Board Review

Helps us produce a cross-functional dataset from disparate sources and produce reports

What is our primary use case?

The primary use is called "Track Stat". It's our performance management system that we use at the city of Fayetteville. We use that to capture data throughout the city and report our progress to the Citizens' Council and managers.

It's performing very well. We're very happy with the ease and the flexibility of the solution. We've had very, very few issues in terms of launching the application, and the issues that we did have were really like access and user errors. Other than that, I can't think of another software solution that we've managed at the city that went as well as BOARD has.

How has it helped my organization?

For us, the city of Fayetteville has very disparate data sources on different RMS systems, so the benefit for us was to be able to reach out across departments - globally, across our organization: folks like Fire, Police, Inspections, Parks and Rec - and really build a cross-functional dataset that we're able to analyze and then produce reports for the public, online.

What is most valuable?

From our perspective, what was very valuable is the ability to customize. We didn't see a solution out there that really matched exactly what our functional requirements would be. So we were able to work with New Brain, our integrator, and we were able to build from the ground up what we wanted, and I think that's pretty unique to BOARD.

What needs improvement?

The one thing that I think we would like to see in terms of improvement of the application is the ability to print. It's fantastic to have all of these graphic visualization of data, but we're not able to very easily just print. I'm not a developer, I'm an end user, but from my perspective, if you can have a little "print" button and then you just click it and it would produce what's on the screen, or anything like that that would be easy to do, that would be very helpful.

When we built the Track Stat, we had a focus on getting that out onto the Web and having it available for everyone. But some folks just need the print copy, so that's really been a stumbling block for us, and a pretty serious one at this point. We just need the ability to print.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My impression is that it's excellent. I believe that BOARD does provide a very stable environment. Again, we haven't had any real issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it is very customizable. For us, it's not a financial and budgeting solution. It's really just based on some performance metrics. We don't have financial forecasting, but if we did we certainly know that we could build that. For us, I feel like that's pretty excellent with BOARD.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Excel. We switched because of the need to have accurate and consistent data that was secured. Once it's been approved in BOARD, it's stable, it's there. There was also the need to be able to add attributes for all of our data, who is the owner and that kind of thing, and have it different for everyone. And the need to be able to get into that solution cross-functionally at the same time. That obviously is not possible in Excel. And 5,000 Excel spreadsheets are not fun for anyone.

The most important criterion when selecting a vendor is the ease of implementation, that is really important. You can build all you want to, but it has to be something that's easy for an end-user to understand. I think that really helped us in our success, in that the product that we put out to our end-users across the city was pretty easy for them to understand, they didn't have to go to school or have significant training to understand it.

How was the initial setup?

It was pretty straightforward. They set up a meeting schedule. We did a lot of meetings through the website. They set all of that up. It was pretty painless.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Products like Hyperion, Tableau. We went with BOARD because of the cost, the ability to customize, and New Brain being a company that was an integrator and willing to partner with us - it was more about a partnership than it was about anything else.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate BOARD as an eight out of 10. The things that really could be improved would be a couple of things. 

I think the print issue is big, and then the ability to have that back support. It feels like BOARD as an organization has grown exponentially and probably isn't in the right space for support and training. Once that application is launched, to be able to say, "Okay. How are you going to support this moving forward?" Because not everybody is prepared to get in there and create Cubes. I'm not a Cube-creator, but I don't want to pay someone large sums of money to get in there and make adjustments, and that kind of thing. 

And maybe having some out-of-the-box, off-the-shelf things like, "Here's an application and this is what it does," and then you can grab onto those.

Do your homework. Talk to other customers, and really do a benefit analysis, like what are you looking for? For us, again, we weren't looking for an ERP system or anything like that. We were looking for very customized, specific solution. Anybody looking for that, they really do need to do their homework. Create a steering committee from your organization to get everybody's perspective.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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