Expression Networks Supports the Department of Defense Command Decisions With Reduced Time and Effort

Executive Summary

Expression Networks was founded in 1997 as a provider of network support services to government agencies. They have fine-tuned their technology and management proficiencies within the FAA, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of State, Department of Veterans Affairs, DoD Medical, and Military Health Systems. The reporting requirements for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) are quite strict and the data is spread across a variety of storage engines, making reporting laborious and time-consuming. Abir Ray, Director of Business Development, had the task to simplify and modernize this process. One benefit after installing Sisense was that report generation dropped from 80 man-hours to just two man-hours.

The Opportunity: Fine-Tune Reports

Expression Networks e-business integration solutions address the most important issues companies face as they make the transition to an Internet-driven economy. These solutions help companies achieve greater competitiveness through new sales channels, improved productivity, and enhanced responsiveness to customers. However, they had no BI solution in place. Being able to tweak and fine-tune reports, as new patterns and information emerged, was an important part of the process that had to be addressed. The rigorous custom reporting requirements from the Department of Defense provided the additional push to find a better way.

The Challenge: Custom Reports With Minimal Effort

Abir is tasked with taking care of the requests and requirements of the DISA portion of the DoD. DISA needed a reporting and business intelligence solution that allowed them to easily create custom reports that were, at the time, being manually culled together through
very difficult and time-consuming efforts. These reports are vital to DoD in assisting command decisions that affect troops on the ground. Data was being stored in SQL Server, MongoDB,Oracle 11g, and various CSV extracts. Abir wasn’t seeing the accuracy their customers required in his current process, which was keeping four staffers busy full-time.

The Search is on

Abir and his team reviewed a half dozen different BI solutions in addition to Sisense. Ease of use and cost were big factors in the decision-making process. In Sisense, they found a company that was really interested in partnering with and helping them use the product

In order to see if Sisense could do what they needed, Abir’s team set up an internal prototyping environment to test if a BI solution would handle the volume of data and reporting requirements for DISA. Their tests required them to filter down 2TB’s worth of data to a 30GB SQL Server table that had what they wanted to be able to report against. The results were impressive. All of the complex requirements were realized with relative ease. The test beds were all proved out internally before being put into production. Because of the modest hardware requirements of Sisense, having this work on its own server was a minimal investment.

The Sisense environment is so stable and easy to work with.

Increase Accuracy, Decrease Effort

Abir’s measurement of success came down to customer satisfaction. Was his customer able to get what they wanted in a timely and simple fashion? With that as his standard of measure, Expression Networks reached a resounding “yes.” According to Abir, the Sisense environment is so stable and easy to work with that the only time anyone has to really spend any time with it is to produce a new dashboard or report. By taking the manual component out of the equation on report generation, you aren’t reliant on the continued and focused interest of a human being to ensure clients aren’t missing some critical bit of information. This increased accuracy is vital to any company, but with the DoD it takes on an increased level of importance.

Hero Moment

Abir was able to entirely free up four employees from developing reports, to work on other tasks at Expression Networks. Report development time has dropped from 80 hours to just two hours and design is a trivial effort. The report accuracy now is never in question, Abir has full confidence in their Sisense-powered, 360 degree view of the data. The Expression Networks customers are extremely happy and now have access to real-time information that they can drill down into, for even the smallest detail.