REVIEWER: Jason Vetsch, senior director of information delivery, and Gerald Raddatz, project manager, data infrastructure, at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

BACKGROUND: Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) is a leading corporate travel management partner to companies around the world, with operations in 140 countries and annual sales of $19 billion. CWT designs and implements superior travel management programs for clients based upon its recognized consulting expertise, strong purchasing power, technological know-how and high-quality service.

PLATFORM: HP 9000 running HP-UX 11i operating system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With companies increasingly focused on better managing their travel expenses, we provide our multinational clients with timely global travel spend data to readily analyze and better leverage their travel spend. The challenge lies not just in collecting raw data from multiple transaction systems and databases around the world (including air travel, rental car, hotel and credit card systems), but also in rationalizing the vast variety of formats and input sources in order to drive consistent reporting and meaningful analysis of trusted data. In solving this problem, CWT became the first travel management company to deliver high-quality, consolidated travel reporting to its clients on a global basis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Informatica PowerCenter is the critical backbone of our information infrastructure, ensuring that data from more than 150,000 daily transactions is internally cleansed and transformed, and then aggregated for delivery to corporate clients. As an enterprise data integration platform, PowerCenter provides the powerful performance capabilities required for large-scale mappings that consolidate local to global information. Inherent in the platform are also robust data quality capabilities that support our data governance efforts - for example, ferreting out records that do not meet predefined criteria so they can be corrected at the point of origin. Additionally, Informatica's PowerExchange data access software streamlines the data extraction process and enables us to keep our data synchronized by linking changes across databases in real time.

STRENGTHS: PowerCenter's meta data-driven transformations help us enhance the quality of our data and maintain its value, while promoting reuse. In addition, performance and scalability are key strengths of the PowerCenter platform, with advances being made with each new release of the software that enable us to respond quickly to peak usage demands and changing business needs. PowerCenter also provides an extremely visual development and execution environment, enabling us to use templates and reusable objects for all mappings for more rapid development as well as consistency across all core data integration processes.

WEAKNESSES: Given our reliance on PowerCenter as a core technology, we would like to see more robust versioning functionality.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were looking for an enterprise data integration platform that would not only support our data quality initiatives, but also serve as the technology foundation for an integration competency center, or center of excellence. For this purpose, reliability, stability, usability and adaptability were, and continue to be, of paramount importance. Given the wide variety of sources for our data, we also saw the importance of having a meta data-driven platform that would allow us to easily track various data attributes that contribute to overall data quality. PowerCenter met all of these needs and is being successfully used within our organization by people with a wide range of skill sets. It has been easy to train people to use PowerCenter and quickly drive business value with the platform.

DELIVERABLES: We use PowerCenter to consolidate and transform information generated globally for comprehensive travel reporting and analysis of trusted data, enabling CWT and its clients to analyze worldwide traveler and supplier trends, track compliance with corporate travel mandates and optimally manage travel expenditures.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Informatica has provided exemplary support, characterized by rapid response and a comprehensive Web-based support and product knowledge ecosystem.

DOCUMENTATION: PowerCenter documentation is comprehensive, easily understood and available online. It contains everything necessary to become quickly productive with the platform.

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