Cox Communications engaged New Frontiers International, Ltd. to build an application used to report compliance metrics to the FCC as part of the FCC's auditing processes.
Cox Communications has been providing this survey information for 100 or so cable service providers every year. The data is entered field by field into MS Excel for each survey. Changes in underlying data required manually keyed changes to each affected field in each affected survey. Average completion time per survey has been 24 person-hours. Each year, with Cox Communications growing and acquiring more service providers was requiring more and more time to be invested in completing this process. Additional staff members would be required, and, also with the various discrepancies in legacy data, making corrections was almost impossible due to time constraints.
NFI's solution was to merge various sources of legacy data into a normalized database application. This data was then verified in one central location. The information was then exported as a batch file for the FCC. The FCC found this more convenient since they were going to amalgamate the information as an end result any way. And the ability to view as many surveys as needed at once gave Cox Communications an easy way to visually verify data to note erroneous information at a quick glance. Completion time has dropped from 24 hours down to eight hours per survey, most of which is validation and verification of legacy source data. This drop in completion time means that the project has paid for itself after the first year of usage. The new methodology means that the information is also much more accurate. The flexibility means that the system can grow with Cox Communications' future needs without adding additional personnel.
Providing the necessary functionality and robust scalability involved the use of database technologies by New Frontiers International. The architecture was based on Access and SQL Server, with data pulled from other legacy systems and other large databases such as Oracle and various mainframe systems.
Users are experiencing less stress, shorter production times, and a great deal more flexibility in assembling data for reporting. And they are happier too, knowing that it only takes about eight hours per survey, most of which is assembling and verifying source data.
Return on Investment
NFI completed the project approximately 40% under budget. Cox would have spent approximately 2400 hours completing the project at the previously estimated rate. NFI spent approximately 300 hours of development time, which also included some time spent helping Cox audit the information for a more accurate survey. Cox itself also spent approximately the same amount of time for a 600 or so hour total. So the immediate result for the first year alone was to save Cox 40% of their budget and potentially 1,800 hours. The following year of use, the surveys were completed with no additional dependence on NFI, thus increasing the return on investment even further.
"Mr. Sengupta, President of NFI, listened to our needs, suggested alternatives and more importantly he and his team delivered a good work product in a timely manner."
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