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Entrinsik Informer Review: "How did we function without it?"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biEntrinsik InformerUnspecified8.284101
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Updated August 19, 2015

Entrinsik Informer Review: "How did we function without it?"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
4.4.1

Overall Satisfaction with Entrinsik Informer

We have rolled Informer out across our campus. We went live with Informer in February 2011, coming from a dos-based reporting tool where we had 8 people writing reports. We now have 101 different staff members who have written their own reports. We have 211 users on our campus who have run reports on their own. Most of them received one 2-hour training class to run and manipulate their reports. This has certainly de-centralized the functions away from our IT office running all of the reports. Additionally, this is allowing the end-users to manage their own data on their own timeline. I have been a data analyst for the University for over 20 years, and this tool is by far the easiest to manage.
We recently rolled out dynamic dashboards and 43 report-writers attended the training session.
  • The terms are easily understood. Our report writers and users have an easy time plotting the data to make sure they are receiving the information they need.
  • The ability to schedule on-going reports has been a tremendous time saver. We currently have 260 reports running in a "hands off" mode so they can be delivered to upper management for their needs. Included in this list is a pool of "audit" reports where supervisors can receive a report if there are issues with common data entry standards.
  • Security is easy to manage. We are able to allow all of the appropriate granular security with each user group.
  • The ability to use LiveExcel interaction with our database allows some of our administrative assistants to use their Windows Office skills rather than having to login to the tool itself.
  • While we do like the new Dashboards, the scale-ability of the graphical representation would be helpful.
  • We had developed a list of "wishes" and submitted them to the Entrinsik forum... and lo and behold, when release 4.4.1 came out, the issues were addressed! We particularly needed the ability to copy parts of the set up from one instance to another. We continue to be users of the Wiki and Forums available to clients.
Before using Informer, we used "Query Builder" and staff found that very difficult to manage and write reports. We do use Crystal Reports and while it contains some of the output functions we need, it is not end-user friendly and generally requires extensive training to be able to run the most basic reports. After further review, Crystal Reports has been removed from the "standard tools" list, in favor of Informer.
This product has become the campus "norm" and the expectations of staff have grown. We are adding new staff and new departments on a regular basis. All training sessions offered across campus fill up immediately. There is a pent-up demand for self-controlled data mining and Informer is the tool to help get that done.
We are close to 95% of the administrative staff using Informer, either as a writer or recipient of scheduled reports. In most cases, Informer training has become a 'day one' activity for new administrative staff.
The enhanced usability of the dashboards with multiple datasources, like Google Docs has helped; the ability to use the underlying reporting tool on Google Docs would be used if it were available. Otherwise, we have connected SQL and UniData databases with ease.
This is one of the strength's of the product. End Users can determine where they share data; and where they do not. The new "Burst Email" functionality has made a lot of users quite Happy!
Good Charts, Dashboards are a snap to setup and there have been a lot of upgrades to the product in the past 12 months. We are missing the ability to manage the scale on the dashboard for side-by-side comparisons
Our Room Scheduling software has some canned reports that we are not able to replicate in Informer due to the inability to un-align columns of data for a multi-line report. Allowing the report to contain lengthy comments fields in a row under the basic data.
~~This is still true~~~jbowker 11/10/14

Entrinsik Informer Feature Ratings

Using Entrinsik Informer

Users and Roles

Full cross-sample of all administrative departments from Finance, Purchasing, Human resources, Advancement, Admissions, Financial Aide, Student Accounts, Student Affairs, Athletics, Marketing, Information Technology, Event Scheduling, International Programs, Provost/Academic Affairs. Campus Security.

Support Headcount Required

1 - We have one person tasked with management of the product (Security, File Setup and Staff Training); which takes about 1/2-time FTE. Our Systems maintenance team manages the software updates on an as-needed basis, which is about quarterly.

Future Planned Uses

  • With a new Capital Campaign underway, we hope to accelerate the distribution of the Key Indicators to the full committee in a real-time method.

Business Processes Supported

  • Data Mining for research on the KPIs ~ Admission, Retention, Financial Reporting
  • Data Delivery for Financial Reports on a scheduled basis to the appropriate staff and budget officers
  • Data Analysis for a recent conversion completed by the Advancement Office where we managed the entire conversion specifications by side-by-side data analysis of two different datasources.

Innovative Uses

  • Using the Dashboards, for Faculty Departments to identify course needs to facilitate scheduling appropriate classes and capacity for upcoming terms.
  • Using Informer to identify changes to Faculty Advisement records for ease of scheduling

Evaluating Entrinsik and Competitors

Products Replaced

Yes - a DOS-based Query product that required massive IT support and had limited user-access

Key Differentiators

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Vendor Reputation
  • Third-party Reviews
User-Friendly was a key component. After a single two-hour training session, our power users are set to go.

Evaluation Lessons Learned

We surveyed our administrative database co-workers (Ellucian); and reviewed a few of their suggestions, and Informer by Entrinsik always rose to the top.

Entrinsik Implementation

Implementation

10
We bought the product on a Thursday morning, and we were writing reports on Friday afternoon. We did take about a month to manage the Mapping, Linking and Security to allow us to open it up across campus.
We are now mapping from as many third-party vendors as we can to enable the creation of more ad-hoc reporting.

Implementation Details / Implementation Partner

  • Implemented in-house

Implementation Phases

Change Management Lessons

Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled - It took about a year for the administrative units to understand that we were providing them with a tool to manage their own data. There is a still a small modicum of trust issues, mostly relating to understanding the data, and not the tool used to provide the information.

Implementation Issues

  • The understanding that "group" training is generally not a reality on a College Campus. Due to the confidentiality of the data components, the training must be done in very small groups so they will be training on their own data.
  • The willingness of some departments to take on the responsibility of retrieving and reviewing their own data. This had previously fallen to IT and an Institutional Research department. With all of the new federal regulations in just about every department on our campus, they are understanding that they need to control this review.

Entrinsik Support

Support

10
Without a doubt this is a strength of the product. The support team responds quickly, accurately and understands the issues.

Entrinsik Informer Customer Support Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None

Bug Resolution

Exceptional Examples of Entrinsik Informer Support

We were setting up a training class for Dashboard Users, and we were having an issue on security settings. In less than an hour, all of the appropriate flags were set and we were ready to go.

Using Entrinsik

Usability

10
Our End-Users like it for data retrieval and management and that is the mission of our IT unit.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None

Easy Tasks

  • From an IT perspective: The Initial setup, Datasource mapping and file-joins are quite easy.
  • From an end-user, If they know their data, the reporting is quite simple. The user still has to know what they are trying to identify in the report.
  • The dashboard setup takes about 15 minutes to learn

Difficult Tasks

  • The report writers have to understand the underlying database file structure. The Informer tool is quite simple to manage if you know it. We have tried to provide tools to the reporting units on their file structure as an aid.

Entrinsik Reliability

Reliability and Availability

10
We have 10 concurrent licenses and we average between 6-8 at any given time during the day; and we host the application.

Performance

10