BACKGROUND: Santen, Incorporated, with headquarters in Napa, California, is the U.S. subsidiary of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, one of the largest prescription ophthalmic companies in the world. Listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since 1963, our prescription eye product sales are approaching $1 billion annually. We perform research and development for the U. S. market as well as serving as headquarters for Santen's business in Europe, responsible for international regulatory affairs, manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution of ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, chemicals and medical equipment.

PLATFORMS: Santen runs KCI Computing CONTROL on a Windows NT Server with SQL Server RDBMS and Microsoft Windows 95 clients.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Santen's main concern has been in accessing timely information, closing books as quickly as possible and expediting production of ad hoc reports for management. In the past, it took us more time than we would have liked to close our books. Our Excel reports carried a considerable linkage load, and it was difficult to zoom in on a particular function, project or product line without diverting analysts from day-to-day assignments. With the dynamic consolidating system provided by CONTROL, our access to information takes place much quicker and with less effort. Now that we have CONTROL installed and operating, we can close our books in just a couple of days. We have a feed from our SAP general ledger application directly to CONTROL, and now we can respond in a more timely fashion to management requests for nonproduction reports and studies. We can slice and dice information by departments or projects, or by any combination of departments and projects; and we do not have to go back into the database and perform recalculations.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use CONTROL as a tool for storing and rolling up our cost center detail information for consolidated reports. We can perform allocations of overhead costs through the "manipulate" functions for internal management reports ­ which means we do not have to store that data in our general ledger. We use CONTROL's capabilities to allocate fringe benefits, facility costs and other nonproject- specific operating expenses across our twenty-six departments and twenty-eight various projects. With its multidimensional views, CONTROL enables us to quickly view and analyze data in a way that allows us to clearly understand how the business is really operating.

STRENGTHS: CONTROL has built-in functionality for everything from planning and budgeting through analysis and reporting. It integrates the entire financial process using in-place tools (Excel front end and an RDBMS), allowing us to drill right to source data. It is powerful, flexible, user friendly and easy to install and learn. We appreciate the strong support received from the vendor (KCI Computing, Inc.) as well as the high comfort level we have with the user interface.

WEAKNESSES: CONTROL is a comprehensive system with lots of functionality, so we had to become very focused in our attention during the learning process. We needed to put in significant effort to really capitalize on all the features it offers; but once we got up to speed, it has met our needs very well.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Santen chose CONTROL because we determined that CONTROL is the most cost-effective tool in its class.

DELIVERABLES: Our activities require numerous outputs delivered on a rigorous schedule. We produce a full reporting package including P&L, balance sheet, cash flow statement, operating expense by department, operating expenses by project, and by department and project. CONTROL integrates well with SAP R3 as a great reporting tool.

VENDOR SUPPORT: KCI Computing provided us with knowledgeable on-site consultants during our implementation. We continue to enjoy the benefits of ongoing consultant visits, phone support and training at our site and at KCI's office in southern California.

DOCUMENTATION: CONTROL comes with both traditional manuals and online documentation. That documentation has been relatively easy to use; we are confident at this point in our implementation that we can operate in a CONTROL environment without making help desk calls to KCI. Training and on-site support (as well as CONTROL's solid foundation in Excel) have quickly brought our analysts up to speed. As our knowledge base as CONTROL users expands, we expect to provide new users with more local training and help.

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