Freehills implements SQL 2005, overhauls financial reporting system

Business Objects solution replaced

Law firm Freehills is the first professional services organization in Australia to rollout Microsoft's SQL 2005 analytics and reporting platform, ditching its Business Objects solution in the process.

The company has moved away from a dedicated BI vendor and is taking advantage of a range of new Microsoft technologies as part of an overhaul of its financial reporting system.

Implementation of the solution, which was developed in conjunction with Aderant, began in January and was completed last month.

The new core business intelligience infrastructure, Executive Office Analytics, is currently being used by 500 of its 2,100 users and this figure is set to increase in coming months.

Freehills' director of information services Russell Wright said the company had been thinking about a cube-based solution for years for a more flexible approach to data warehousing and OLAP (online analytic processing) for financial reporting.

Microsoft's SQL Server reporting services, Windows SharePoint Services and Office Web components were used to create the user interface.

"We have reduced labour intensive manual processes that were required to extract data from our production systems; data is much more granular and specfic," Wright said.

"This is a truly tailored and innovative solution that enables more sophisticated and timely reports. It also provides a basis for future implementation of business scorecards and other aggregated reporting approaches, including the potential to draw in data from other sources."

Freehills has gradually been moving toward a Microsoft environment for years, ditching Lotus Notes in 2003 and moving to Microsoft Exchange.

Wright said the company has standardized on Microsoft because integration across each platform makes it "compelling".

"It is easier dealing with one vendor but there's also the risk of being beholden to them," he said.

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