PLATFORMS: DecisionSuite is used for OLAP analysis accessing a Red Brick database on a Hewlett-Packard platform.
BACKGROUND: Chicago-based 360° Communications is the second largest publicly held wireless company in the United States and provides wireless voice and data service to 2.6 million customers in more than 100 markets throughout 15 states.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to building an internal data warehouse, 360° relied exclusively on ad hoc 4GL reporting using its billing vendor's systems. The company decided it needed to house company data on site to lower reporting costs and to increase visibility of available data. 360°'s billing vendor only maintained on-line account history for six months, which made true trend analyses impossible. A corporate data warehouse and OLAP reporting solution would enable the organization to provide cost-effective, timely analyses that accurately measure performance in relation to past sales and growth trends.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DecisionSuite's OLAP reports are fully integrated and deployed using 360°'s intranet. DecisionSuite's centralized security effectively manages access and report creation functionality by workgroups to ensure consistent information access and data warehouse reporting. Agents automatically broadcast reports to interested WebOLAP users whenever the data warehouse is refreshed.
STRENGTHS: DecisionSuite provides the interactive, time-series analysis 360°'s users needed to monitor sales trends of unique rate plans in over 100 markets. For example, DecisionSuite is used to monitor customer churn for over 1,800 distribution points as well as monitor how 360°'s custom- calling features, such as three-way calling, voice mail and call forwarding, are selling by location and rate plan. Users needed the ability to drill on a report to instantly view summarized and detailed information on sales, revenue and air-time usage. DecisionSuite's WebOLAP provided the codeless desktop solution that gave users the interactive reporting they needed, while minimizing training and maintenance costs.
WEAKNESSES: Using Information Advantage's prototyping workshop, DecisionCenter, 360° prepared a prototype of its application using sales data that was then brought back and loaded onto 360°'s system at its headquarters. Looking back over their implementation, 360° could have better defined their data sources and schema design prior to teaming with DecisionCenter's technical staff.
SELECTION CRITERIA: DecisionSuite was selected primarily because of its scalable architecture and superior Web integration with WebOLAP. In addition, DecisionSuite's three-tier architecture is designed so it doesn't create temporary tables or analysis cubes within the system that would slow performance. Information Advantage's client references gave 360° the confidence that DecisionSuite would offer the scalable solution to grow from a prototype to an enterprise solution.
DELIVERABLES: Today, 360° is completely self-sufficient and is delivering OLAP analyses to 50 WebOLAP users, including their sales managers, marketing analysts and executive staff. Ten power users create all DecisionSuite reports using DecisionSuite's Analysis desktop application.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Information Advantage's DecisionCenter, education and hotline support staff played key roles in helping 360° design their data model and meta data, train their technical staff and assist in implementing a production system.
DOCUMENTATION: WebOLAP leverages the traditional Web capabilities which provided the assistance that 360°'s Web users needed to use the product. The technical documentation for DecisionSuite was complete and was a valuable reference after technical training. DecisionSuite's desktops eliminate the need for the end user to understand SQL or the details of the data warehouses, allowing them to exclusively focus on the business application.
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