BACKGROUND: Concert, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Telecommunications plc, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is a leading provider of global telecommunications services. Concert recently implemented a dynamic data warehouse and reporting solution known as CRISP (Concert Reporting Infrastructure, Systems and Processes).

PLATFORMS: Concert is running the Actuate Report Server on Windows NT, and reports can be accessed from any browser or client. The Actuate Report Server is available on NT and UNIX (Sun, HP, IBM).

PROBLEM SOLVED: Concert was required to integrate data from numerous source systems existing between the partners and distributors. They also needed to offer their 40+ international distributors timely and easy access to information concerning Concert's products and services. One other essential requirement of the proposed solution was combining the data warehouse/reporting needs of the distributors with Concert's own internal information access needs. To accomplish this, Concert implemented a comprehensive system, based upon a data warehouse, multiple data marts and the Actuate Reporting System. Concert's system issues between 300 and 400 reports a day, requiring Actuate's scalable architecture for report creation and distribution. Many additional Actuate reports are produced by Concert's distributors for their corresponding customer base. Concert's data warehouse implementation took roughly 13 months and is continuing to expand. Implementation of the initial phase of the Actuate Reporting System took approximately 30 days. With limited formal training required, Actuate's Web-enabled reports can easily be navigated by all participating distributors around the world, which has contributed to Concert's successful worldwide roll out.

STRENGTHS: The Actuate Reporting System provides Concert with the reporting infrastructure for the publication and distribution of its product, service and corporate data and also provides Concert's distributors and customers with a consistent look and feel for their reporting needs. The system has improved the quality and accuracy of the information provided resulting in clearer, more informed business decisions. Actuate's object oriented architecture is highly programmable, allowing developers to quickly and easily create even the most sophisticated and complicated reports. Concert's distributors build reports from a library of reusable components which speeds development time and simplifies maintenance. In addition, reusable components ensure a consistent look and feel. The flexibility of the Actuate Reporting System has enabled it to be seamlessly integrated into this architecture while providing the scalability required to meet the extremely demanding reporting requirements of a global telecommunication company and its distributors. With the added benefit of Web-based reporting, global distribution of information is greatly simplified. Facilitated by Actuate, Concert's data warehouse/reporting system allows Concert's many customers and distributors the ability to access product and service information via the Web. The data mart allows for both centralized and distributed report production. A number of Concert's distributors have the Concert management reporting environment (a report server and data mart deployed at the distributor's location) which facilitates distributed reporting production. The remaining distributors receive reports either via the Web or e-mail from Concert's centralized system.

WEAKNESSES: Concert required report bursting, which is the ability to assign different formats, as well as separate distribution and viewing privileges, to subsections of one large corporate report. This feature has since been included as part of the release of Actuate Reporting System 3.2.2.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Concert chose Actuate's Reporting System 3.2 for its unsurpassed Web performance, ease of use and highly adaptable development environment.

DELIVERABLES: The Actuate Reporting System enabled Concert to migrate to a Web-based reporting paradigm and granted the company the flexibility to incorporate scheduling, ad hoc and demand reporting into the overall data mart solution. With Actuate, Concert has been able to integrate data from multiple sources into active, intelligent reports, which can then be distributed and accessed throughout the enterprise and the Web.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Actuate provides high-quality technical support via telephone, e-mail and their Web site.

DOCUMENTATION: Product documentation is extensive and well-organized.

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