Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Whitepaper


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Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Whitepaper

  1. 1. Greater Manchester Fire and RescueImplementing a Streamlined, PowerfulIncident Reporting Solution
  2. 2. Overview Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Authority is the United Kingdom’s second largest fire and rescue authority. It employs over 2,500 staff, operating 41 fire stations across ten districts. In total, it covers an area of nearly 500 square miles, with a culturally diverse population of 2.5 million people. During 2007, it attended over 49,000 incidents. The organisation also works in the community, carrying out home fire risk assessments, conducting visits to schools and advising businesses on fire safety. We selected Manigent because of their evident knowledge and expertise around both Microsoft and CorVu technologies Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Authority’s that Manigent was an ideal partner for Greater Corporate Support department provides Manchester Fire & Rescue. performance information to management and borough commanders. This information is Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue were obtained by a Management Information impressed with Manigent’s willingness to add System (MIS) from data automatically recorded value to the project, going beyond the initial for call-out incidents. In 2009, the Authority remit to put in place small measures that introduced a new Incident Recording System provided significant, long lasting benefits. As (IRS), and commissioned Manigent to develop an example, a calendar was added to the SQL a reporting suite. In addition, Manigent was reporting database. This was then available asked to improve the existing MIS reporting for use by any other SQL system, thus suite by making it more robust, flexible and creating consistency for reporting by period less costly to maintain. and ensuring that periods in each SQL system were the same. Manigent delivered a cost-effective, sustainable, and easy to maintain solution As part of the implementation, Manigent that provides five years of MIS and IRS data ensured that Greater Manchester Fire & in a consistent, easily accessible format for Rescue staff had a thorough understanding of the management, statutory and ad-hoc reporting system and its capabilities, leaving behind and analysis. a solid foundation of in-house knowledge. Paul Sharples, Head of Corporate Support at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue selected the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Manigent because they were able to collectively Authority said: “I found our Manigent offer over 25 years’ experience of implementing contacts exceptional, their knowledge of and deploying CorVu. In addition, as a CorBusiness and SQL Server was excellent, Microsoft partner, Manigent has in-depth but they also had an exceptional ability to experience of Microsoft Business Intelligence understand our requirements and translate technology. This unique combination of CorVu them into easy-to-use technology solutions…. and Microsoft expertise and experience meant Manigent really did an exceptional job for us”2 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
  3. 3. A Complicated Legacy SystemPrior to engaging Manigent, Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue had a complex architectureand process for managing and accessing performance information. Manigent redevelopedthe organisation’s data management infrastructure, introduced a new user interface,enhanced report development and deployment, as well as ad-hoc reporting.For several years, users accessed performance limited. Some of the prompts and selectioninformation using a web-based menu to sequences were convoluted, whichaccess custom reports generated using dissuaded users from exploring the datacorporate reporting tools from CorVu™, within the system. Often, users preferred toCorBusiness™ and HyperVu™. While these download portions of data to manipulatetools provided accurate information, with Excel; users regularly made requestsmaintenance of the system was convoluted that required the reworking of existingand time consuming; it couldn’t offer the reports that led to a mass of developmentflexibility and usability that was increasingly structures. Ultimately, the reporting systemdemanded, and there was limited provision grew to over 4,000 files.for ad-hoc analysis.Although generally happy with the CorVuproducts that had provided a solid foundationfor reporting, the Corporate Supportdepartment felt it needed to improve andsignificantly expand deployment across theweb. With a difficult-to-use interface,hampered by a slow online menu system andsluggish report rending, the legacy GreaterManchester Fire & Rescue reporting systemrequired a complex filing and schedulingsystem to deploy reports and analytics to theweb. The process of adding or editing reportsand links sometimes resulted in inconsistentcontent and presentation: menus and webpages were constructed using a timeconsuming and cumbersome “briefing book”tool with limited image management, alignmenttools and no convenient style controls.To access valuable organisationalinformation, Corporate Support had tostruggle with inconsistent report creationand editing processes. The group developedregular reports by scheduling multipleOracle database extracts throughout themonth. This required a complex dateformula and meant that static, historical datahad to be rebuilt. There was no option forselecting performance information byvariable date ranges, so trend analysis wasGreater Manchester Fire and Rescue 3
