Hartwick College Uses Informer’s Live Excel Integration to Improve the Institution’s Bottom Line

Posted on April 4th 2012

Q/A with Jason Jameson at Hartwick College.

What challenges were you facing that required improved / more timely information Jason?

Early in my career at Hartwick I built our Excel based “Daily Giving Report” as a means to provide my office with a snapshot view of current years giving with year-to-date comparisons to the prior two fiscal years. The process for updating the report was very time consuming, as described below. 

How were you getting the necessary information prior to applying Informer?

Each morning, I would spend the first hour of my day (5 hours per week!) running a set of queries in Datatel terminal mode to generate my source files. These files would then each be transferred to my PC through an FTP transfer and then copied to replace the prior data in Excel. I would then use a series of find/replace actions to reset the formulas if necessary. Lastly, because the process was so dependent on manual steps, I would validate the report every time it was updated. And when I say 5 hours per week, that was if things went smoothly and did not include instances where there would be requests for additional updates (e.g. to reflect a large gift after it was put into the database). The report, while beneficial, was a time sink.

How did Informer help you to address the challenges stated above?

By the leveraging power of live Excel, I was able to abandon nearly all of the manual process. Running queries, file transfers, copy/pasting all went away. By combining this Informer capability with the ability of our Database and Systems Analyst (Mike Haehnel, also out Informer administrator) to create custom computed columns in Datatel and my continually expanding use of calculated columns in JavaScript (thank you to the Entrinsik support team members Jason, Tim, and Holly for their continued help!) to simplify the output data, the process of updating this report was simplified to the extent that it is now run by each end user, as needed and in real time. Furthermore, the ability to have multiple reports refreshing on different sheets in the same Excel workbook allowed for expansion of the report’s functions by including additional source files for various purposes. Now the report is only maintained by virtue of a bi-weekly “sanity check” and to be modified in the face of changes to how we store data, which is rare.

What features of Informer were useful in meeting this challenge?

Live Excel and the incorporation of JavaScript for calculated columns. Also, the flexibility of being able to link files at the selection stage is VERY beneficial.

What organizational benefit was realized by this approach?

In addition to this report now being at the end user’s fingertips, the time saved adds up! At 5 hrs per week saved this equates to roughly 7 weeks’ worth of man hours per year that I now have to spend on other projects, nearly all of which are Informer based.

In short, time saved equals money saved for the college which is as “bottom line” as it gets when it comes to organizational benefits.

For a demonstration of Informer or a FREE 30day trial, email sales@entrinsik.com or call 888-703-0016.

Back to post