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    Squidly
    Junior Member

  • Squidly
    replied
    A lot of interesting points in here!!
    Sectrainer we are using an access database system which was created inhouse. In prinicpal it works ok but as stating in in of the posts it is not fool/idiot proof.
    With our system I do the majority of the data interpreting and the biggest problem that I have is that there is no failsafe measures for the person filing the report to skip things like a simple droptab. Without a correctly filled out report you lose key information for stats.
    Another point is the legality of the data/report in a court of law. I know with our DB the information could be changed at a later date. There are other systems that this could be done also. When looking at reporting systems there needs to be fool proof reports, such as if a field is blank it alerts you, when you hit save that is the end of the matter and it can not be tampered with at a later date etc.
    The system we have is ok but obsolete fields can not be deleted such as old staff etc. if you delete it you lose the information in the old reports.
    Agreed I hate access but I have a resonable knowledge of the system. But I still havent worked out how to overcome these problems!! Anyone??

    Leave a comment:

  • SecTrainer
    Senior Member

  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by davis002
    I would suggest taking a look at ReportExec. [URL=http://www.report-software.com]http://www.report-software.com[/URL...(feature list omitted from quote)...I suggest going to the site, download the demo, and give it a test drive. If you have any questions or want to see an example case report, tow report, etc. Feel free to private message me.
    This is much more along the lines of what I would expect to see in a professional-grade product...or, actually, products (there are several here). As with many others of this grade, the pricing is based on "licenses", whether "users" or "concurrent users", and requires careful consideration.

    "Concurrent users" presents a question not unlike telephone queuing theory, which tries to identify how many people will typically be using the phone system simultaneously. In looking at this issue, phone engineers have developed a notion called "the busy hour", meaning the time of peak demand. It is this "busy hour" traffic that drives the decision about what minimum facilities (trunks, switches, etc.) are required to serve "x" number of users. You can use a similar approach - not formally, of course, but just in a "down-and-dirty" way - by basing the licenses you need based on how many concurrent users you're likely to want to have "online" at the busiest time of the day.

    This seems to be a good example of the kind of software that you'd be more comfortable basing your business processes on, compared to some of the others that have been mentioned.
    SecTrainer
    Senior Member
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-26-2006, 02:17 PM.

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  • davis002
    Senior Member

  • davis002
    replied
    I would suggest taking a look at ReportExec. http://www.report-software.com
    • Case Reporting
    • Field Interview Reporting
    • Case Manager
    • Daily Event Log
    • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)
    • Citations and Warnings Module
    • BOLO Screen with Digital Imaging
    • Officer Training and Tracking
    • Master Name Search
    • Property Manager
    • Photo Lineups Module
    • Vehicle History Tracking
    • Arrest and Booking Module
    • Parking Permit
    • Daily/Monthly/Yearly/Custom Statistics
    • Separate Alarm, Damage, Fire, Injury, and Theft Reporting Screens
    • Lost & Found Property Tracking
    • Instant Contact Reports and Histories


    I suggest going to the site, download the demo, and give it a test drive. If you have any questions or want to see an example case report, tow report, etc. Feel free to private message me.

    Leave a comment:

  • Mr. Security
    Senior Member

  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Originally posted by SecTrainer
    Right. ...and don't use an outlet that's on a wall switch that the janitor will come in and turn off as one of our branch managers inadvertently did once! Every morning we got the same complaint about the system going down around 2 AM, sometimes interrupting the data dump from the branch. There was no other evidence of power failure at the branch (clocks stopped, etc.). We dinked around remotely diagnosing the system until I finally had to travel the 80 miles to the branch and sit in the office one night in order to figure out what was happening!

    Turns out the janitor had initially yanked the cord on the server power strip out of the wall one night when he was sweeping, and then plugged it back into the wrong outlet nearby - one that was controlled by the wall switch. If he'd plugged it into the right one, we'd only have had the outage that one night. As it was, every morning when he left he very faithfully and religiously crashed the system for us as he turned out the lights.

    Oh well, at least it was easy overtime for me when I'd been dreading possibly having to tear into or replace the server. None of us had any idea that any of the outlets were on the wall switch circuit, but it seemed kinda dumb we didn't think of that possibility.
    At least it wasn't the guard this time.

