Optimizing workflows and reducing data management costs is a challenging task. This article discusses some of the aspects of this process. Using a centralized database solution improves the cost control and data management in different ways. Total data overview and shorter workflow paths help you to optimize the work process and reduce the coordination times. There is no data redundancy – the costs remain transparent.
Managing data with a specific business logic can be a complex task. When changes are made to the current data or new data is entered, all people related to the data must be notified. That is why the coordination becomes an important part of the data management process. Mainly through different communication paths – verbal or internet communication. However this process is often slowed down, by reduced verbal communication or missing notification techniques. Improving the coordination leads to overall cost reduction and faster work process.
No data redundancy
Data redundancy can be a major problem in vast software infrastructures. Although many software systems implement different standards, in order to remain compatible, they still require a separate data storage, where the data can be modified according to the business logic of the software. This way the number of different data sources increases with the number of software installations. At some point this leads to data redundancy, which normally is reduced by implementing interfaces between the different software components. These are the technical aspects of data redundancy. However data redundancy can arise from the company organisation itself – for example having different departments, whose working areas intersect on one part of the data.
VisionR helps solving the data redundancy problem by standardized interfaces (XML, SOAP) and by using multiple data sources. The object-oriented approach, by which VisionR organizes its data, prevents data redundancy. This improves the transparency, usability and performance of the data handling and keeps the costs low. VisionR’s objects can be used to integrate third parties data from external sources and display it as if it is native data, stored inside VisionR Server. This simplifies the process of integrating different data sources and also helps reducing the data redundancy.
Cost transparency is probably the most important aspect of managing costs related data. When proper data overview is missing, hidden costs emerge and precise cost control becomes difficult. Typically gaining control over the costs is made by dividing the overall costs into separate parts, managed separately. Technically this becomes obligatory, when using different software systems together.
VisionR offers simple ways of generating custom reports. This does not require additional implementation or software customization. Users can generate a report on the topic they need by combining various data sources from different VisionR modules. The process is simple and the reports can either be printed or exported to Microsoft Excel, Adobe PDF or XML.
VisionR Server is centralized application, which coordinates all user interactions and synchronises the data input in real time. In this way the users can keep track of all changes made to the current data they are working on. This technique speeds up the work-flow and reduces communication costs.
Workflow definitions are used to describe the interaction between the participant of a process and are part of the data management process. In complex data structures the number of workflows increases, which leads to more complexity in the management of data as a whole. Employees need to be trained to use different application masks for each workflow in order to become participants in it.
VisionR uses standard user interface components, which leads to standard or similar handling of workflows. The data management process is optimized by using shorter workflow paths and by implementing of advanced techniques like on-demand data retrieval, transparent session synchronization or automated data validation.
Information exchange is an important prerequisite for a successful business. As communication in the modern world is increasingly digitized, every information channel should be used to the maximum extent. Digital information sources can be combined to provide better information exchange between vendors and customers and the employees within a company. Typically a number of information sources are available within a company, which create independent communication paths.
VisionR can be used to connect different information sources by providing a single plattform for information exchange. Standard interfaces to other software systems can be used to compare data and verify the plausibility of reports. New information channels can be created to improve customer and partner relations.
Learn from the past
Paper documentation is already something from the past. Digital information storages like databases provide a much better way of archiving data. A full history of data changes over many years in the past can be used to show the development of costs, contracts, employees, customers and so on.
VisionR provides the ability to historize the changes of important data. Keeping track of the changes of every data cell makes certainly no sense, as the volume of the database storage would grow infinitely. The most important values (e.g. name, code, costs, amounts, contracting partner etc.) are historized per default. In the software customization process any additional property can be set to have a full history of the changes. The standard change history contains information on: who made the change, when was the change made, what was the purpose of the change, old and new value, change comments.
Using a database, containing business relevant data, and the possibility to create different reports on it provide new ways of looking at a problem. Different data views can be used to prove ideas from many different angles, when having to make a decision.
VisionR provides an interactive reporting mechanism, enabling data reports from different points of view. Related data is easy to display and report on with the help of the built-in data relation paths. A predefined set of management reports can be extended to include the customer’s wishes for special reports like sum views, yearly reports, development charts etc.
Keeping data in a database, instead of in separate documents, enables interconnections between relevant data objects. A centralized database solution, together with the possibility to access the stored data anywhere and anytime over intranet or internet, makes it easy for every participant in a process to be informed on the latest developments.
VisionR provides an overview of all the data in the database, which is accessible for the current user. The chance to overlook an important information is reduced by showing relevant data in every context. VisionR provides full data overviews, which are easily filtered and sorted. Big data volumes are the main obstacle for showing data as overview in other software solutions. This is not so in VisionR, because of the special approach to database queries, developed for quick data retrieval. The VisionR query language (VSQL) is backed up by a powerful caching mechanism.