Empowering RapidAdvance WithReal-time On-Demand Reporting


RapidAdvance is a leading direct provider of cash advance
services for small and midsize businesses. The company
has a business-friendly model for merchants to convert
their future credit card receivables into immediate cash
quickly and easily.

As a fast-growing business with 50 employees
and more than 1,000 customers, RapidAdvance
was starting to feel the effects of not having quick
and easy access to its corporate information. Scott
Cohenford, senior analyst at RapidAdvance, elaborated
on how this impacted their business: “Due to
time and bandwidth constraints, we didn’t have the
amount or level of reporting we needed, relying
instead on Excel spreadsheets. As a result, we started
to have fragmented communications, inefficiencies
due to manual reporting, data inaccuracy and errors
in analysis. This was especially difficult when we
needed visibility into our direct and partner revenue

What made resolving this situation particularly
challenging for RapidAdvance was that the company
didn’t have an IT team to manage the technical
requirements involved in accessing the data, reporting
and broad-based information sharing. Instead,
RapidAdvance looked to its business analyst, who
had never worked with databases or business intelligence
(BI) technologies, to solve its critical business


RapidAdvance chose Crystal Reports and crystalreports.com
to access, report and share its company data, which included
Salesforce.com. “Crystal gave us the breadth and depth
of reporting that other solutions we looked at couldn’t
deliver, including Salesforce.com itself. I downloaded the
free trial of crystalreports.com and found it unbelievably
easy to work with,” says Cohenford.

In addition to Crystal Reports and crystalreports.com,
Cohenford quickly added the data visualization tool
Crystal Xcelsius and on-demand development platform
Nsite to his library of BI tools, taking advantage of
Business Objects’ suite of on-demand offerings.
“Business Objects provides a complete on-demand
solution that allows us to continue growing our BI
strategy as we grow our business,” says Cohenford.

crystalreports.com is a Web-based report-sharing
service that allows organizations to instantly share
Crystal Reports over the Web, with nothing to deploy,
no additional costs and no dependence on IT. “A major
feature in crystalreports.com is its direct integration into
the Salesforce.com interface,” says Cohenford. “All
Salesforce users are in the application every day as part
of their daily routine. All they have to do is click on a tab
and they have all the reports they need, instantly.”


A Business-User-Driven BI Solution

RapidAdvance’s business analyst Cohenford has created
the company’s BI strategy from the ground up and runs it
on an ongoing basis. He explains the uniqueness of this
business-user-oriented approach: “We are a company
that has rolled out a pretty comprehensive reporting package
without IT, which is a new concept in any technology
implementation. Most SMBs can’t hire full-time developers
or report writers, and with crystalreports.com, you
don’t need to. As a business user, I automate meaningful
BI in a matter of days.”

Quick Implementation Time

Cohenford had his BI solution up and running
in short order. “With the free trial and
some textbooks, I was able to recreate – and
improve – all our reports in three weeks,” he
said. “For someone to walk in without
report-creation experience and build a large
library of business reports speaks to the userfriendliness
of the products.”

Access to Critical Company

RapidAdvance currently has more than 40
users who view more than 200 reports,
with users expected to grow to 70–100 by
the end of 2007. Cohenford can control
and manage access by user, with different
types of users granted authorization to
view only their relevant reports. All reports
are hosted on crystalreports.com.

Cohenford states that “now we can
look at an infinite number of data points.”
Information that RapidAdvance delivers to
its end users includes:

  • Sales – RapidAdvance’s sales team
    can log in to their Salesforce.com
    account and click on the crystalreports.
    com tab to view a number
    of different reports – based on
    Salesforce.com and their finance
    database – including performance,
    commission and pipeline reports.
  • Partner – RapidAdvance partners are
    given a crystalreports.com login to
    view information such as sales and
    commission reports. Says Cohenford,
    “This has enabled us to maintain realtime
    communication with our partners
    in an automated fashion.”
  • Executives – RapidAdvance executives
    now have real-time access to critical
    information, including company
    snapshot and performance reports,
    to help them make informed
    business decisions.

Additional users in the risk management,
finance and marketing departments can
each view relevant reports hosted on

RapidAdvance also hosts its Crystal
Xcelsius dashboards on crystalreports.com,
providing its direct and partner sales channels
with an interactive pricing calculator
to quickly and easily create quotes. This
allows the company to keep its proprietary
model hidden while addressing key
sales needs.

In the future, RapidAdvance will be
using Business Objects’ on-demand development
platform, Nsite, to facilitate its
proposal process and help accelerate its
sales cycle.

“crystalreports.com has changed
our business,” concludes Cohenford.
“It’s made a tremendous difference in
our ability to communicate with our
partners and managers, and it’s made
it immeasurably easier for us to
focus on running a profitable and
growing business.”