  4. 4. The underlying data schema was based on an incident data, Greater Manchester Fire & older version of Oracle containing hundreds Rescue often accessed records from multiple of tables many of which were simply legacy database sources. These reports were created enteties and no longer accessed. Often, these with complex structures of joins and filters, tables had cryptic names, numerous columns, and were used to cross-reference specific over 50 code lookup tables and an overwhelming indicators that categorised thousands of number of fields, which made it difficult to utilise incidents over the current and previous years. the reporting tool’s data dictionary. There were A data extraction then had to be scheduled, huge lists of schema – and no search utility – delivering a static report and a chart created in which the report designer had to locate the on the single indicator data set. This process desired items, and limitations in the schema was repeated for each indicator. A single frequently disallowed the join, necessary for error would necessitate the rebuilding of an data extractions. Reporting was additionally entire pyramid of related extract files. slowed due to date fields comprising time stamps, which necessitated an entire year’s For example, a complete set of indicators for worth of data be extracted then filtered for a single report relating to a specific borough the required periods. meant that each indicator pyramid had to be combined into one massive joined data set of In order to develop and deploy performance over 50 branches. Upon completion, each indicator reports, such as the national fire indicator report and its associated charts were service performance indicators (NIs) that presented online. combined strategic target data with actual4 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
  5. 5. Introduction of an Incident Reporting SystemIn March 2009, the structure of the underlying Oracle data source was changed withthe introduction of a new Incident Recording System. Now, two data schemes – theorganisation’s old MIS and its new IRS – had to be addressed. Both systems containedessential incident data, but the process of reporting had become unmanageable. Inorder to compare data from the MIS and from the IRS, personnel were limited to specificpriority reports that required labour-intensive collation, combining data from mismatchedincident recording systems.Two reporting schema were required toexploit data from the old MIS and new IRSsystems, and the overlapping structures madeselection of target data very confusing.Because of these limitations, data wasextracted in very specific queries toproprietary files. These files were thenfiltered, joined, appended or merged into apyramid of related files to make up thedesired data combinations.With each update to the system, menus andreports, the collection of files, folders,schedules and menu pages grew morecomplex. However, the CorBusinesscorporate reporting tool still offered powerfuland effective reporting features, which theorganisation could exploit to improve theend-user experience. Greater Manchester Fire& Rescue engaged Manigent to leverage thepower of CorVu’s CorBusiness, whilestreamlining the organisation’s datainfrastructure.Simplified ArchitectureManigent redeveloped the organisation’s reporting system architecture into one thatwas simple, robust and flexible. A new incident reporting data layer was put into place,comprising a single database that combines SQL database tables and views, and onemulti-dimensional cube. This data layer provides a simpler, faster single source of datathat is accessible via Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue’s existing CorVu corporate reportingtool as well as standard Microsoft Office tools such as Excel.As the organisation moves toward are indexed to improve performance. Onlydecommissioning the legacy MIS system, data from the new IRS system is extractedhistoric data is stored in an archive, rather live, and the data layer is refreshed eachthan being reconstructed from the Oracle morning using three SQL Server Integrationdatabase with each job. These archived tables Services packages.Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue 5
  6. 6. Simple, Yet Robust Reporting The underlying database schema is now simply ten tables, each of which contains only those columns required for statistical reporting; all complex joining of data sources is performed using Microsoft Integration Services. As well as enabling us to be more productive, Manigent’s new system has reduced our costs by £20K per year With this new structure, report designers can Manchester Fire & Rescue’s Microsoft Office develop reports more quickly, using live SharePoint Services 2007 system. Each report queries against the data layer. Comprehensive has a unique URL in a SharePoint page view, date prompts and current month columns help with the parameter defined on the URL options. the report developer automate a number of relative date constraints on the data, such as: By introducing true ad-hoc reporting, Manigent “current month year-to-date versus last year-to has empowered Greater Manchester Fire & date”. This allows a significantly smaller Rescue to get specific, actionable information number of records to be retrieved and reports when it’s needed. Users can download to be displayed more quickly. It is no longer template Excel files containing pivot tables of necessary to schedule data in order to create the incident statistics and then select their own pyramids of scheduled queries. Rather, an IRS ad-hoc analysis data, choosing various date cube allows for multi-dimensional analysis and combinations from five years of current and instant aggregation of statistics, which