CATEGORY: Portals

REVIEWER: Mike Coatney, president of ACME Truck Line, Inc.

BACKGROUND: ACME Truck Line, Inc., headquartered in the heart of the New Orleans financial district, is a private, interstate trucking firm with annual revenues approaching $100 million. Twenty- four hours a day throughout the year, a fleet of more than 1,200 trucks operates out of 30 service locations in seven states. ACME operates a state-of- the-art computerized truck management and centralized dispatch facility for efficient use of truck assets. The system is Internet-based for quick and effective dispatching and provides complete billing and customer support.

PLATFORMS: CleverPath Portal runs on Windows NT with SQL Server for the portal repository. CleverPath EUREKA Reporter, running on NT server, takes data from AS/400. Another sales and marketing database runs on NT with SQL Server. Information from the sales and marketing database is also extended from the portal to various wireless devices using WAP.

PROBLEM SOLVED: ACME needed to provide a means for allowing customers to effectively interact with the logistics department to facilitate quicker, less expensive shipping. Using CA's CleverPath Portal provides better service for customers, seamless interaction with shippers, clear differentiation from competitors and greater efficiency for the logistics team. With the Portal, ACME can now handle 15 to 20 percent more shipping orders than before.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CleverPath Portal is a central element of ACME's information architecture. It is devoted to servicing key customers that account for nearly 30 percent of revenue. Through the portal, our major clients can create, manage and analyze the entire spectrum of their shipping requirements. The portal provides the framework for live status reports and monthly analysis reports from CleverPath Reporter, as well as corporate news and links to other information from the company Web site. Sales and marketing personnel can also receive reports from the portal via various wireless devices. The analysis reports show cost saving details to clients, formatted for easy analysis. Shippers can also receive automatic notifications on the status of their shipments.

STRENGTHS: ACME's portal was implemented in just a few months and required very little user training. Most of the education focused on the complementary reporting capabilities. Since the initial implementation, the portal has been stable with only one IT person responsible for its administration.

WEAKNESSES: We have experienced no weaknesses with CleverPath Portal. However, we have experienced a learning curve in designing the reports and the scripts to pull the information from our AS/400 database. Because the system is so open-ended, it has taken a few attempts to focus on delivering the right information in a clear and simple format.

SELECTION CRITERIA: ACME selected CleverPath Portal because it was the most cost-effective portal that met our business objectives. Additionally, the portal quickly proved it was extremely easy to administer and use, which was key to internal and customer acceptance.

DELIVERABLES: Improving time to market by providing a robust, e- commerce solution, the portal allows ACME clients to view and customize information in practical formats via the Web. It also enables ACME to deliver exceptional service to clients by providing both external and internal parties with all the information required to make decisions. The portal also enables collaboration across organizational boundaries and accelerates ACME's business processes. For example, we can now electronically bid our services with larger corporate shippers, giving us a real competitive advantage.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We have a proven track record for customer satisfaction, business integrity and financial stability. Therefore, we looked for a vendor with the same reputation. CA has consistently delivered on all fronts. In particular, we relied on the CA services team during the initial implementation of our portal solution and found them to be extremely knowledgeable and professional.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for CleverPath Portal is complete and easy to understand, from both an administrator and end- user perspective. The Getting Started Guide for administrators is comprehensive, yet concise, and the portal itself features extensive online help that makes it easy for users to learn the key features and functions.

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