    Leave a comment:

  • Bill Warnock
    Senior Member

  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    Explaining needs analysis to bean counters and those wearing green eyeshades is like collecting a basket of rooster eggs. They can't see beyond their own little world and unfortunately, their boss and your boss are in two diffrent directorates. The language is not common and if anything goes haywire, it's your fault even though you were never consulted about the equipment that suddenly arrives at the door and has no earthly correlation to your needs analysis. Then this person can tell his boss how much money he saved by not buying that frivolous thing "those security types" wanted to spend.
    When the system goes bust and your boss has to report why, the procurement types suddenly disappear.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Leave a comment:

  • SecTrainer
    Senior Member

  • SecTrainer
    replied
    I think that some might have the misconception that you should only do needs analysis and approach the implementation with a "project" mindset when you're looking for the "Rolls Royce" class of software or "an enormous RMS system". Nothing could be further from the truth...you do it whenever you buy software - "big" or "small" - that will be used to implement important business processes, as incident tracking most certainly is for any of us. This is like picking out a company vehicle by throwing darts at the newspaper ads. After all, they all have an engine, four wheels, seats and a steering wheel, don't they?

    Needs analysis is nothing more than figuring out what you need the application to do. It can be done, if there's some kind of all-fired rush here, in as little as a day or less of brain-storming. I fail to see how anyone can justify buying anything having to do with business information systems, even something as trivial as a modem, without at least knowing exactly what it needs to do, what features it should have and, if applicable, what known standards it must meet...to say nothing of not having a good handle on the range of products available and even what "extra" features some might have for the same price as some others.

    And, I have to say that anyone should be enormously skeptical of any commercial product when the "home page" for that product is sitting at an URL like "www.fastwilly.com/betty/TickleMeElmo/BigBird"...and when the price of the product that clearly proclaims what the people selling it think about the product themselves, which isn't much! I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of OVERpriced software out there because there is, but I'm even more suspicious of low-ball prices when it comes to software that I'm going to run in my business.

    ...and there's always this idea: If you're just going to implement a solution that's little more than a simple Access database or Excel spreadsheet, there are a lot of people out there who will happily create a custom "application" just for your company that will suit your needs even better for not that much money...and you'll have someone to scream at if something goes wrong. IRINDEX itself doesn't look like it could have taken much more than a couple of weeks of "programming", given all the "wizards" that are available in the Office products. In Access, once you've defined the data tables, their relationships and the basic queries (which doesn't take long even for projects involving a couple of dozen tables) everything else like creating input/output forms and reports is like falling off a log, so to speak.

    I'm a VBA chunker myself just for quick-and-dirty apps. I created an Access-based transcription-tracking application, "TransTrak" (clever, eh?) for a small 80-bed psychiatric hospital in California that had been losing their paper documents all the time. (I did take about a week to determine the specs even for this little application.) Well, when I showed it to them, THEY all thought it was a miracle - the best thing since bibs for babies - but I knew it really wasn't any such thing. If they had needed much more horsepower, or a secure networked app, TransTrak wouldn't have made the grade. Since they had assured me that there were no plans even on the distant horizon to grow larger than they were, it was just enough for their needs, as I was very careful to tell them.

    What's important to know about this story is that even though I created all kinds of snazzy reports and forms in the application (about 20, I think), there were reports that I hadn't thought of that the hospital decided they needed, and when they came back to me with a list of about 10 more it took me just one morning to create them all, because you already have the foundation defined. All you have to do is (maybe) set up new table relationships, create the query behind each report or form, and then generate the report or form itself based on that query.

    This further customized their "product" and made them even happier with it. It was also customized because all the reports included their logo, their privacy statements, etc. This is the real value of just having someone do it for you if your needs are reasonably lightweight.

    I was charging $75/hr for simple Office apps at that time, and I think that TransTrak itself, including 2 hours of training for the staff and a 20-page user's "manual" that I printed up, wound up costing the hospital around $2200, including the mods. I billed out the consultation separately because it was dealing with many other IT issues. So, if it's a difference of between, say, $200 for someone else's idea of the application and maybe a $couple grand or so for a custom design that specifically fits your own needs, why not roll your own? You'll be happier with it, I'd almost guarantee.
    SecTrainer
    Senior Member
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-24-2006, 09:10 PM.

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  • N. A. Corbier
    Senior Member

  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Security
    Maybe he doesn't need a "Rolls-Royce" system when a "Chevy" will do.
    This is a simple Visual Basic or VB for Access program written by two people. Neither are most likely professionals...

    That said, there's no reason to deploy a huge RMS system requiring the infrastructure behind it when a simple Access database (even though I loathe Access) will do.

    Keep in mind, I'm one of those open source guys.

    Leave a comment:

  • SecTrainer
    Senior Member

  • SecTrainer
    replied
    Originally posted by Bill Warnock
    Spyyman:
    Tout the ROI aspects of power conditioning and UPS.
    Right. ...and don't use an outlet that's on a wall switch that the janitor will come in and turn off as one of our branch managers inadvertently did once! Every morning we got the same complaint about the system going down around 2 AM, sometimes interrupting the data dump from the branch. There was no other evidence of power failure at the branch (clocks stopped, etc.). We dinked around remotely diagnosing the system until I finally had to travel the 80 miles to the branch and sit in the office one night in order to figure out what was happening!

