CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWERS: Patty Ballard, manager of planning systems, and Kerry Palmer, financial analyst, for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

BACKGROUND: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is one of the world's largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies, with proved reserves of 2.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent at year-end 2002. Anadarko's operational focus extends from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and prolific Texas, Louisiana and Mid-Continent basins, up through the Western U.S. and Canadian Rockies and onto the North Slope of Alaska. Anadarko also has significant production in Algeria, Venezuela and Qatar and is executing strategic exploration programs in several other countries.

PLATFORMS: Anadarko is operating dynaSight on HP servers running Windows 2000. All clients/developers are running Windows XP.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The planning group at Anadarko was on a mission to provide timely access to financial data through an intuitive, graphical interface while eliminating the stacks of paper reports distributed monthly. The product needed to be able to integrate Essbase and Oracle data seamlessly to the end user and be delivered within the corporate portal environment.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The arcplan dynaSight product is functioning extremely well. Our end users have access to data they were never able to obtain before, and, as you would expect, now they want more. Deployed applications include: balance sheet, capital, well information, head count, P&L and an IT dashboard. We are currently developing a budgeting application using dynaSight.

STRENGTHS: Ease of development is a key strength of dynaSight. Thanks to its intuitive development environment and its assemble-to- order approach, you do not have to be a programmer to develop very slick, tailored applications. We were able to implement our solution in just three months. Another requirement for Anadarko is that any product we use must be able to integrate very smoothly with Essbase, which dynaSight does. In fact, it accesses almost any back-end data system on the market, allowing us to keep our options open for the future while protecting our current investment. One of the more surprising strengths is how little dynaSight costs to own and maintain.

WEAKNESSES: Sometimes you don't always get what you see on the developer client when you publish to the Web, which is mostly minor. It would also be nice to be able to save your preferences as to numeric formatting, aliases, etc. We use Essbase aliases in a majority of our reports.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our primary goal was to find a product that would integrate with our Essbase models. Of all the solutions we investigated, arcplan's dynaSight did the best job of integrating with Essbase and was the only product able to take advantage of all the "extras" available within Essbase such as substitution variables and attributes. It was also critical that it be easy to develop because neither of us are programmers, and we had a very short time frame in which to complete our project. We had a variety of reporting needs, and dynaSight proved to be flexible enough to handle all of them.

DELIVERABLES: Currently the product is producing reports and graphs ­ a few of which we have enabled to export to Excel. We also have links to several Excel and Word documents. With the budgeting application we are developing, the product will be creating and sending budgets and forecasts to one of our Essbase models. The solution supports 124 users so far.

VENDOR SUPPORT: arcplan has been very supportive throughout our entire relationship with them. Customer support is responsive and timely. The company is very willing to listen to users and their ideas, and has implemented some of those ideas.

DOCUMENTATION: The online documentation is relatively complete and easy to understand. While the tool is extremely easy to learn, we're not sure that someone could just sit down with the online documentation without ever having had any training and develop very sophisticated reports. The user training is excellent. There is no hard-copy user manual.

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