CATEGORY: Data Mining & Visualization

REVIEWER: Sarah O'Donnell, vice president of business development for Click Commerce.

BACKGROUND: Click Commerce is the leading provider of channel management software and services that enable large global corporations to collaborate with their trading partners via the Internet in a private marketplace. Companies using Click Commerce solutions to manage their complex distribution channels include American Standard, Black & Decker, Delphi, Emerson Electric, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, Motorola and Volvo, among others.

PLATFORMS: Visual Insights' eBizinsights XL 3.0 eBusiness performance management software comprises approximately 30 percent of Click Commerce's ClickPerformance, an intuitive data visualization and analysis solution which leverages Microsoft's .NET platform including Microsoft's SQL Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Click Commerce helps Global 2000 manufacturing companies maintain vast, integrated networks of partners (anywhere from 20 to 10,000) that collaborate and communicate across a "virtual" community via the Web. They often have several tiers of constituents ­ distributors, OEMs, resellers and customers ­ that comprise this multichannel value chain. Because our clients clamored for a quick, easy way to better analyze, measure and manage partner and customer performance, we introduced ClickPerformance as a business intelligence solution to monitor transactions and relationships by channel and horizontally across their marketplaces. A real challenge was how to take an astronomical amount of raw information mined from thousands of data points and enable our customers to view critical ­ and often hidden ­ correlations and trends among transactions. We chose to integrate Visual Insights' eBizinsights XL 3.0's patented interactive technology into ClickPerformance to provide a powerful visualization front end to data analysis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: eBizinsights XL 3.0 is an important cornerstone within ClickPerformance because it offers predefined analytical views that can be flexibly tailored to the end user. It provides our customers with the ease of graphic representations of channel activity combined with the power OLAP. By combining a number of charts, the business user gains an understanding of how different aspects of the business work together, such as promotional impact on sales over time or which services the most valuable customers rely on the most. Through simple point-and- click interactions, the business user can drill down to the data that is relevant, such as individual customers and transaction details.

STRENGTHS: Incorporating eBizinsights XL 3.0 into ClickPerformance allows companies to transform highly detailed, voluminous data into a clean, visual representation of critical summary-level information on which to make sound business decisions. Among eBizinsights XL 3.0's greatest strengths are its ease of integration with ClickPerformance, its compatibility with Microsoft architecture and its powerful visualization technology that our customers find interactive and easy to use.

WEAKNESSES: When we first attempted to implement eBizinsights XL 3.0, we found it a little cumbersome to adapt the content manager piece which connects the Visual Portal to the back-end database through a configuration layer. The creation of XML was not easy, but this has since been resolved with the help of Visual Insights.

SELECTION CRITERIA: eBizinsights XL 3.0 provides what we sought ­ an easy-to-use, out- of-the-box solution that was Microsoft compatible. It was the ideal visualization front end we needed to support our back end analytical environment through ClickPerformance. We were very impressed with eBizinsights XL 3.0's interactive graphics that provide decision- makers an easy way to make sense of complex transactions across their expansive distribution channels.

DELIVERABLES: ClickPerformance, combined with eBizinsights XL 3.0, gives our clients visibility into previously "hidden" marketplace information. It allows our customers to make instant correlations, apply metrics to gauge performance across the distribution network and take action that has a measurable impact on their businesses. This, in turn, brings value to our business.

VENDOR SUPPORT: As our OEM relationship progressed, we found Visual Insights to be responsive to our needs and open to working with us. They understand the boundaries of how ClickPerformance and eBizinsights XL 3.0 work together to bridge the gap on specific levels of functionality.

DOCUMENTATION: The end-user documentation is good; however, we've had to work closely with Visual Insights to overcome some holes in the developer documentation. They've been very helpful in addressing our requests.

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