MassHousing, a provider of affordable housing for both individuals and major developments across Massachusetts, needed a flexible and robust BI solution capable of generating an integrated portal reporting system for its Executive Information System (EIS), which bridges six separate business divisions: Home Ownership, Rental Development, Rental Management, Corporate, Mortgage, Insurance and MassHousing Overall. MassHousing selected Cognos BI over competitive products because of Cognos’ ability to adapt to changes that occur within the data, as well as its simplified maintenance and administration. By combining Cognos BI solutions with the EIS, MassHousing employees can gain an accurate and integrated view of key information across the entire organization, for a complete, holistic view of the agency’s key information.
As MassHousing’s EIS has matured, so have the requests and needs of its 300-plus users who require more reports, increased customization, enhanced security, and better visibility into the agency to better manage the business. In addition, new departments such as human resources and compliance and diversity have requested access to Cognos reports to meet regulatory requirements. To continue to meet these evolving demands, MassHousing has migrated to Cognos 8 BI. The agency created an internal portal referred to as “My MassHousing” that provides access to agency news, timesheets, and the Cognos 8 BI solutions, including budget information and trend reports. With the portal, users see the relevant information they need to drive their organization’s performance at the start of, and throughout, every day.
In addition, Cognos’ consulting and training services have helped MassHousing build its BI Competency Center (BICC), a dedicated team of six people in its Business Intelligence and Corporate Reporting department officially designated in 2006 and separate from the traditional IT department. The MassHousing BICC is tasked with making sure that both existing and new systems do not affect the overall reporting needs of the agency
“Cognos is the lifeblood of our agency, and we continue to evolve our business practices with Cognos business intelligence,” said Carl Richardson, BI project manager at MassHousing. “As executives’ needs continue to grow, they’re pushing us to implement smarter and more efficient Cognos solutions rather than the other way around. This has helped us become a leader among our peers, as managers from other agencies ask to see what we’re doing with Cognos. By taking our implementation to the next level, we can meet the specific needs of our individual end users and at the same time, get a complete picture of our overall performance. This is priceless.”
“MassHousing is a shining example of a performance management implementation that started with departmental functionality and has since expanded to encompass a broad set of users across several functions and levels within the organization,” said Terence Atkinson, director of government and education solutions at Cognos. “As a result, the organization can gain increased efficiencies of business reporting and a unified picture of the overall business, and yet deliver a highly customized experience to meet the unique needs of its diverse users.”