Faced with limited resources and a need to provide up-to-date Business Intelligence to their financial reporting and visualizations, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had to navigate a stubborn bureaucracy to achieve their objectives. Using an IT-business alignment strategic approach to decide on a suitable IT solution, DOJ was able to select and deploy a cloud-based system in an objective and uncontested way. This case study will exemplify when working with a dedicated, customer-focused partner you can achieve your goals and exceed expectations. In 2015, cBEYONData was awarded a contract from a DOJ agency to upgrade their Business Intelligence capabilities which included the need for self-service, customized ad-hoc financial reporting, faster data management services, and real-time analytics. During our initial assessment of the current environment, our team members noticed that our customer's environment was severely outdated and the servers that hosted the environment were in need of a drastic expansion and upgrade. Our team initiated a meeting with our customer to discuss our assessment and quickly uncovered our customer did not have the budget to expand and upgrade their on-premise servers.
Knowing the budget and administrative constraints our customer was under, cBEYONData suggested investing in a cloud-hosted environment instead of purchasing new servers at their data center, which would significantly decrease the price in hardware and operation and maintenance costs for that fiscal year and the duration of our contract. Utilizing the cloud was new to the customer, as no one from their IT division had ever migrated an in-house system to the cloud. Our Team worked closely with the IT group to answer many questions and resolve many real and perceived issues around cloud migration. Upon further research, our team and our DOJ customer concluded that using a FISMA moderate cloud-hosted environment like the Amazon Web Services Government Cloud (AWS GovCloud) would save over our customer $300,000 in annual hardware and support costs and would save the DOJ thousands in operations and maintenance fees annually.
From the initial assessment, approvals, and configuration of the AWS GovCloud, cBEYONData successfully implemented the solution in the AWS GovCloud environment in four months. Once the GovCloud infrastructure was up and running, our team upgraded their SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence software and added in ad hoc, customized reporting capabilities to their environment. The ability for customer to customize existing reports and build their own analytics and dashboards was a huge success to the agency and something they were not capable of producing previously. The Financial reporting and analytical solution was the first production application our DOJ customer deployed into the cloud, this successful effort was a driver for the agency to migrate many other applications to the cloud. Since utilizing AWS GovCloud environment, cBEYONData's DOJ customer has seen a significant benefit to their Business Intelligence capabilities including faster uptime, 24/7 access to their data, autogenerated reports and dashboards, and even the ability to auto blast email notifications to their consumers. Our customer has also seen little to-no service disruptions or outages since migrating to the cloud.
To ensure fast ramp up and quick end user adoptions, cBEYONData developed instructor-based and web-based training materials and provided training on the improved Business Intelligence tools and data management capabilities that could be utilized for their ad hoc reporting and visualizations. The training sessions on reporting, data management, and analytics are also supplemented with training guides that are used as a "text books" during the training and after the training was completed become a reference guide for all the software, which is still in use today.
After realizing how successful our project has been over the last three years, more DOJ customers have adopted the Amazon GovCloud for almost all of their systems. cBEYONData's DOJ project became the catalyst of change within the DOJ Financial Services office. Soon, multiple stakeholders were asking how they could upgrade their environment and what the process could look like for them. "At the end of the day, the key to success is to identify the needs and deliver an easy-to-use solution for the customer that is extremely useful and powerful. This is the true catalyst," says Dave Schmidtknecht, Principal, cBEYONData. Now that we have been effectively servicing the DOJ cloud-based environment for the past two years, the next phase of the contract is to upgrade to the newest BI software release which will ultimately produce even more efficiencies, including faster report and dashboard generation, increase the speed of incremental data loading, and allow for near real time analytics.
The overall success of this project produced in total, 8 servers and 3 environments which were successfully migrated over to the Amazon Services Government Cloud solution freeing up DOJ IT infrastructure staff to focus on more business centric tasks. Additional benefits included limited to no downtime for the customer. Since moving to the cloud, there has been only one break in service which was resolved almost instantaneously due to the real time environment replication and failovers that are built in to cloud-based systems.