It’s easy for businesses to be consumed with attending to daily schedules, servicing existing partners and customers, and driving towards goals and objectives. What makes doing business special is when your organization can aspire towards achieving a bigger purpose.
What greater purpose is there than helping others in need?
TimeXtender’s core business is providing its technology to help business users within an organization have instant access to data. The company also has a steadfast commitment for being involved in community and charitable events.
Recently, its technology focus and commitment to community service crossed paths by providing assistance on two major fronts. First, TimeXtender technology helped Puerto Rico with its efforts following Hurricane María, and second, the company’s technology supports Direct Relief with its global humanitarian efforts, most recently, helping those impacted by Covid-19.
Puerto Rico Uses TimeXtender After Hurricane María
Early in 2018, just after Category 5 Hurricane María directly hit Puerto Rico, the property tax authority, Centro de Recaudación de Ingresos Municipales or CRIM, launched an initiative to improve its billing and collections processes.
Citizens are not always naturally enthusiastic about paying taxes, and they don’t want to see processes and systems poorly implemented or taxes being collected unevenly or spent carelessly. Add to that the fact that time matters in government, especially when citizens want accountability. A few years back, Puerto Rico’s government had attracted media attention as some citizens had inquired about the property tax billing and collecting systems.
The CRIM’s potential revenue estimation represented a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, but only 22% of the funds were being received due to billing and collections problems directly related to data silos, and lack of accurate information within CRIM’s many information systems.
A decision was made to update. TimeXtender technology was used for this initiative. One of TimeXtender’s partners, Truenorth Corporation, worked in Puerto Rico on this project.
The project goal was to deliver a complete data warehouse and advanced analytics platform. This would hopefully help CRIM increase its income by at least 10% to satisfy the many needs of its citizens.
To begin, Truenorth’s evaluation of CRIM’s data systems identified discrepancies in the properties pending for appraisals, in CRIM’s billing system, and in the digital cadastral database.
Truenorth was able to quantify over $250 million in specific potential yearly gains, representing a 31% increase in revenue.
Using TimeXtender, development efforts went from nine weeks to just 15 days and a prototype was put in place in two days. A Microsoft SQL Server on-premises data warehouse with Power BI for front-end visualizations was built. Data silos within CRIM’s billing system, appraisal system and digital cadastral system were integrated, and required data sources were connected; including Oracle databases, SQL databases, a geographic information system, Hansen software and support services for client notification.
With TimeXtender, code was generated that was required for integrating all the multiple data sources and to deliver the consolidated and cleansed data for visualizations. The platform was also used to automatically produce data lineage and documentation for agency oversight.
Development was done on data pipelines to cleanse, transform and aggregate the data within the data warehouse to provide multi-dimensional analysis and data mining to support Power BI reports with real-time alerts and to visualize data. This also enabled data from various other government agencies to identify new income streams and reduce fraud.
TimeXtender is very proud of this accomplishment as it truly helped a government, in rapid time, achieve immediate and significant results.
TimeXtender Technology Helps Direct Relief
Another community service success story was with Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid non-profit organization that helps improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Most recently, Direct Relief has been helping those impacted by Covid-19.
To accomplish its global humanitarian efforts, Direct Relief relies heavily on data, analysis, and reporting. Its use of information has grown exponentially as the organization’s role in the world has expanded.
Years back, Direct Relief began using QlikView. This data-discovery tool enabled Direct Relief to improve its analysis and reports, and to show stakeholders the status of its humanitarian activities. While Qlik gave Direct Relief’s visibility into its data like never before, the organization’s lack of a data warehouse and a comprehensive data model made data sourcing a challenge. A lot of the data was hard to access as it resided in several areas, including SAP data, donor and fundraising records, Excel spreadsheets, and other sources.
The first step performed with TimeXtender was data modeling to provide an understanding of the data sources and to streamline naming conventions. Next, came the building of the data hub and the collection of all common data.
Specifically, Direct Relief relied on its numerous data sources to analyze, monitor, and report on people in need of medical supplies, donations from pharmaceutical companies and medical companies, inventory and delivery dates, product usage by time frame, and market information.
“Once we installed Qlik, we were able to work with data in ways that weren’t possible before. However, a lot of the data was hard to access. We knew we needed a better way to organize and standardize our data. Then, we discovered TimeXtender,” said Dawn Long, senior vice president and COO at Direct Relief.
With data well organized, sourced, and maintained in TimeXtender, new data sources could be added rapidly. Direct Relief now has higher confidence in its data throughout its organizations, as this is derived from faster, more reliable analytics and reporting, resulting in improved decision making and operational efficiency.
“Direct Relief runs on data and the need to access it easily and quickly is essential,” added Long. “Given TimeXtender’s seamless integration with Qlik, staff members now have instant access to the organization’s data. They can quickly identify what supplies shipped, where they were delivered, and when they arrived. TimeXtender’s technology and data management approach helped us organize and build a better data model that provides quality, validation, and transparency.
“With TimeXtender, we were able to look at our data and immediately organize it all with common names that ensured all our systems were talking to each other. We built a model to bring together all our data sources, programs, products, and events. This allows us to run multiple applications on one platform and retrieve the information we need with one click,” said Long.
Long added that although the transition was complex, the project implementation was fast and efficient. “Now we can quickly and easily analyze data and report and share results with our stakeholders.”
These two success stories show how technology can truly help change the world and aid those facing a crisis. TimeXtender is honored to do its part in supporting the public and private sectors in their efforts to provide assistance for people within the community who are in need of help.