Solution Provider Uses Cloud Platform to Generate Paperless MIS Reports Quickly for the Government

Enthrall Technologies Private Limited

“Earlier, customers took 15–20 days approximately to collect input data from various sources and finalize a report… With Pragati e-Office we have automated and streamlined the process to deliver the same report in less than two days.”

Pradeep Rajguru, Group Project Manager, Enthrall Technologies

Pragati e-Office is a web based MIS platform and a versatile communications system by Enthrall Technologies. To make it far more accessible while keeping customer needs in mind, the company ported the application to the Windows Azure platform. Implemented at field offices of five District Collectorates, it improves the administration of districts within the Pune revenue division in Maharashtra, India. Pragati e-Office is easy to deploy and avoids high IT infrastructure costs. With it, the bureaucracy is able to consolidate field office data while reducing complexity and time. As reports become more accurate and timely, there is greater transparency and accountability. In addition, the cost to customers has reduced by approximately 65 percent.

Business Needs
Enthrall Technologies, an IT products and services company, has been serving the e-governance, e-learning, and e-commerce verticals. A team of 52 professionals designs effective solutions that provide a competitive edge to the company. Continued customer satisfaction is testimony to this.

During one of its e-governance engagements, officials Enthrall was made aware of the challenges were facing, and its impact on operations. There were multiple departments involved, which meant voluminous data to be processed. Not only was data collecting a huge task but collating it to generate reports was an equally big challenge. Pradeep Rajguru, Group Project Manager, Enthrall Technologies, explains, “Microsoft Excel was being used for all reporting purposes. Data was manually consolidated and therefore prone to manual mistakes. Senior officials had to put in a lot of time to correct data before using it for decision making.”

As collecting all the data at one place and at the needed time was impossible, it usually delayed critical business decisions. Enthrall saw a business opportunity in developing a web-based MIS and communications framework that would overcome these problems and facilitate smooth functioning.

Solution
Enthrall decided to make Pragati e-Office available on the Windows Azure platform. Pragati e-Office is a web-based, highly configurable MIS. “We felt Windows Azure was the only cloud platform that provided us the complete platform: infrastructure, scalability and redundancy, management tools, and a rich development environment,” says Samir Inamdar, Chief Executive Officer, Enthrall Technologies. “This pay-as-you-go model offered by Microsoft gave us the flexibility to add computing resources as and when needed.”

Pragati e-Office is developed using Microsoft ASP.NET and SQL Azure database for data storage. The first version of Pragati e-Office on Azure was released and deployed in April 2012. The multi-lingual system hosts legacy and business data using dynamic data structures created by users. This allows data extractions and multi-dimensional communication.

Pragati e-Office has a Report Configurator to design and configure any number of reports. These range from governance issues such as revenue collection to lists of employees, gun licenses issued, databases such as pending court cases, or minerals and many more. As per the government’s need, the Division Office’s privileged users can create custom data structures using the Intelligent Data Manager (IDM), which includes columns, data types, and default values with options, such as dropdown, saving, importing, editing, searching, deleting, and printing data. For files uploaded by users, Azure Blob Storage services were used.

Communication Framework creates transparency and accountability by tracking all communication. In addition, the mass communication module allows email and printing of notices and letters to citizens in just a few minutes.

“By relying on Windows Azure we are taking advantage of an efficient, reliable cloud computing platform that we could never build ourselves or offer to our customers,” says Asma Thorve, Managing Director, Enthrall Technologies. “The platform has allowed us to provide a powerful, flexible, and affordable solution, which can be easily configured by our customers to suit their specific business processes.”

Benefits
Windows Azure platform is benefiting both Enthrall and its customers. The solution not only adds to productivity and efficiency but also offers scalability and cost benefit, and is virtually management-free.

Faster Report Generation and Decision Making
With Pragati e-Office, there is no person- specific dependency for business data. Information is readily available at all times. “Earlier, customers took 15–20 days approximately to collect input data from various sources and finalize a report, which included follow-ups, reviews, corrections, and consolidation of data,” says Pradeep. “With Pragati e-Office we have automated and streamlined the process to deliver the same report in less than two days.”

Activities such as consolidation, comparison with targets, and almost everything are automatic. Senior officials have relevant data to make quick decisions, especially in times of crisis, such as during the monsoons when flooding occurs and there is urgent need for relief operations. The program makes it easier to act on information and take more appropriate and quick decisions.

Reduces Costs

Windows Azure allows customers to move to the cloud, reducing or eliminating the need to configure and maintain their own web server infrastructure. “For developing and hosting a similar solution, customers would require a huge investment, including cost of servers, system software, cost of development, and maintenance,” says Samir. “With Pragati e-Office, the upfront investment requirements are drastically reduced. We feel that the overall cost to our customers will come down by 65 percent.”

Efficiency and Innovation
Windows Azure ties all the critical components of Pragati e-Office into a very cohesive offering. By removing the need to focus on hardware, networks, and other IT infrastructure components, the Windows Azure platform makes it possible for Enthrall developers to work faster and more efficiently. “We don’t have to buy servers or set up an infrastructure. Everything is taken care of by Microsoft,” says Asma. “It frees us from the concerns of costly and complicated infrastructures.”

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