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Quality Charts in a Customized Textbook

  • Case Study
  • Jul 24, 2010
  • ICS Marketing Support Services

Customer Profile

ICS Marketing Support Services

ICS Marketing Support Services opened its doors in 1990 as a 5-person data processing service bureau and has since grown into a well-rounded marketing support organization with 50 employees and over 150 clients each month. Whether we work directly with small to mid-sized businesses or with large marketing agencies, we help them grow their businesses using:

  • Data and technology
  • Advanced marketing disciplines
  • Innovative strategic thinking
  • Strong customer service
  • A continuing focus on quality and timely delivery

Solution Profile

ICS creates custom tailored assessment reports for customers with many charts. The reports are delivered in a variety of formats over the Web.

Business Situation

An analyst can produce a couple of reports, but our client needed the capability to produce hundreds of reports each month. The 180+ page reports needed to display charts based on a statistical analysis of data collected from the client.

Business Challenges

We had a number of uses both for internal job reporting and external customers, and we wanted a consistent reporting methodology. The biggest challenge was to find something that is well documented and easy to understand so developers could easily come up to speed on producing a variety of reports. We needed to:

  • Create custom reports over the Web
  • Deliver reports in a variety of formats
  • Get up and running quickly

Why ActiveReports?

We considered Crystal Reports and SQL Server Reporting Services, and even MS Word Mail-Merge, however, no other solution provided the flexibility, ease of use, and functionality that ActiveReports offered. We were producing useful deliverables the same day we downloaded the demo, even though we required some technical support. The support was that good, and that fast!

  • We wanted the ability to deliver reports in a variety of formats.
  • We wanted technical support that allowed us to easily communicate with people who understood the product.
  • We wanted access to the developers to suggest new features or API customization.
  • We needed to create complex and highly tailored graphics.


ICS develops highly tailored assessment reports for our customers. Our reports need to display charts based on a statistical analysis. ActiveReports has allowed us to produce high quality charting as an integral aspect of a 180+ page customized "text book." The verbiage changes based on the relative performance of the user.

"ActiveReports has been our 'secret weapon' to come to market under budget and ahead of schedule."

~ Barry Carr, IT Manager, ICS Marketing Support Services

We did a lot of chart control manipulation, for example, moving labels and setting quadrant lines. This is one of the reasons why ActiveReports worked so well. We had a fine degree of control over the chart object, so we could really customize the look.

"There is nothing else that allows this level of precise programmatic control.""

~Barry Carr

We created our entire solution with the Standard Edition of ActiveReports. In one version, we upload the raw data from people who fill out the survey on our site; in another version the client uploads data captured from another site. We crunch the data to produce the various data elements, and then the summarized scores drive the report. We swap in text based on comparisons with the group, and annotate charts based on the data.

Performance/Importance Chart


Our assessment reports allow the users to have a much more interactive experience. The text references specifics about their performance, so it appears as if an analyst has personally produced the report for them. The biggest benefit has been the scalability of the solution. An analyst can produce a couple of reports, but our client needed the capability to produce hundreds of reports each month.

Looking Ahead

The biggest benefit we've seen in choosing ActiveReports has been the continued development and enhancement of the tool. It has allowed us to stay current with platform advances.