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Press Release: JobAcct Case Studies


For More Information Contact:

Laurie Craig Sarah Grossman
UniSolutions Associates S&S Public Relations
949 488-3960 (847) 291-1616, ext. 257
craig@unisol.com

CASE STUDIES:
CHARGEBACK STRATEGY BY UNISOLUTIONS
TRANSFORMS MIS OVERHEAD INTO COST SAVINGS

Corporations, Government Agencies and Consulting Firms Benefit from
UNIX-Based JobAcct(tm)'s Flexible Resource Accounting Program

DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA (March, 1998)--With resource accounting a top priority in today's downsized, cost-conscious world, UNISOL® JobAcctTM was developed by UniSolutions Associates specifically to fill the need for a flexible, accurate, fast and highly-customizable resource accounting program that would transform MIS departments into profit centers. Designed to run on all versions of UNIX, JobAcct is prized for its versatility. It performs "actual cost" accounting and chargeback for each user, group, project and cost center, as well as "proportional" chargeback on a project/department level. Recently released as v. 3 to include an Oracle Accounting component, JobAcct has won ardent fans in government and corporate sectors alike. The program is used to track and report on connect time, disk usage, memory usage, cpu usage, disk I/O operations, pages printed, and database usage (connect, cpu, I/O, memory, SQLNET). Elegantly simple, customized reports are generated that combine all the data needed to analyze charges itemized for each user, group, project chargeback number and cost center. JobAcct distinguishes itself from the competition by offering these unique features:

  • Flexible distribution of disk charges among many chargeback numbers.
  • Reports that may be easily combined and produced for many systems on the network or a single host machine.
  • The ability for users to individually preview their accounting charges for each billing period.
  • Direct account billing and project-level tracking and reporting.
  • Tracking of miscellaneous charges, which enables an organization to recover charges on any type of computer related service.
  • Accounting that can include all commands, or be restrictive or exclusive to specific commands, enabling the user to charge cpu usage only for certain applications.

Users Cite JobAcct for Excellent Tech Support, Customization and MIS Cost-Savings Tech Support

Laurits R. Christensen Associates, Inc., is a Madison, Wisconsin-based econometrics consulting firm. Clients include the federal government, state and local governments and tele-communications companies. At any given time, the firm is juggling between fifteen and thirty projects, all of which use computer resources that need to be accurately tracked for budgeting purposes. "We used another leading resource accounting product first," explained Peter Hartman, system administrator for Christensen Associates. "But we weren't confident about its reliability. We couldn't get tech support to answer basic questions. For instance, we needed to take our previous method of billing and translate it into their method of billing so we could stay revenue neutral, but they couldn't tell us how they came up with their disc space calculation, and we need to know that to satisfy the auditor. Because they couldn't solve this problem, we couldn't bill our customers for about a month. We lost about $20,000." Hartman stated that their experience with JobAcct has been "tremendously better." "When you deal with UniSolutions, you're usually dealing with the developer himself [Haral Tsitsivas]," Hartman said. "He knows the company's products better than anyone and can answer any question you have. For instance, if you ask them how to compute disc space, they can tell you exactly how the figure is arrived at." JobAcct is also less cumbersome, Hartman noted. "With the other product, you had to install the package and then create separate user groups from what you have in UNIX. JobAcct can read the UNIX group information, so you don't need to set up two separate groups. It's a lot less work and less to keep track of."

Ease of Customization

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, with its two major processing centers in Portland, Oregon and Vicksburg, Mississippi, needed to keep track of resources used on their three 6000s, five 2000s and one 1000 UNIX Sun computers. Several thousand log-in users are involved. "We have Corps people throughout the United States and overseas, and these are separated into divisions," explained Sanda Smith, computer specialist in the information systems department for the Corps' Portland District. Each div ision is assigned a charge number, and users logging in specify which charge number to bill their usage to. Smith's department adds up the usage under each division charge number and distributes the bills accordingly. "We use JobAcct to keep track of each division's resource usage," Smith said. "The best part about is the customization I've been able to do," Smith said. "We want to give our users the interface they're used to seeing on our own proprietary system. So we have customized the standard JobAcct reports a fair amount, to feed it back into a database that is already in place and which collects from other processes as well." JobAcct's tech support is an integral part of the product, Smith said. "Haral made adjustments to fit our needs, again mostly having to deal with our need to customize the report data fit into our unique interface."

JobAcct: Transforming MIS Departments Into Profit Centers

At TRW, a leading military aerospace contractor based in San Diego, California, the main customer is the federal government. "Since we bid projects by the hour, the government requires us to show workstation computer usage by the hour," said Jon Sage, lead UNIX system administrator for TRW. "JobAcct solves that accounting problem for us." Sage explained that his department's primary cost is software for UNIX tools and the maintenance on it. "We decided that we needed to bill out by user log-in time rather than by cpu usage," Sage said. "A person may not use much cpu, but may tie up a workstation seat for quite a while, in which case he should be charged as much as they guy who starts up a batch job that uses a lot of cpu." JobAcct is used to keep track of all log-in time at each of the 70 UNIX workstations at TRW. "We searched for other programs that could do this but there weren't any available for a distributed UNIX system." Sage admitted that he was not thrilled about having to do this kind of "bean counting." "The user knows that once he logs in the clock is running and it may 'de-incentify' him to use the workstation." Sage also admitted that "the finance department loves it. The JobAcct program is all automated. It sends the clerk the files with the hours utilized; they input it into their financial reports and charge the software costs directly." The customized formatting for this operation was performed by JobAcct's developer, Haral Tsitsivas. "In this way," Sage summed up, "we are able to meet our customer's needs."

License fees start at $1,595-$6,445 for standalone copies, with master copies ranging from $1,995-$6,995. For more information about JobAcct, contact UniSolutions Associates at 949 488-3960, or visit their website: www.unisol.com.

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About UniSolutions Associates

UniSolutions Associates was established in 1985 to accommodate system administrators. They soon realized the changing needs of MIS departments and have generated tools to meet these needs. UniSolutions product line includes: UNISOL JobAcct, SysAdmin, BART, and UniMenu.

   

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