Capstone Team: UA College of Continuing Studies, Finance Department

Our client this semester is the UA College of Continuing Studies Finance department. Our team includes: Project Manager, Katie Real; Business Analyst, Amanda Johnson; Tech Lead, John Stassen; Solution Manager, Brett Green; and Co-User Interface Leads, Sylvester McKinney and Michael Oakley. The College of Continuing Studies provides a variety of flexible education opportunities, including BamaByDistance and Military.ua.edu.

The UA CCS Finance department has tasked us with developing a reporting solution this semester. They currently use Crystal Reports and Excel for all of their financial reporting, but this system contains several inefficiencies that they have asked us to resolve. First of all, there is no standardized tool for departments to create a managerial budget. Second, Crystal reports in incapable of incorporating the managerial budget into any reports, therefore the Finance department is forced to maintain this data separately in Excel. Lastly, the system in place is incapable of supporting data visualization tools such as charts and graphs.

As a team, we will be shifting the College of Continuing Studies away from Crystal Reports and Excel and towards the use of the reporting software known as Argos. The implementation of this Argos software appeared to be the correct choice for a number of reasons. First, Argos provides interactive dashboards that allow for a quick and easy method to query data. Second, Argos is capable of generating reports for a more detailed and complex view of data. Reports can be printed or exported. Lastly, Argos supports many different forms of data visualization.

In addition to dashboards and reports, the team is working to build a Managerial Budget Tool within the Argos environment. This tool will be used by the CCS Finance department to view information that is crucial to determining the current Managerial Budget. It will include the budget from the prior year, the sums of Revenues, Salaries and expenditures, a textbox where the new managerial budget will be entered, and also a box for user comments. All of this information will be saved to an SQL database for future viewing.

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