Leading IT Company Streamlines Customer Reports & Revamps Billing Process

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Nicholas Ranum

Web Developer and Business Analyst

data sources

reports that once took two weeks to create

key metrics for tracking

Executive Summary

Centre Technologies is a leading IT solutions company that provides hardware services and software solutions for businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Part of their service provides a bi-annual report for their clients that includes a scorecard to highlight any performance issues, including where those problems are located and give an overview of the services provided. Though these performance reports are the foundation of the client relationship at Centre Technologies, it was taking them over two weeks to complete a single report. Centre Technologies’ Web Developer and Business Analyst, Nicholas Ranum, realized the company needed a BI solution. With Sisense, Centre Technologies now has real-time dashboards with virtually no ongoing internal effort.

Getting reports in close to real-time was a game-changer for us. Most clients don’t want to see backup scores from several months ago, they want to know what’s happening right now, especially if there are issues.

The Opportunity: Mashing Together Disparate Data Sources

Centre focuses on measuring their customer relationships by ticketing metrics like response time, tickets per day, and percentage of proactive tickets. The security of workstations and servers are monitored a well. They also provide billing information like licensing and device counts to help reconcile their invoices.

To generate all of that information, Nicholas combined data together from their CRM, data warehouse, ConnectWise, LabTech, Veeam, vCenter, Asigra, OpManager, Zerto, and Exagrid. He had to rely on simply ‘eyeballing’ the reports to try and find any unusual activity that needed to be addressed, which was a very time-consuming process and prone to error.

The Challenge: Replacing Archaic Customer Paper Reports

Because the data was spread across many different sources and difficult to consolidate, it was taking two weeks to generate a single bi-annual report. The entire reporting process was manual, from pulling the data to loading it to the actual analysis. The reporting
process wasn’t scalable or reproducible across clients either. This generated bulky reports that were hundreds of pages long and not at all user-friendly.

To make matters worse, clients weren’t using the reports because the information was too difficult to understand and most of the data had become irrelevant by the time the client had received it. Nicholas spent four months trying to pull together a client portal with what he had before and came to the conclusion that Centre Technologies needed to implement a BI solution.

Sisense asset management dashboard
Image: Centre’s Asset Management Dashboard using Sisense

The Search is on

Nicholas tried Sisense’s Proof of Concept and quickly found that it met all their needs and provided excellent support – all at a reasonable price. Originally Nicholas just wanted a BI tool that could act as a developer and reduce their workload but with Sisense, he got that and the ability to make all of their data sources speak the same language, an easy-to-use and attractive interface, and the ability to embed customer-facing dashboards into their application.

Real-Time Insights Make Happier Clients

Data is now refreshed every two hours in the Sisense Elasticubes giving clients close to real-time insights. Centre Technologies’ clients are thrilled with the new visibility on key KPIs and their ability to easily drill into any portion of the data. The company
fostered a more positive customer experience and happier clients who felt more assured seeing that they were getting the best service possible.

Sisense was also deployed internally for Centre Technologies to display their intricate billing process, which pulls in data
from several custom applications. The billing information is then easily visualized, checked, and entered into the billing
system with Sisense.

“Before implementing Sisense, we didn’t have any visibility or automated process for billing, we just had to ‘eyeball’ the bill
to make sure there were no spikes,” said Nicholas. Naturally, clients wanted a clearer way to see the numbers and Centre
Technologies now has a way to easily show clients the exact amount of storage services they are using and paying for.

Sisense has increased accountability internally across departments, which has been very helpful.

Hero Moment

Nicholas built a Sisense dashboard that displayed the storage services for every client’s virtual machines, backups, and archival storage. “We now do all our billing for storage using Sisense. We pull numbers from Sisense and drop them into clients’ agreements to easily update the billing report. Anyone who is paying for storage can now see their services and billing information in the client portal,” explained Nicholas. When Centre Technologies meets with a client now, they always pull up the client Sisense dashboards–which now include a view of their storage billing.

Nicholas’ favorite plugin is a “Switchable Dimensions” plugin he found on the Sisense Developers Community which helped him build the most popular sales dashboard. The dashboard also visualizes Centre Technologies’ sales data in the most accurate way possible–something that just wasn’t possible before Sisense.