REVIEWER: Jeff Ryan, senior vice president of AdOctane.com.

BACKGROUND: When companies want the most cost-effective media buys, they turn to AdOctane.com, a Web-based media planning, buying and analyzing tool that simplifies the entire media buying process. Advertisers and ad agencies use this tool to build powerful, comprehensive advertising campaigns across all advertising mediums.

PLATFORMS: We use Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server data sources.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The process of planning and buying media is one of the most old-fashioned procedures performed in the world of commercial communication. Developing a technology to simplify and bring automation to this process was no easy task, but AdOctane set out to do just that. We decided to take all of the efficiencies gained using AdOctane.com as an in-house tool for our agency, Enginehouse Media, and make them available for both advertisers and ad agencies as a free online tool to simplify a complicated business. To accomplish this, AdOctane required a scalable and fully customizable Web-based infrastructure as the information delivery solution for our unique business-to-business (B2B) site. We needed a reliable platform to distribute all of the business documents, legally binding contracts and advertising traffic reports required throughout the setup and delivery of a media campaign. AdOctane is utilizing Crystal Decisions Crystal Reports 8.5 with Crystal Enterprise ­ a next-generation, fully customizable Web- based infrastructure ­ as our information delivery solution for the new site.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Crystal Decisions solution has been a key enabler in reaching a wider Web audience because of its highly scalable platform. Crystal Enterprise provides a globally scalable and fully customizable Web-based infrastructure to securely deliver information. The rich XML capability the system provides doesn't require vendors or agencies to alter their own systems in order to communicate with AdOctane.com.

STRENGTHS: AdOctane.com leverages Crystal Reports rich text format to create presentation-quality documents that generate incredible time savings for vendors and agencies. The solution also enables advertisers and agencies to cut weeks, even months, off the process of selecting and purchasing media advertising. Since the site opened January 2, 2001, more than 250 advertisers have come on board, placing an estimated $5.5 million dollars of campaigns. The solution provides the delivery vehicle for accessing all information required for the
successful execution of online media campaigns, including site traffic analysis.

WEAKNESSES: AdOctane encountered obstacles in providing parameters to the Crystal Reports engine so that the queries defined in the report definition would pull up the correct information. These challenges were quickly resolved with the help of Crystal Decisions technical support team.

SELECTION CRITERIA: AdOctane chose Crystal Decisions for their expertise in providing a robust and customizable infrastructure for sharing information over the Web. We also chose Crystal Decisions because of its highly advanced power and flexibility in creating and distributing custom reports. The reputation of Crystal Decisions in the reporting, analysis and information delivery industry and the reputation of the world-class reporting technology in Crystal Reports made the choice seem natural.

DELIVERABLES: The solution provides a scalable and fully customizable Web-based infrastructure as the information delivery solution for AdOctane's unique B2B site. The solution has saved a great deal of time for buyers in analyzing publishers' proposals. AdOctane recently had an advertiser with a $3.5 million campaign gather and evaluate over 100 qualified media proposals in only seven days. This would normally have taken months of phone calls and negotiations. In an industry notorious for unreasonable deadlines, the AdOctane.com and Crystal Decisions solution keeps media buyers and sellers on schedule while reducing costs to improve the rate of return on their investments. The solution also revolutionizes legality of buying media online, ensures legality of contracts using the .pdf file feature and provides visually pleasing reports that form binding legal documents.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Crystal Decisions provides first-class comprehensive technical support services. Crystal Decisions has been very responsive, and their expertise on Web-based information delivery infrastructures was invaluable to the success of the implementation.

DOCUMENTATION: Crystal Enterprise and Crystal Reports include comprehensive documentation on all aspects of the product.

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