folder. That's nice because they can take a global cube that has every department, every fund, every dollar bill and say, 'I only want this much of it.'"

Other departments found out how useful BI technology is, and the ability to target specific information is a draw that benefits certain departments and their constituents.

"We extract out of an old legacy system a lot of customer, water usage and solid waste history," said Framel. "[We] pull that data out every night and put it out there and they can go out onto the Web and get their own reports. That data is also put out for the public to get."

Using the Web as a conduit for information allows department staff and citizens to easily access data. Everything from crime stats and utility bills to vendor invoices is available.

"When you come in and run a report, it's starting up a program on a Web server going out to the Oracle database, bringing back the data, and presenting it in either Excel, PDF or HTML format," said Scurlock-Garcia. "Before, we had departments that didn't have anyone who had the skill set to go out there and pull that information down for ourselves, but with us putting it out there, they can. If you can click on a mouse, you can get to this report."

Staff Comfort

The change for department staff wasn't easy. When the city first implemented BI technology, not all staff members were excited about the change.

"It was difficult to sell to our users," said Scurlock-Garcia. "A lot of people don't like change. They get used to one thing and want to know, 'Why are you changing things on us?'"

Despite the benefits, convincing users BI technology was a benefit took time because not only did staff have to learn to use a new system, they also had to look at data differently.

"It's still hard for some people to grasp analytically reviewing their data for exceptions, instead of reviewing straight transactions like they've always done," said Framel.

The staff used to wade through pages and pages of reports, and suddenly they had to get used to understanding that BI technologies gives them the opportunity to more intelligently pursue needed data.

"You can still get the detailed transactions, but I think sometimes the difficulty arises in, 'How can I use this data differently to make my job easier?'" said Framel. "So instead of going down a list of 1,000 transactions to look for an exception, they can create a query that goes out and gets the data and gives you the exceptions."

To help ease the transition to using the technology, the department offers quarterly training, as well as Monday afternoon workshops that allow interested staff to obtain specific training they desire.

The amount of information collected over the years by an agency like Albuquerque's Department of Finance and Administration practically mandates a dedicated manner to query, browse, organize, and subsequently, use information.

In the end, savings in time, money and efficiency make BI technologies a sure method to wade through governmental madness.