RESEARCH & RESOURCES

CASE STUDY - The Henry Jackson Foundation Leverages Actuate and PeopleSoft to Drive Performance

Commentary by P.J. Clark, Director of IT Operations, Henry Jackson Foundation

casestudy HJF
About The Henry Jackson Foundation

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving military medicine and public health. It accomplishes this by helping military personnel conduct quality medical research and education programs.

The Foundation functions as a financial operation, managing grant money for awards. Facilitating these financial grants encompasses the entire payroll, purchasing, and billing operations that are associated with the projects. It currently manages more than $130 million for over 300 projects.

The Henry Jackson Challenge

Stale and Shallow Information Hurting Project Management
Managing 300 projects and $130 million isn’t easy. Each project manager requires financial reports with budget information at both the summary and detail level to manage the projects effectively and comply with nonprofit and government regulations. In the previous system, the information was old and relatively useless by the time it got to the project managers.

“We mailed the reports two weeks after the month closed. There was no way to do search and find, drill down, or tie the reports through to anything. The information the project managers needed wasn’t available, especially the transaction details,” said P.J. Clark, director of IT operations for the Henry Jackson Foundation.

Integrate Reporting Solution with PeopleSoft
The Foundation’s goal was to upgrade its human resources application, and then upgrade its financials application, put financial reports online though the PeopleSoft portal, and finally integrate all these environments together.

While the Foundation could generate reports with PeopleSoft, these reports took a while to generate and deliver, and they required users to be proficient with PeopleSoft. The Foundation needed a solution that would easily integrate with PeopleSoft applications.

The Actuate Solution

Four primary requirements were identified:

  1. PeopleSoft integration
  2. Single sign-on integration
  3. Report production efficiency
  4. Easy user access

“Our VP of operations, Steven Goodwin, had already done the research on Actuate and the other reporting vendors. The reason he selected Actuate was for its elegance and the fact that it’s a 4GL package that does more than the other vendors could. It allowed us to build reports modeled after an online banking report, like a polished 401(K) statement, so users can easily go in and get needed information,” said Clark.

We allocate our time more accurately. We don't have to go back and do journal vouchers to correct this information three months later. We can correct it right there when it's happening.
P.J. Clark, Director of IT Operations, Henry Jackson Foundation

The Benefits of Actuate Corporation

A more granular, detailed view of the finances associated with the projects has given the Foundation customers better, more accurate control over their projects.

Clark elaborated, “We allocate our time more accurately. We don’t have to go back and do journal vouchers to correct this information three months later. We can correct it right there when it’s happening.

“The major business impact for us is really customer service–oriented. It’s not easy to quantify it in a dollar amount. You can quantify things like the amount of trees saved, but I think the customer service improvement the Actuate reports provide is invaluable,” said Clark.

The Future

The Foundation built a data warehouse, which gives users basic, controlled access to the data in the financial system. But even with PeopleSoft query, it is hard for users to make sense of the data. A front-end via Actuate that provides a “normalized” view for the users interests the Foundation. The Foundation plans to develop management reports to use information for flash reporting and ROI by project to let management see quickly where projects are.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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