Yesterday, Aparna narrated how a WW II Veterans site is using Zoho Creator. Today, let’s see how an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) in the educational sector has integrated Zoho Reports and reaping huge benefits. The ISV that’s integrated Zoho Reports is Impact Solutions, and the man behind the app is Jesse Olsen.

The Challenge
Jesse Olsen realized that educators at his public high school in New York City and at other schools spend far too much time tracking and analyzing metrics such as student attendance, behavior, grades, and test scores. Preoccupied by this recordkeeping and review, teachers had less time to spend planning meaningful learning experiences and working directly with their students. Says Olsen, “We were using Microsoft Excel before and we never had the data current. We had to copy and paste constantly to get things grouped. And we couldn’t do things like join tables very easily at all, which complicated our efforts to match out columns and aggregate data”.

The Solution
Olsen then founded Impact Solutions to slash the time teachers and administrators spend collecting and analyzing student data. The company’s flagship product, Impact, is an online application that puts accurate and current information at teachers’ fingertips.  In search of a better reporting and business intelligence engine for Impact, Olsen turned to
Zoho and Zoho Reports.

Using Zoho Reports as a foundation, Impact is a web application comprising a user interface written in Adobe Flex. Back-end technologies include Google App Engine, which serves as an application and caching layer, and Zoho Reports for reporting and storing data.

Impact is currently being used by eight schools and Olsen expects that number to reach 30 by next year. Each school uses one Zoho account, typically with one or two users – e.g., the principal or task specialist – but the interface lets all teachers access Impact. Today, 240 teachers login to Impact and check attendance details and grades.

The Benefits
With Zoho Reports underpinning Impact, Olsen is experiencing dramatic benefits – both as a user in his high school classroom as well as an online application provider to other schools.

“Data in schools is a huge new thing,” said Olsen. “We want teachers to have good information on students because it helps them better engage the students and make better teaching choices. With Impact riding on top of Zoho Reports, teachers can interact with data even if they aren’t tech savvy. And because it’s an online application, Impact gives everybody at the school – teachers, administrators and staff – real-time access to reliable student data.”

In some ways, the schools wouldn’t be doing this tracking and analysis if not for Zoho Reports. Without Impact, it takes probably 20 hours a week to copy-and-paste data into a spreadsheet and keep it current. So, we save a lot of time and effort by consolidating all that data. And we improve accuracy, too. Having Zoho Reports on the back-end makes it possible to deliver a system that’s powerful yet simple and cost effective.

Pointing to the cost efficiency of running Impact on Zoho Reports, Olsen notes that Zoho Reports is $60 per month per school for one million rows, an “incredibly reasonable” price. And Zoho is a boon for smaller schools such as one using Impact to track just 80 students. Given Zoho Reports pricing structure and the school’s data requirements, it has not been charged this year.

Impressed? Read more about the Impact Solutions/Zoho Reports case study. If you are an ISV, read how you can integrate with Zoho Reports & benefit by partnering with us or try Zoho Reports now.