BACKGROUND: CNS, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a leading consumer goods manufacturer that designs and markets innovative health and personal care consumer goods. Founded in 1982 as a medical technology company, CNS strives to enhance everyday life by solving common problems with innovative solutions.

PLATFORMS: CorVu's solution runs on IBM AIX, Sun Solaris, HP-UX and Windows NT and supports Oracle, Progress, SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, rdb, CA-Ingres, Paradox, DB2, SQLBase, OS/400 DB, dBASE IV and open database connectivity (ODBC).

PROBLEM SOLVED: In order to be more responsive to the competitive consumer goods industry, we needed the ability to effectively measure and analyze our quality of services. We wanted to adopt management by exception (MBE), enabling managers to focus attention on those areas with the highest variance and to become more involved in all levels of the organization. However, we lacked the information technology infrastructure to bring our strategic goals to fruition. For more than two years, we had been manually tracking sales as well as operational and organizational key performance indicators (KPIs), but this did not provide sufficient enterprise analysis capability. Implementing and sustaining MBE became a maintenance nightmare, with employees spending at least 120 hours each month gathering, keying-in and updating performance data. In addition, performance reports were static, providing no analytical functionality. We knew we needed a better solution.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The CorVu Enterprise Business Performance Management Suite enables CNS to improve business processes, track trends and discover new areas of business. With CorVu, we can automate the MBE process and align strategy with tactical operations. CorVu helps us to manage all components of the business such as financial, sales and operational performance at the corporate, departmental and retail-site levels. Now our executives can track vital metrics using the accurate and current information CorVu retrieves directly from our data sources, which is then scrutinized using CorVu's broad and robust analysis capabilities. The CorVu solution tracks both leading and lagging performance measures, enabling managers to better understand which activities drive business performance. With CorVu's Web-deployable Business Performance Management capabilities, our sales force, operations managers and top-level executives are able to track performance metrics on the fly, from the office or on the road. As a result, we are able to be more responsive to the dynamic and competitive consumer goods industry.

STRENGTHS: CorVu provides up-to-the-minute information to our sales representatives, allowing them to retrieve current sales information through their browser. In addition, the CNS sales force uses CorVu to identify additional sales opportunities with clients and prospects. With the organizational insight realized from CorVu's analytical functions, we have expanded and altered KPIs to better assess business needs.

WEAKNESSES: We found the report writer module to be somewhat difficult to use. We also have had trouble getting the executive alert application online.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated a variety of business intelligence solutions and chose CorVu because it provided a complete enterprise business performance management solution. It is the best-of-class application providing a Web-deployed, top-level view of organizational performance with multiple analytical functions such as executive alerts, forecasting and "what-if" analyses.

DELIVERABLES: With CorVu, CNS understands that the health of the enterprise is vital to appropriate decision making and critical to success. The CorVu solution allows us to easily communicate corporate vision throughout every level of the organization and deliver to our customers the level of service they have come to expect. By providing the right information at the right time, we are able to remain competitive in the dynamic packaged consumer goods industry and reach out to new areas of business. With the CorVu solution in place, CNS can now focus on bringing exceptional ideas to life through our visionary and innovative products.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The CorVu Professional Services staff is highly responsive, knowledgeable and experienced in implementing CorVu's solutions to maximize functionality and return on investment.

DOCUMENTATION: The supporting documentation is comprehensive and easy to follow.

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