Baker Tilly Revas Enhances Client Portal With Logi Analytics
This case study outlines how Revas, the outsourcing arm of Baker Tilly, was able to streamline development and enhance its client portal with Logi Analytics. Due to the product's intuitive nature, Logi Info stood out against competing solutions as the optimal choice for Revas.
Baker Tilly is an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers. Based in the UK, the firm has more than 1,600 employees and more than 250 partners generating a fee income of £190 million, positioning the firm as one of the leading mid-tier accountancy firms.
Revas (Results and Value Added Service) is the outsourcing arm of Baker Tilly. It provides a full range of outsourced accounting, payroll, billing, time recording, and corporate secretariat services for organizations which need a cost-effective, tailored alternative to managing their pivotal back office functions in-house.
Revas was using a combination of Microsoft Reporting Services and Crystal Reports with separate ASP.NET framework applications to deliver its client reporting requirements, but found the technology inadequate for a variety of reasons.
“We needed to upgrade and enhance the existing reporting platforms, as it was looking dated and had no customization capability. We wanted to replace the framework and mirror our corporate image. There were also usability problems. Once you had run a report, it was a hassle to run it again for a different set of parameters.”
“We also had problems with consistency in views between the Web view and PDF exports. Additionally, we had added costs from employing expensive report developers and contractors.”
“We sought a solution that would allow us to provide consistent output with minimum hassle, whilst also enabling us to launch quickly,” stated Kevin Dodson, Associate Director, Baker Tilly Revas Limited.
"Logi Info is very intuitive and enabled us to go to market quickly at a fair cost. None of the things we are doing now could be done with products we were using previously."
“We continued to look at a number of possible solutions including Cognos and BIRT as well as Logi. However, Logi stood out as it was a true Web-based product and could be implemented at a reasonable cost, without us needing to invest significantly in training for our developers. With Logi Info, we could leverage our existing staff with limited Web and SQL experience to write reports. The Logi Info development tools are very intuitive and enabled us to go to market quickly and at a fair cost,” stated Mr. Dodson.
“We were able to pilot our client portal within 90 days. We established a standard, data-driven dashboard with various key indicators, and drill down capabilities. We also customized the look and feel by rebranding the log-in page and embedding jQuery.”
“Unlike our previous solutions, these reports are data driven with output from the database. There is nothing hard-coded in the reports. Users select from a drop down and filters are dynamically displayed from the financial system.”
Expand Access to Data with Dashboards
“Only members of clients’ financial teams have access to the financial system. However, with the new dashboards, senior executives are now able to see details without needing to understand or learn how to use the financial system.”
“Clients can also have customized dashboards. Depending on which client logs in, they are presented with the standard dashboard or their custom, dynamic one. Reporting is more interactive, and customers love it,” stated Mr. Dodson.
“The development of reporting packs for clients is now a database configuration dependent process, as the reports are a single layout across all the clients and are data driven. This provides significant timesaving in our client take-on costs.”
“Previously, reports had to be hard-coded. We couldn’t pass parameters in or manipulate the data in transit dynamically to a different database. Database configuration settings alone would have taken two to three days, and we required a week to write a report. Now deployment takes a fraction of the time,” asserted Mr. Dodson.
Single Development Environment
“The entire application is written with Logi Info, so we no longer need to manage multiple applications. With the old environment, the reporting framework and the report delivery software were two different applications and the link between the two was tough to maintain. None of the things we are doing now could be done with our previous platforms,” recounted Mr. Dodson.
“We had, historically, a problem with support staff managing client passwords in multiple places on multiple third party applications, and they had to do all this manually. This was complicated by some of the applications requiring Active Directory authentication.”
“The Logi framework now allows clients themselves to manage passwords. By using a combination of plug-ins, Web service calls, and SQL scripts, we were able to change the passwords in all of the applications including Active Directory. The flexibility of Logi enabled us to overcome a lack of flexibility in these other systems. This new feature was built in only three days, with another two days for testing,” explained Mr. Dodson.
For security reasons Revas does not allow email facilities in the terminal services environment. With no way to send an email within that environment, users previously had to export to PDF, copy to a local machine, and then email.
“We wrote a process and a Logi report that was able to deliver purchase orders by email and write back to the purchase order system that the email had been set. Users can also review their remittance advices, and send directly to suppliers from there. They can decide what documents to email and when, which saves clients time,” stated Mr. Dodson.
“We wanted documentation to be visible through the reports within the client portal. This was to overcome limitations where clients would want to see a document we had or vice versa. The use of plug-ins, Web integration, and reporting enhancements meant we were able to deliver this elegantly with little custom development on our part. We were able to use an OCR application we already had,” stated Mr. Dodson.
“The use of analysis grids allowed us to not have to send data to clients by spreadsheet. They could actually filter, export, and present the data in the way they wanted to themselves, which is very powerful,” stated Mr. Dodson.
The Logi Analytics Analysis Grid enables Revas to provide clients with extensive data analysis capabilities in a single visual element. Clients are able to analyze and query data in multiple, powerful ways without the company having to provide custom reports. Using the Analysis Grid, Revas’ clients can view purchase ledger transactions, as well as images of uploaded documents and invoices including barcodes.
“We would never have been able to deliver any of this with the previous platforms. Development took us only four days and ordinarily it would have taken months,” concluded Mr. Dodson.