City of Columbia Public Safety Joint Communications Uses Entrinsik Informer to Create an Integrated, Self-Service Reporting and Data Analysis Environment
In the city of Columbia, Missouri, Public Safety Joint Communications (PSJC) serves as an integral link between the city’s various emergency, law enforcement, fire, and ambulance service agencies and the visitors and residents of Boone County. These agencies and departments rely on accurate data to maintain performance levels and quality assurance in order to continue providing services vital to public safety.
PSJC maintains a variety of systems that contain data from which reporting is necessary. Prior to using Entrinsik Informer, reports were created using tools specific to each system, and many were solely for use by IT personnel. Reports could only be generated for each system independently, making it difficult to relate data between systems. This resulted in increased time requirements with the potential to limit decision-making perspective when analyzing data on similar but disparate systems.
End users attempting to create reports themselves found the process complicated and inflexible, leading to frustration and wasted time. Many reports were needed on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, etc.) but had to be manually generated and disseminated to those who needed the information. If up-to-date information was required or a report needed to be modified, there were very few people with the expertise to assist.
PSJC needed a reporting solution that made reporting easier for end users and allowed them to have more access to data on a more consistent basis. At the recommendation of their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) vendor and Entrinsik Partner, EnRoute, an Infor company, PSJC selected Informer.
According to Scott Patterson, Systems Support Analyst at PSJC, Informer was chosen because “it gives our end users easier access to data, the ability to generate reports from disparate databases, it is a completely web-based software and can be made available on the Internet for use by other public safety departments that we serve, has the ability to schedule reports, and can export into Live Excel.”
PSJC’s CAD system is built on a UniData database and is the largest and most detailed database in use by the agency. There are also many SQL databases and a few Access databases in use throughout various agencies and departments. These databases contain important information needed by employees, and users were very excited to have access to a reporting system that could generate customizable reports that simultaneously combine data from multiple databases into one report.
Results and Benefits
Since implementing Informer, users have access to far more data than in the past, and reports no longer require a database administrator to create or modify. It is now a quick and easy process for IT personnel to generate complex reports and then allow end users to fine-tune them as desired.
Users across departments are now sharing a common platform, so answering questions or helping troubleshoot an issue is much simpler. The ability to display and export reports into a variety of formats has also helped IT staff with more technical analysis. “Other users that previously would not have been allowed access to a particular system for security reasons can now have limited access to that system via Informer and its comprehensive security controls,” said Patterson. The ability to export report results into Live Excel documents has also been a great help in this area for providing access to a very limited scope of data quickly and easily.
User agencies previously had little or no access to data but now can receive weekly or monthly reports of activity that were either not possible or tediously done manually in the past. Users can now adjust staffing, performance, etc., based on that data. Reports can be done involving call entry in one system, dispatch in another system, and user agency resolution in another system, allowing for a better quality assurance process.
“We do not seem to get nearly the amount of requests for data that we did in the past,” said Patterson. “A big complaint was ‘we put all of this data in and can’t get any data out of the system.’ Though the same systems are being used they now have the ability to retrieve and analyze the data in a multitude of ways, accessing data where and when they need it.”
Informer has provided a wide array of access and capabilities to data previously unavailable for PSJC. “As technology continues to evolve, especially in the public safety arena, I only see opportunities to utilize Informer continuing to grow,” said Patterson. “This has the potential to allow us to improve performance internally, for public safety personnel in the field, and for citizens.”
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