Absorb Software [Education | Success Story]

How Absorb Software Embedded Dundas BI to Provide Superior Analytics in a Multi-Tenant Environment

Since 2003, Absorb Software, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has made strides to eliminate the suffering caused by lackluster Learning Management Systems (LMS), not only in learners but in administrators who were tasked with creating learning environments that matched the sophistication and complexity of their organizations. For 15 years (and counting), they’ve been building thoughtfully designed software that supports all learning by reflecting and anticipating their clients’ needs.

In the ten years before launching their flagship LMS, Absorb Software maintained a division to build great courses. As their client base grew, they quickly recognized the corporate world required massive quantities of people to be certified promptly and efficiently, with minimal administrative overhead attached. This led the organization to begin to develop an LMS that was:

… dedicated to the commonly underestimated learning needs of the forgotten masses of corporate learners.

By 2013, Absorb Software’s LMS (Absorb LMS) had blossomed into a highly sophisticated software and was used by hundreds of clients worldwide, which drove the business to focus solely on the LMS and begin phasing out course development.

Their Needs

Absorb Software works one-on-one with their clients’ LMS Administrators to better understand how they’re using Absorb LMS, and to determine what goals they’re looking to achieve through the reporting system. Initially, Absorb Software identified the need to provide their LMS administrators more direct access to their data. However, as their client base grew, they found an increasing demand for enhanced customization to the reporting functionality. Absorb Software’s clients clamored for the ability to gather actionable insights from the LMS, to bring-to-life their own specific reporting design and functionality.

To further illustrate this, Absorb’s clients had requested unique data layouts as well as greater interactivity within their reporting environment, to better consume and analyze their data. With a growing client-base in a diverse range of industries, and a highly flexible software with a wide range of workflows, the challenge of building generic reports that cover all of their clients’ unique needs demanded an expansion beyond Absorb’s already rich suite of standard reporting options.

Their Solution

Absorb Software believed that every choice their clients made should be informed, and every action measurable. They recognized that every business is unique, and each comes with its own set of particular reporting needs, leading them to create a BI module by embedding Dundas BI into their LMS (Absorb LMS). Absorb Software employed a multi-tenancy scenario where they could effortlessly create and manage their clients, each separate from one another, and presented them with a rich suite of reporting options that are custom-built to their specific needs.

In addition to providing their clients with a library of ready made, interactive dashboards by incorporating Dundas BI into their LMS, Absorb Software acquired the ability to offer highly customized reporting, as well as customizable visual representations of data to match the unique context of each client.

Why Absorb Software Chose Dundas BI

  • Highly Customizable Dashboards - Dundas BI’s fully customizable visualizations enabled Absorb Software to tailor each dashboard to the client’s specific requirements. Even the client’s branding was taken into account, helping to create genuinely professional and personal dashboard views, upping the wow-factor.
     
  • Multi-Tenancy Deployment - Dundas BI’s built-in support for multi-tenant deployment scenarios allowed Absorb Software to easily create and manage their 100+ tenants, each isolated from another under a single deployment. Each tenant is also able to assign an administrator, who can further customize the offering, without relying on Absorb Software’s services.
     
  • Automated Reports Generation - "We got really excited with interactive dashboards, but it never really occurred to us that Dundas could be so useful in regards to printed reports" - Dundas BI’s reporting tool provides unique capabilities that allow Absorb Software to automate the entire reporting process for their clients from the point where end users select or enter data, to the point where a report is automatically generated.
     
  • Optimized Data Retrieval - Absorb Software uses highly parameterized queries within Dundas BI, to ensure efficient queries are sent back to the database instead of being forced to store the data for each of their tenants in a secondary storage.}
     
  • Superb User Interactivity - Absorb Software thoroughly enjoyed Dundas BI’s built-in filtering and navigation, as well as powerful drill-downs, through an easy-to-use interface.

Key Benefits

  1. Absorb Software benefits from saving on complex system maintenance and avoiding duplicated work efforts as Dundas BI automatically adjusts to whoever is using the BI module.

    Absorb Software offers custom reporting to their clients, where they’ll write applications that provide flat files at weekly intervals. With potentially hundreds of different recipients, each with their own unique permissions models, there needed to be a way to filter data to whoever is looking at the LMS’ business intelligence module. Using Dundas BI’s multi-tenancy deployment, Absorb Software yielded the option to use dynamic data connections, and custom attributes to filter data by user/tenant, based on the tenant login. Now, Absorb Software’s clients can enter the LMS, filter on courses, instructors, etc., and perform interactive, exploratory analysis directly in their data without any concern of exposure to records outside of their permissions.

    The alternative would have seen everyone receiving the same CSV files or Absorb Software being forced to build and maintain hundreds/thousands of different file exports.
     
  2. Absorb Software welcomed immediate return on investment with several government contracts where paper-based record keeping was a priority. They were able to build highly customized printable forms containing user transcript information that would otherwise have seen supervisors manually extracting scores, statuses, and dates from a number of areas in the LMS. Their clients save time preparing routine reports and were able to print and store them, which was a massive benefit for the clients meaning higher satisfaction rates out of Absorb Software.
     
  3. Lastly, Absorb Software has provided their clients with cutting-edge, interactive visualizations that drive business-critical insights. As a SaaS hosted solution, Absorb Software caters to a wide variety of client sizes, and has been optimized to remain performant under the most demanding situations. Customized dashboards offered a way for Absorb to work 1-on-1 with some of their largest clients to reimagine ways in which to return a reasonable volume of data while also staying aligned with the clients’ individual, ad-hoc reporting needs.

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"One major benefit to hosting Dundas BI in Absorb LMS is that each dashboard is incredibly dynamic to which user is viewing it and what information they want to pull up."

Ryan McAllister
Business Intelligence Developer
Absorb Software

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Final Statements

Ultimately, Dundas BI armed Absorb LMS with a BI module that ensures Absorb Software’s client’s satisfaction by significantly augmenting the capabilities of reporting elements in the Absorb admin interface.

About the Author

Jordan Zenko

Jordan Zenko is the Community & Content Manager at Dundas Data Visualization. As Dundas’ resident (and self-proclaimed) story-teller, he authors in-depth content that educates developers, analysts, and business users on the benefits of business intelligence.

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