Informer Helps College Keep Emergency Notification System Up-To-Date

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Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., is using Entrinsik’s Informer software to keep its emergency notification system refreshed with the most up-to-date information.

Informer delivers self-service reporting, ad hoc analysis, and interactive dashboards and is well suited for organizations that need an operational business intelligence solution fast, don’t have a huge budget for infrastructure and staffing, and want to minimize the risks involved in deploying a comprehensive reporting solution.

Westminster College purchased a new emergency notification system and wanted the system updated frequently. It  created an online form that its students, faculty, and staff could access to update their emergency contact information in the college's database but it needed a way to get that data to the emergency notification system. The project was a high priority for the college because it needed to be able to get messages out rapidly to its students, faculty and staff in case of emergencies. One big concern was how to keep the data current so that if it needed to use the system it would be assured that it had the most up-to-date contact information for everyone.

According to a new blog post by Sharon Shelton, vice president of marketing at Entrinsik, Westminster originally thought it would ship the data once each day. But, Westminster College’s Kyle Rima explains, after it determined that it would be necessary to refresh the data more frequently, the college decided to schedule Informer to create a new file every hour and place the file in a directory on the Informer server. The college then created a scheduled task (in Windows) that SFTP’d the file to the emergency notification system where it was pushed into that system.

As Westminster College’s Kyle Rima explains to Shelton, there were a number of Informer features that were used that made its challenge much easier, including the Informer calculated columns. “We had data coming into the report in a multivalued field that needed to be broken out into individual fields based on a type. So our calculated column looked at each position in the type field and if the type was the one we were looking for it would grab the associated phone number out of the phone number field and populate the new calculated field. We could have accomplished this inside of UniData but it was so much easier and flexible with the calculated column,” Rima tells Shelton.

To read Shelton’s blog post about Westminster College’s use of Informer for its emergency notification system, go here