    Turns out the janitor had initially yanked the cord on the server power strip out of the wall one night when he was sweeping, and then plugged it back into the wrong outlet nearby - one that was controlled by the wall switch. If he'd plugged it into the right one, we'd only have had the outage that one night. As it was, every morning when he left he very faithfully and religiously crashed the system for us as he turned out the lights.

    Oh well, at least it was easy overtime for me when I'd been dreading possibly having to tear into or replace the server. None of us had any idea that any of the outlets were on the wall switch circuit, but it seemed kinda dumb we didn't think of that possibility.
    SecTrainer
    Senior Member
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-24-2006, 07:12 PM.

    Leave a comment:

  • Bill Warnock
    Senior Member

  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    Originally posted by Spyyman
    As I said previosly, being retired from LE, I am familiar with excellent incident tracking systems. The problem I have is that the HOA Board of Directors isn't willing to spend a great deal of money for a premium system, and as Mr. Security said, our needs aren't that great. Personally I just like to be thorough.

    You guys have been a great help with your suggestions. Eventually, if and when the BOD decides to implement a new system, I'll touch bases with you again and let you know what they chose.

    There is a world of private security experience on this forum, and it is generous of each of you to share it.

    Thanks
    Spyyman:
    Tout the ROI aspects of power conditioning and UPS. When the system crashes due to an unexpected power outage and it becomes necessary to reload, how much time and man-hours will it take to upload and verify the veracity of the data. Also mention that verification will be time consuming especially if you have no hard copy to crosscheck the data. A UPS will preclude sudden power losses and fill in gaps in the electrical service provided. Consider renting a power analyzer and operate it for one week at 24-7 and check the readouts.
    Just a couple of suggestions I've learned the hard way having been on both sides of the fence.
    And, welcome to the world of private security where poverty row does exist along with some forlorn federal systems I know of.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Leave a comment:

  • Spyyman
    Junior Member

  • Spyyman
    replied
    As I said previosly, being retired from LE, I am familiar with excellent incident tracking systems. The problem I have is that the HOA Board of Directors isn't willing to spend a great deal of money for a premium system, and as Mr. Security said, our needs aren't that great. Personally I just like to be thorough.

    You guys have been a great help with your suggestions. Eventually, if and when the BOD decides to implement a new system, I'll touch bases with you again and let you know what they chose.

    There is a world of private security experience on this forum, and it is generous of each of you to share it.

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:

  • Mr. Security
    Senior Member

  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Maybe he doesn't need a "Rolls-Royce" system when a "Chevy" will do.

    Leave a comment:

  • SecTrainer
    Senior Member

  • SecTrainer
    replied
    IRINDEX might be one option among many, many others. Frankly, it doesn't look very professional to me, including the "home" website URL itself. The pricing is also highly suspicious, meaning that it's much too low to encourage me to believe that it's a well-supported, professional software product. I would urge you PLEASE not to avoid the hard work that I have recommended you do just because you find a cheap product.

    Leave a comment:

  • Spyyman
    Junior Member

  • Spyyman
    replied
    Once again I would like to thank each of your for your input. This is indeed a user friendly forum, and it's refreshing to encounter so many people who are willing to help.

    Thanks again everyone.

    P.S. I found a program that I think will work great for the HOA. It is called the IRINDEX Program, and thanks to one of you, I found it.
    Spyyman
    Junior Member
    Last edited by Spyyman; 12-24-2006, 01:55 PM.

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  • Mr. Security
    Senior Member

  • Mr. Security
    replied
    Careless Data Entry

    It's going to happen. Find a system like the one McDonalds uses for order entry. It's about as fool proof as can be for good reason.

    Note: I said fool proof; not idiot proof.

    Leave a comment:

  • Bill Warnock
    Senior Member

  • Bill Warnock
    replied
    Originally posted by Spyyman
    Bill,

    I understand what you are saying about careless data entry clerks. I was the Lt. in charge of the crime analysis bureau for a time, and that was our major problem. Fortunately for me I went back to commanding the detective bureau and didn't have to concern myself with data clerks.

    But I do appreciate the input from you guys.
    Spyyman:
    At and in this forum we try to help each other. There is more than enough work for all of us. As SecTrainer pointed out the system can suddenly go down for no apparent reason. There is always an answer and in many instances we don't want to know or hear it. Why? We might have to correct the problem. A 2000-volt surge can do a number on system. If there is sufficient damage to fry everything, it just lays there like a beached whale. If we can reboot, damage done may corrupt the data and another hit will cause it to fail. Power failures along with other electrical anomalies cause mischief. Some Einstein forgot to exercise the batteries in the UPSs. To compensate for his laziness, he or she will pencil whip the forms. It goes on and on.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Leave a comment:

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