SQL*XL - Customer Case Study


Visiting Nurse Service of New York


With over 6,650 highly skilled caregivers, VNS is the largest not-for-profit home health care agency in the nation.




Requirements to meet

As project manager for two key systems (PeopleSoft Budgets and a custom inventory system), we need to be able to develop test data and data for 'one time' tasks rapidly and accurately. A number of the people in the end user community we are working with needed to be able to review and change test data before we had a 'formally developed' system for user entry and reporting.

Issues to tackle

As long time users of SQL PLus and TOAD, we are able to use these tools to do most of what we needed however they fall well short of the mark for ease of use and clumsy to use for creating and updating Oracle tables that are used for the development of test cases. We needed a tool that was easy to use and could leverage non-programmers' knowledge of an existing office tool for both queries and updates.

Approach taken

We chose SQL*XL and it has enabled us to be incredibly responsive to end user's requests for information in a format that they can both understand and also use for further analysis. We can rapidly build test cases. For example we can take use SQL*XL to select a set of inventory data for a particular stock room and then 'clone' it within Excel to create multiple stock rooms of data. We can then quickly alter the data to build test cases that we wish to explore in our inventory allocations process and update the database we have built. For our budgets system we plan to use SQL*XL's access and update capabilties within VBA to build more sophisticated budgeting methods than are available in PeopleSoft. Using PeopleSoft's delivered spread sheet add in function, it will be relatively easy for us to build a reialble, easy to use and sophsiticated end user budgeting tool.


Because the learning curve is so small (productive in thirty minutes for queries,d eletes and updates!), we have made a dramatic dent in our ability to be responsive to the needs of our inventory project. We used to have to queue up for programmer time to handle any table manipulation (Delete, Update, Insert) operations. Now, for all but the most sophisticated problems of that type, systems and QA analysts can perform these functions on their own and can leverage their knowledge of Excel to build better test cases, etc.