Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District managers make faster, more sound business decisions with Magnitude Angles for Oracle
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s sole purpose is to protect public health and the environment. Everyday, this is accomplished by providing quality service to over one million people in 61 communities in the Greater Cleveland area. Three treatment plants—Easterly, Southerly, and Westerly—treat 240 million gallons of wastewater daily from homes and businesses, and return clean water to Lake Erie.
With the Magnitude Angles for Oracle Help File, we saw an opportunity to finally be able to bring together IT and the business side of the organization because we’d have a common way to work together. Angles for Oracle enabled IT to continue to use technical language and yet business users would immediately recognize the field because of the Angles for Oracle Help portion.
Manager of IT Project Management Services NE Ohio Regional Sewer District
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s IT Department implemented Oracle E-Business Suite to better serve the organization’s Finance and Human Resources (HR) departments. As part of this implementation, the team also began to roll out Oracle Discoverer as a reporting engine since it came pre-packaged with the Oracle E-Business Suite of applications. However, initial feedback from the District’s end-users confirmed that Discoverer was “complex and cumbersome” and not as user-friendly as expected. This made it a challenge for users who were not accustomed to creating reports they needed on their own.
“We had our fair share of experiences with different reporting tools,” said Humberto Sanchez, Manager of IT Project Management Services at the District. “In the past, we had resistance to adopt because some of these tools can be quite technical. What we came to find out within the IT Department is that it didn’t matter what tool was used, that inherently the users need to have an understanding of their data and how to ultimately find it within their application’s table structure. For example, they want a report that gives them a view of employee salaries and they know all the data labels for this, but when they looked at the Oracle tables or field names, data elements are presented without using common names, and are therefore very difficult for a user to identify.”
Sanchez and his team determined that IT would have to closely collaborate with end-users to gather the information necessary to help the organization report, manage, and run smoothly. “We assumed there was no reporting tool out there that could magically prepare the report a user requested without a lot of customization and data mapping exercises.”
During this time a District business group member attended an Oracle Application User Group Conference and witnessed a demonstration of the Angles for Oracle technology. After connecting with other local organizations that use Angles for Oracle, the District’s IT Department discovered they were not the only ones who struggled to obtain data from Oracle applications and that Angles for Oracle was a tool that could be very helpful to them.
The initial Angles for Oracle roll-out was limited to users within the HR and Finance Departments who would be responsible for generating the necessary reports for their Departments and other internal customers.
With a long-term vision of providing mid- to senior-level management with the ability to use Angles for Oracle, the IT team and Finance business users developed a pilot group that represented several key departments within the 600-person organization that were responsible for creating reports or required data to manage their budget areas throughout the District. This group included a range of people from those who were extremely technically savvy to those who had no technical experience. After the Angles for Oracle training session, the group was given a month to use Angles for Oracle to practice accessing and utilizing the information they needed with this tool.
The pilot went very well, drawing praise from all the users, who confirmed that Angles for Oracle was so easy to use that an official training session was not even necessary. The group successfully used Angles for Oracle to find their data and build reports with drilling capabilities enabling managers to review their budget areas and make timely decisions for planning purposes.
“Angles for Oracle has been so well received across our organization that interest has spread word of mouth and is now expanding to people that weren’t part of the original pilot project. We’re hearing more and more people saying, ‘Hey, I want Angles for Oracle,’” said Donice Bell, the pilot’s Project Manager. The IT Department is now expanding to additional District management staff to enable the maintenance and management of their respective budgetary areas.
One of the larger objectives for the Angles for Oracle implementation was to streamline and increase the efficiency of reporting processes across the District. Traditionally, the District’s overall operational budget had been managed through a monthly budget report that came from the Finance Department for each one of the cost or budget centers. Finance would print out these reports and send them off to each appropriate manager. Because the reports generally took at least a few days to arrive, the information was already outdated by the time it was received. Finance had also been handling end-of-year budgeting in this way, and due to the complexity of that process, the annual data that arrived on manager’s desks was typically one to two months out of date as well.
The District has eliminated the old system of printing budget reports and the Finance Department has conveyed a savings of roughly eight hours per month by using Angles for Oracle. Reports now arrive electronically, in real time, enabling the District’s managers to make faster, more sound business decisions. And while these savings are modest, the larger benefit is the ability to provide the reports on time or at the click of a button and give more control to staff in managing their budgets. The District’s goal of using technology effectively has been achieved.
The IT Department plans to expand its community of users to provide the capability to connect and extract data from multiple Oracle-based enterprise applications. This will be another opportunity for District management to obtain relevant data for planning and reporting purposes that will support its mission of providing high-quality wastewater treatment.