Traditionally, a single software vendor has a platform both collecting data and reporting over it. This “all-in-one” solution may seem to be a simpler approach but there are downsides to having both the data inputs and the report outputs managed by a single source. The biggest concern is that this approach lacks doesn’t include checks and balances.
HUD has licensed the HMIS Report Generation Tool (for both csv 3.7 and csv 4.1) which uses a Distributed Reporting Model approach and there are some key benefits. As homeless management and information system (HMIS) vendors have adopted standard data exchange formats, such as the HUD CSV and HUD XML formats, the reporting responsibility can be managed by a single centralized entity rather than requiring each of the forty (40) plus software vendors carry this burden on their own.
Data warehouse environments have long been the traditional alternative to reporting outside of a software application such as HMIS. Data warehousing requires data to be exported from the software application and for this data to be sent to a secure server where it can be aggregated with other data and reported upon. The distributed reporting model is an innovative new approach in that instead of the data being sent to the reporting tool, the reporting tool is sent to the data.