Changepoint Corporation provides comprehensive professional services automation (PSA) solutions to effectively manage the entire IT services delivery process. Change-point's Web-based software and online exchange, myChangepoint.com, automates and streamlines the business processes of IT organizations allowing services supply chain users to operate and interoperate across a common framework. With myChangepoint.com, IT organizations have the power to improve relationships with customers, partners and contractors while simultaneously improving the profitability and efficiency of their entire business.

IT services organizations are under pressure to deliver top-notch products and services to their clients in the quickest, most efficient manner possible. In order to be more profitable and competitive, business decision-makers of IT services organizations need to access and visualize the trends and relationships hidden within the stored data. By directly embedding the industry-leading visualization capabilities of Knosys ProClarity into its PSA software, Changepoint is improving the ability of IT services organization decision-makers to analyze complex business data.

Changepoint customers needed a way to access and analyze data in the existing product, and they recognized an opportunity to enhance their overall solution. By adding enhanced analytical functionality to their solution, Changepoint could provide customers with greater functionality, reduced complexity and shorter time to informed decisions.

Changepoint quickly realized that building and maintaining the solution internally would be very expensive and time-consuming. In investigating the "buy" approach, the ProClarity Analytical Platform solution quickly surfaced as the best choice. Changepoint chose to embed ProClarity analytics into the solution because it is the only true analytical OEM platform, and Knosys products are tightly integrated with Microsoft technology and development teams. In addition, Knosys' professional consulting staff helped shorten time to market by consulting on the structuring, design and modeling of data, including building cubes.

Changepoint business development, marketing and development teams worked with Knosys to embed ProClarity analytics into the Changepoint solution. Changepoint provided the content of the application while Knosys provided the Microsoft OLAP technology and analytical knowledge and experience. To date, Changepoint has been extremely successful rolling out this solution, with more than 45 customers using the solution.

The main challenges Changepoint faced in taking on the analytics project were knowledge transfer and training. Changepoint worked with Knosys for technical knowledge transfer, sales strategies, marketing tips and technical training. Knosys consulted with Changepoint to start the project and to very quickly bring the necessary parties up to speed on Microsoft OLAP Services and ProClarity. Knosys' extensive technical and sales and marketing experience with OLAP Services helped put Changepoint on the road to success. Changepoint spent a significant amount of time defining cubes that customers would value and continues to include customers in defining the measures that are important to their business rather than using a trial-and-error process.

Changepoint forged a strategic technology licensing partnership with Knosys, a provider of OLAP technology. The deal enables Change-point to embed ProClarity components, designed specifically for use with Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services, directly into its product offering. As a result, Changepoint users benefit from advanced business analysis capabilities.

The Changepoint solution organizes data so that users can quickly manipulate, view and explore critical business information in a way that exposes patterns, trends and relationships. Changepoint collects the data in multidimensional cubes that can be arranged, compared and explored in real time using intuitive visualization tools. Knosys' advanced visualization components provide Changepoint users with the ability to visually decompose complex services business data. Decision-makers can also quickly sort relevant information from thousands of data points to more effectively analyze the interaction of multiple measures simultaneously.

Practical Advice

  • An organization should conduct a thorough analysis of its business requirements and take into consideration what other BI techniques and tools are being used.
  • Try to think outside the box ­ don't confuse what you are currently doing with what you should be doing.
  • Keep the audience in mind. The tool must be intuitive and user friendly since end users will have a variety of technical skills.
  • Don't skimp on the up-front planning and consulting ­ from a technical/data perspective as well as from a deployment perspective.
  • Be sure to plan for training. BI is very powerful; and no matter how technically adept the audience is, training will help them get the most out of the tool.

"Customers tell us that one of the key benefits of PSA software is the aggregation of all business data in one solution," said Gerry Smith, president and CEO of Changepoint Corporation. "Our partnership with Knosys provides our customers with unprecedented real-time analysis of all aspects of their business. From the sales pipeline to engagements to resource management, the embedded OLAP capabilities in Changepoint will unleash the true benefit of professional services automation."

ProClarity, from Knosys, Inc. is an award-winning business analysis application designed specifically for Microsoft's Windows DNA 2000 platform including SQL Server. ProClarity provides intuitive front-end access to powerful analytic capabilities for decision support that reduces costs and time to market while improving key metrics including revenue, profits, customer satisfaction, employee effectiveness and market share.

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