David Heiss, vice president of sales operations with OneSource, talks about how his organization uses crystalreports.com.
Tell us about OneSource.
OneSource is a global provider of business information. We operate a database of over 17 million companies and 21 million executives with company profiles, executive profiles, news, analyst reports, all rolled together into a single solution. We’re headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts; we have locations globally in the U.K., Australia, Singapore, and India. We have about 220 employees globally.
Tell us about your role with OneSource.
I’m the VP of sales operations. I manage all of our sales planning, sales metrics, and reporting – I also do a lot of marketing metrics and marketing reporting. I manage our commission plans and special incentive programs, and I do all of our forecasting.
What business challenges prompted you to seek out crystalreports.com?
I’ve been a fan of Crystal Reports for a number of years. I’ve used it off and on for about the last 10 years. One of the challenges is, unless you have Crystal Reports installed on your desktop, you can’t view or open the reports. There also isn’t an easy distribution mechanism to distribute reports. So what I was really looking for was some way that I could set up reports to run on a regular basis, at the same time every day, and distribute them to the various sales and marketing managers in the company so that they could look at them whenever they had a need. I looked at a few other BusinessObjects solutions, but crystalreports.com was the most cost-effective.
Tell us about your “before” scenario.
All of our reporting was done either directly from our CRM with its very rudimentary reporting mechanisms [or] a lot of data was pulled into Access or Excel and sorted in pivot tables. While that’s effective, it’s not very efficient. It requires manual intervention. I wanted a system that would automate this whole process so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time running reports.
Do you tap in to other data sources?
We have a number of SQL databases that I report off of – and then occasionally, [I report] directly from our CRM.
Describe the implementation experience.
Like most on-demand applications, crystalreports.com implements very easily. You provide usernames and passwords to all the people who want to view the reports – and then you either post the reports directly or set up the scheduler to run reports at a specific time. Once they’re set up, they just run, and you don’t have to worry about it.
How did you promote acceptance of crystalreports.com by users?
The biggest way I got people to use it was I told them that [crystalreports.com] was the only place that they could get reports. Any time they asked for a new report or they asked for some data, I would constantly direct them there. If a report didn’t exist, I would post the new report there. In a Pavlovian way, now they just go there whenever they want information.
What training was required for your users?
Almost none – about a 10-minute session that we tacked on to a team meeting to say, “Here’s crystalreports.com, here’s your lead reports, here’s your forecast reports, here’s your support reports; let me know if you need anything else.” It’s really very simple.
Contrast the on-demand deployment with a typical on-premise software implementation.
I’m a big fan of on-demand applications because of their low cost of ownership. You don’t have to maintain any database servers or application servers or web servers. All you need is access to the Internet. Plus, you have access to your information wherever you are. So [if] one of my managers is working from home or working at a remote office, they can access this same repository of information.
What do you like most about crystalreports.com?
The scheduler is probably my favorite feature – because I can run 30 different reports at the exact same time every day, and they’re all posted before even our U.K. employees get into the office in the morning.
How has the management team responded to crystalreports.com?
Very well – like I said, they ingrained it into their daily operations. This is where they go to get their reports.
What return on investment have you realized?
The biggest impact that this has had has [been to put] information at the managers’ fingertips – so that they don’t have to go digging for every little piece – it’s right there.
How has crystalreports.com helped you do your job better?
It means I don’t have to run reports every day – so it’s made my job a heck of a lot easier. I have time to do other things. Implementing crystalreports.com was one of the first things that I tackled [at OneSource], and it brought a lot more information into people’s hands than was available before.
How does crystalreports.com align with your security policies?
It actually aligns fairly well – most of the users use it embedded within our CRM. It has single sign on, which is great, because it means they don’t have to remember yet another password. The security customization features are pretty strong in that I can set up a set of users with access to only certain folders. So while the sales managers can see both the marketing reports and the forecast, marketing can’t see the forecast. It provides us with [a way to limit] information to just the people who need it.
Describe the reporting capabilities of crystalreports.com.
Crystal Reports is the actual reporting software [used with crystalreports.com] and that is one of the best on the market. As I said, I’ve used it for probably 10 years, and it’s my single favorite package. I’ve used about four or five others, and none of them have come even close to comparing to the flexibility and the power – the dynamic ability to change data or change the way you’re looking at data.
Tell us the report scheduling and the types of reports that you use.
The biggest area where we use report scheduling is in our marketing reports – where, though new leads come in every day, and sales people are putting activities against reports, and deals are closing every day, in the grand scheme of things, things don’t change all that much throughout the day. But from day to day, there are some significant changes.
I have all of our marketing reports scheduled to run at 3:30 in the morning, Eastern, which is about 8:30 in the morning for our U.K. office. When they first get [into the office] in the morning, they can look at the marketing reports and see what kind of lead flow they’ve had the previous day, and what kind of activity has happened the previous day. By the time the U.S. managers get in, they can see the same thing.
Our forecasting reports update once an hour, so the manager can see right on the report when the data was refreshed – and they know that it’s no more than an hour old.