REVIEWER: Randy Mannshreck, assistant treasurer for T. D. Williamson, Inc.

BACKGROUND: T. D. Williamson, Inc. is a global manufacturer and service company providing products and services for the repair and maintenance of pipelines. With more than 80 years of experience, the company is a leading designer and manufacturer of engineered systems for tapping, plugging, pigging and inspecting piping and pipelines.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft server on an IBM blade server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our needs were twofold: we needed to change our planning process so that it was highly collaborative, and we needed a platform to enable strategic analysis. Specifically, we wanted a solution that allowed appropriate operational personnel to analyze costs, headcount and measures of strategic success by markets and customers.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Applix TM1 is a complete performance management platform that serves as both the core financial analysis and reporting application and the unifying application for managing multiple aspects of operating the business.

STRENGTHS: We've found TM1 to be particularly well suited to the collaborative analysis and planning process. With OLAPObjects as our Web interface, TM1 allows all executives, operations vice presidents and financial analysts to view and adjust information, working from the same version of the truth. In the future, we plan on migrating from OLAPObjects to TM1 Web. Our users can perform what-if analysis and ad hoc queries and reporting regardless of location. Because TM1 (through its extract, transform and load tool, Turbo Integrator) is integrated with all our IT and general ledger applications - including Microsoft Great Plains, MANMAN and Baan - the information served in TM1 is always accurate, reflecting the current state of the business.

WEAKNESSES: TM1 and TM1 Web only present information and reporting options in Microsoft Excel. While that is the perfect environment for our finance team, not all the operations people are as comfortable working with spreadsheets. As we continue to roll out TM1 to more users, we'd like to see other front-end options, such as dashboards or portals.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We did not have the time or resources to make a mistake in our selection process. After performing our initial research, we asked a small group of leading business performance management vendors to let our team perform hands-on operations during a prescripted prototype. We wanted to try it for ourselves before buying. When "kicking the tires" on TM1, we were able to visualize how easy it is to model and configure new applications. Applix and TM1 stood out from the competition.

DELIVERABLES: Now that T. D. Williamson has TM1 deployed widely, we have been able to streamline our budgeting process and quickly develop comprehensive management reports. Even better, TM1 is a highly collaborative environment for our financial analysts and management and will serve as the foundation for them to easily identify and track online interdependencies between global offices. Our short-term goals are to use this application to analyze and optimize equipment and labor usage across different divisions.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We worked with Creeth, Richman & Associates as our implementation partner. Richard Creeth and his team helped us to design our TM1 cubes and deploy the application.

DOCUMENTATION: Although we have not used the Applix documentation much, it has suited our needs when we have used it.

Applix, Inc.
289 Turnpike Road
Westborough, MA 01581
(508) 870-0300

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