Escape Online 5 Report Performance

Greetings Escape Bloggers! In mid April, I celebrate my first 3 months as part of the Escape Team. All I can say is, "wow, what an exciting ride!".   In that short time, we have released a service pack patch bundle for version 13.3, version 13.4, and version 14.1. Version 14.2 is just on the horizon. Believe me, keeping our fantastic customers up to date has really kept me hopping lately. At the recent Escape Company Meeting, I was asked to present some statistical information regarding Escape Online 5 Reports performance. This exciting opportunity gave me a chance to become familiar with the wealth of statistical information that the Escape Online system collects as well as an opportunity to exercise some mental muscles that hadn't gotten much use in the last few years.

One of the tasks for my position in Escape Technical Support is gathering and analysis of Application and Report statistics, also known as the "StatisticsTaskForce". This project is especially interesting to me since I often performed this type of analysis as a Software Performance Engineer for a software development company in a previous era of my career. In that role, understanding application workload - the parts of the application that the customer USES - was critical to development and testing efforts. We often found that everyone had their own perception of how that customers were using the software, and the workload analysis reports produced by our group cleared up many misconceptions, and occasionally resolved disagreements, too. In fact, we also discovered when we *asked* the end users what parts of the software they used most, it was often quite different from what they were *actually* doing. The only way to know the facts were to gather statistics and analyze them.

As a Software Performance Engineer, we frequently referred to what we called the 80-20 rule: 80% of what the end user does is concentrated in about 20% of the application. This is true of Escape Online 5 users as well. To illustrate this relationship, I parsed and analyzed application statistics from 17 sites having a wide variation in size, geographic, and demographic distribution. Of the 443 distinct Escape Online 5 activities captured in the statistics, about 80% of the workload was concentrated on 30 of those activities. This information is invaluable to a development organization when making decisions for prioritizing tasks and allocating resources. We compared this data to the list priorities from JenE, our Product Manager, and for the most part the priorities lined up perfectly. Below is an illustration of the Escape Online 5 Activity workload distribution organized by most frequently used.


The pie chart is pretty busy, but does show that the top 5 Activities are: HREmploymentMgmtList, VendorRequisitionList, HRPayDtlEmpV2ViewList, PaymentList, BudgetEntryList.

Another aspect of the SPE workload analysis tasks focused on application performance. In this area, we had number of guiding tenets that helped everyone maintain focus. The primary philosophy was summed up as:   "Good application performance is all about getting a day's work done in a day." In other words, if an end user could not complete daily tasks because the software was slow, then that constituted poor software performance.

After the company meeting, BobT asked for more details on the Escape Reports performance. He was interested in report performance at one (1) second intervals for the top 20 reports, so I wrote some queries to extract that information from the statistics detail tables. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority (99%) of those top 20 reports completed in 10 seconds or less. Here's a graphic that illustrates this point for the PayDtlEmpList99 report:


While the Top 20 Reports appear to be performing well, I plan to complete a similar analysis across ALL reports and identify those that could benefit by some optimization. Our goal is to ensure that we produce the BEST Software for the Business of Education, and monitoring the performance of the application and reports is one of the many ways we strive to achieve that goal.