Unisys project staff of about 200 people in support of GSA – FAS, CIO. 

GSA has a current budget of $20.1 billion and employees over 11,900 people. The FY 2009 IT Budget is $559M.

Business Challenges

GSA – FAS like most Federal agencies, is constantly challenged to provide more technology solutions, to more of their users at all levels in their organization and other Federal agencies that they serve, in a shorter period of time, and at lower costs. 

A number of years ago GSA had selected Business Objects as the preferred BI tool. GSA evaluated using BO for their current BI needs, and determined that it will take too long, requiring a lot of manpower and costing $100’s of thousands to install and maintain. They also felt that BO was an overkill for what they needed to do. They use Java for a lot of their work, and integration into that environment was important. GSA decided JReport is the best fit for its current needs.

The reporting solutions GSA needed to provide to their diverse mix of users meant that they had to provide high level summary information to senior executives, along with numerous levels of more detailed information to the many levels of middle management and operations managers. These people ran the full gamut of users who were both unsophisticated and sophisticated report consumers. The users are geographically dispersed at headquarters locations in Washington DC, and the GSA regional centers around the US. 

The ability to pull information from many different data sources (legacy systems, custom applications, RDBMS, etc.) and platforms to provide an integrated view of application information, was important, as was the need to quickly respond to new reporting requests from all levels of users. 

Most of the application support, reporting design and implementation is done with a centralized staff. With the productivity and performance of JReport, the central staff is able to support an ever growing number of users with the same level of personnel. Based on past GSA experience, having a highly skilled and knowledgeable staff in a central location, provides them the mix of quick response to simple and complex reporting needs, while controlling the impact of reporting processing against the many production application systems which they support.

Some of the major groups using JReport are motor vehicle management, transportation and property disposal. A major new area that will use JReport, which will become available in spring 2009, will be the federal strategic sourcing initiative. This is a government wide application, composed of many programs, that covers things like FedEx shipments by all agencies. It examines and shows how agencies use the various types of FedEx shipments, broken down by each federal agency, and the areas in which they are getting cost savings. They are in addition examining other shipment options, to determine where they can get better discounts.

JReport Solution

JReport’s product design approach, implementation and features, functions closely aligned with the requirements that GSA had for BI reporting. It allowed the GSA support staff to quickly prototype and deliver reporting solutions to end user requests, most often in hours or days. They were able to convert inflexible reporting capabilities from old systems into JReport, which allowed them to provide much more powerful reporting options to users, at greatly reduced manpower support levels. The great control and flexibility that JReport provides for scheduling and execution of reporting requirements, allows them to better control server utilization and online responsiveness at all times of the day. 

Benefits

GSA feels that by using JReport instead of BO, they have achieved savings in the range of 5x to 10x in product cost, and because of JReport maintenance pricing, GSA’s Total Cost of Ownership continues to stay low. JReport’s small footprint in applications, the ability to support a wide range of application user load levels, has confirmed the scalability and great performance provided by JReport. The ease of use, functional power, depth and breadth of the JReport tools allows them to accomplish the vast majority of reporting requirements with great cost advantages.

 
JReport Tech Tip:
Applying Multiple Parameter Values

With the new feature of supporting multiple parameter values in version 9, you can now easily enter or choose multiple values for a report parameter at runtime.

Multiple parameter value entry is enabled by the following two options in the create/edit parameter dialog:

  • Allow Multiple Values – Specifies whether to allow multiple values for a parameter. Once this option is set as true, then at runtime, a dialog will pop up to allow you to choose or enter multiple values for a parameter.
  • Enable the "All" option - Specifies whether to have the "All" checkbox displayed in the parameter value enter dialog which means to ignore this parameter when fetching the data. This option will only be activated when the "Allow Multiple Values" is set as true.

For example, you are creating a report which shows the list of customers by different territory for the sales manager. The sales manager will be able to choose which territory he would like to see in the report. Below are the key steps:

  1. Start JReport Designer, create a report grouped by the DBField territory's name.
  2. Create a parameter which binds to the DBField territory's name, and set the option "Allow Multiple Values" and "Enable the All option" as true.
  3. Apply this parameter in the filter condition of the query or the dataset as "@customers_territory in @parameter", while the @customers_territory is the DBField name and @parameter is the parameter created in step 2.
  4. 4. Save the report and publish it to the JReport Enterprise Server. At runtime, you will see the following "Enter Values" dialog when you click on the "Browse" button of a parameter, which will allow you to choose which territory you want to see in the report. Or check the "All" checkbox to return all the territories.

Applying Multiple Parameter Values

 
 
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