Case Studies

Due to the nature of our business, it’s not normally possible to release customer names. The following are anonymous examples of work undertaken.

Customer: Aviation Software House

Our customer had an important report that was taking over 10 minutes to run for just a month’s worth of data. New requirements mean that the report needed to be run for a year’s worth of data. Obviously a problem!

As is so often the case, the main performance problem was due to subreports. By removing one subreport and modifying the main report to use SQL Expressions in its place, we were able to reduce processing time to less than a minute.
That’s OK, but we can do better!
A few tweaks in the SQL of both the main report and the remaining subreport and processing time is down to about 20 seconds.
That’s a performance improvement from 10 minutes to 20 seconds.
Technologies:
  • Oracle Database
  • Crystal Reports

Customer: Care provider

Our customer switched to Capsule CRM to handle their recruitment process. Capsule provides a really efficient way to create and monitor the recruitment workflow from first contact through interviews to training.

Problem is, the database is ‘up there’ in the cloud. Typically of many cloud platforms, the focus is on data in. Data out is more a case of ‘we provide an API for that’! Having worked with SalesForce on a similar project, Pursuit Technology were a good fit for the project.

Capsule CRM provides a RESTful API to retrieve data. In general, you retrieve XML documents, then import the data to a SQL Server database. Main difficulty is that there currently doesn’t appear to be any ‘nice’ way to do it. After a quick review of methods, we just used simple batch file with Curl to fetch the necessary files, then used SQL to parse the XML and insert/update the reporting database. The process is now scheduled to run every hour, but is so fast that it could probably be done much more frequently. Only limitation is that Capsule limits the number of requests you can make per hour.

Our customer now has a good view of the current status of all applicants in their recruitment pipeline.

Technologies:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Capsule CRM
  • Curl

Customer: Educational Software Company

SAP introduced us to a rapidly growing software company. The reported problem was a with scaling their Crystal Server. The server was using the Report Application Server (RAS) to modify reports on the fly, then present the finished report to the user. We initially expected the problem to be related the use of the Crystal Server SDK, but a code review quickly showed that the integration had been well written.

Next test was to add an additional Report Application Server. This appeared to work, but after a few days the reports started to fail again. We increased the number of servers to nine, but that still only gave a solution that worked for a few days. The only apparent solution was to reboot the server periodically – never ideal.

After much searching, we discovered that there is a problem with RAS whereby some memory fails to be released after viewing a report. This doesn’t matter in the short term, but gradually the server would take the full 2GB of RAM allowed by a 32 bit process. Perhaps we should be glad that RAS isn’t 64 bit!

The final solution was to write a small application that could be scheduled by Crystal Server. The application finds the server that has been running for the longest time, then disables it to prevent it accepting any further requests. Twenty minutes later, once all the report jobs are closed, the server is restarted and enabled. By scheduling this process to run every twenty minutes, all the RAS servers are restarted over the space of nine hours. No users are ever disconnected and all the problems have been solved.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Server
  • C#

Customer: Construction Consultancy

Our Partner’s customer, a construction consultancy, needed a custom report viewer integrating into their web application. Pursuit Technology provided a Visual Studio ‘User Control’ to allow the reporting to be very loosely coupled with their main application.
The final integration provided a dynamic report list that presents a list of reports to a user depending upon their security settings. By using Crystal Reports rather than Business Objects Enterprise, a very tight integration with the application’s security model was possible with very little software licensing cost.

Technologies:

  • Visual Studio
  • Crystal Reports
  • C#

Customer: Security Software Company

Our Partner’s customer required advice on the best way to integrate reporting into their database security software. Pursuit Technology’s long experience of Crystal Reports integration work allowed us to advise them on both the technical and legal issues around the integration.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Reports

Customer: Market Leading Leisure Organisation

We  planned and implemented data migration from multiple source systems into a final data warehouse from which Web Intelligence Reports were created using Universes. Some additional Crystal Reports were also created.
Much of the data came from legacy systems so robust procedures were put in place to ensure the accuracy of the data.

Technologies:

  • Business Objects Enterprise
  • Business Objects Universe Designer
  • Web Intelligence
  • Crystal Reports
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services

Customer: FTSE 100 Utility

The FTSE 100 Utility required very accurate formatting in Crystal Reports. The final reports were to be used for sending out quotes in both pdf and word format. As any frequent user of Crystal Reports knows, this can be an error prone task with seemingly trivial changes to a report changing the final export formatting significantly..
Pursuit Technology’s long experience with Crystal Reports ensured that we were able to produce reports with the very exact formatting required for the task.
To ensure costs were kept to a minimum, a sample database was sent to Pursuit Technology’s office so that all work on the reports could take place remotely. This increased the flexibility we were able to offer as we could then charge by the hour rather than the Less common day rate.
We have now worked on three projects with client and look forward to future work.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Reports
  • Oracle

Customer: Diagnostic Imaging Provider

Project: End to end reporting solution, from data warehouse design through to SharePoint integration.

Pursuit Technology were responsible for enabling reporting across multiple disparate systems. A reporting database (datamart) was designed in Microsoft SQL Server, loaded on a daily basis using Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services. The reports were initially intended to be produced on a monthly basis. However, this soon changed to daily once the business benefits became clear.
For report generation, Crystal Reports Server was used with custom code produced by Pursuit Technology enabling reports to be viewed from the company’s SharePoint site. By using custom code rather than the normal SharePoint integration, a modified view of the report list could be produced to simplify report consumption. In addition, the Crystal Server licenses could be less easily managed to avoid all the problems associated with users holding a license when they fail to logout.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Reports Server
  • Crystal Reports
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Visual Studio
  • C#, aspx

Customer: Canary Wharf based financial organisation

Pursuit Technology partnered with an IT infrastructure company to assist their new customer with their reporting needs. Crystal Reports Server had already been chosen in recognition of its market leading reporting technology.
Initially, Pursuit Technology were involved in planning the number of servers required to allow for development, testing and UAT of Crystal Reports, followed by Live and Disaster Recovery Servers.
Their three servers were installed over two days on VMware Infrastructure, complete with Active Directory Single Sign On. The publishing process was then fully documented and tested in their environment before going live.
Security was setup using AD groups to allow central administration of all users through Active Directory.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Reports Server
  • Crystal Reports

Customer: Automotive Dealership

Pursuit Technology were approached to provide support and consultancy for an existing Crystal Enterprise 10 installation. The system had been in place for some years and now there were a number of problems that needed to be solved.
Over several sessions, we were able to remotely connect to their server to review the problems. Most importantly, we were then able to replicate the issues using our Virtual installations and then test proposed solutions without any impact on the customer’s mission critical server.
Finally, the solutions were implemented at a convenient time for the customer.

Technologies:

  • Crystal Enterprise 10