can be historical data, seamlessly combined from both presented via Excel charts and pivot tables. the IRS and MIS. Each morning, a business- specific OLEDB cube is automatically refreshed All indicator data has been collated into a with new data, from which the Corporate Support dedicated data mart, with one view, one team has developed template pivot tables in Excel actual/target table and a calendar lookup table. workbooks to provide a starting point for As a result, all performance statistics related to analysis. over twenty indicators for current and previous year periods are presented instantly in one These Excel files are uploaded to the parameterised report. This master report SharePoint document library and files are displays target level comparisons using one linked within various pages in the view as the source query, greatly simplifying performance-reporting web site. When users the process, and improving performance and select the desired Excel file, it opens with a live enhancing choice for the end user. link to the underlying cube. Users cannot overwrite or alter the original Excel workbooks, Using the functionality of CorBusiness when but they are able to manipulate the report by reporting on a specific indicator, users can changing the rows, columns, filters and layout simply navigate through one prompt to display of pivot tables to suit their data requirements. that indicator in a template report. This is The resulting file can be printed, copied or accompanied by a drill-down chart to allow for saved locally, so users can share their analysis ad hoc analysis of the indicator to borough, and insights. Because the base data is derived ward and month levels. Both report and drilldown from a controlled source that cannot be altered, chart are presented on a dedicated the organisation is working from one version of indicator dashboard page within Greater the truth.6 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
  7. 7. A Standard, Consistent & User-Friendly InterfaceManigent significantly improved the reporting system’s user interface, leveragingMicrosoft Office SharePoint Services 2007. This solution exploits style guides to providea consistent experience for users. This has improved navigation of Greater ManchesterFire & Rescue’s reporting system and facilitated rapid response to user demands. Pagescan be redesigned quickly, links and explanatory text can be added, and additionalreports can be inserted as necessary.Several standard reports have been deployed,built with a consistent, template-based layout “I found Manigent’sand colour scheme. These reports are visually consultantssimilar to the previous reports, but are much outstanding. Theirfaster to display as navigable web pages with knowledge ofaccompanying information that facilitates CorBusiness and SQLbetter understanding of the information Server was excellentpresented. For example, additional corporate but they also had ansupport reports and documentation can be extraordinary ability toincluded alongside the incident reports to understand ourcreate a true portal for the delivery of requirements andperformance reporting services for Greater translate them intoManchester Fire & Rescue. easy-to-use technology solutions… Manigent really did an exceptional job for us” Paul Sharples, Head of Corporate SupportA Powerful SolutionManigent cost-effectively and sustainably redeveloped Greater Manchester Fire &Rescue Authority’s business intelligence system to maximise ease of use, flexibility andthe power of data management and ad-hoc reporting.This successful project has allowed Greater Each user of the system received in-depthManchester Fire & Rescue to better utilise its training and understood how to get the mostperformance information in order to plan out of the new data layer. Manigent finishedmore effectively and to quickly take action in the project leaving behind a solid foundationareas of concern. By simplifying the system’s of in-house knowledge. Manigent alsoarchitecture, Manigent has empowered the utilised its CorVu expertise to provideorganisation to easily obtain “one version of additional CorVu training, expandingthe truth” using base data derived from a awareness of features and functionality andcontrolled source and presented via a versatile providing new skills that would help staff toonline performance reporting portal. During make the most of the system. The systemthis project, Manigent consultants applied now offers the best of both worlds, using thetheir experience of CorVu products to build powerful reporting ability of CorVu with theon the existing skills of the Corporate Support functionality of Microsoft products to deliverstaff in using CorBusiness and HyperVu to a user-friendly responsive system.maximise the investment in these products.Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue 7
  8. 8. About Manigent Manigent is a different type of consultancy, one that bridges the gap between traditional management consultancies and technology vendors. We are a specialist performance and risk management consultancy delivering integrated business and technology solutions. Through the combination of our thought- leadership approach, risk-based performance and unique software application StratexPoint, we are able to reduce our clients’ project costs by, on average 20%, whilst improving the achievement of performance targets, reducing riskrelated losses and improving the cost and allocation of capital. For more information about Manigent, visit CorVu, CorBusiness and HyperVu are trademarks of Rocket Software Inc. 117 Waterloo Road London SE1 8UL T: +44 (0)20 7921 0022 E: W: www.manigent.com8 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue