REVIEWER: Annette Brewster, director of marketing operations for Cytyc.

BACKGROUND: Cytyc, founded in 1987 and based in Boxborough, Massachusetts, designs, develops, manufactures and markets sample preparation systems for medical diagnostics. The company developed the ThinPrep System to address the limitations of the conventional Pap smear.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft NT 4.0 with Microsoft SQL Server 7.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Cytyc had a new sales force automation tool (StayinFront's Visual Elk software) that allowed its reps instant access to data; however, Cytyc also wanted to encourage managers to inspect the data and uncover opportunities specific to the region's business dynamics. Panorama's intuitive drag, drop and drill technology eliminates complicated commands and procedures and is ideal for nontechnical users. It provides the end-user community with the freedom to gain access to and configure information at any time, without tying up IT resources. Sales reps are now able to simply and easily create new reports (for example, to see which customers have received shipments within the last week).

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Panorama is a support tool that we use in conjunction with StayinFront's Visual Elk CRM system. As Cytyc continues to gain market share, we are constantly analyzing the data to find new opportunities. The combination of Visual Elk and Panorama make it possible for us to rapidly create new reports and roll them out into the field. Also, managers can create their own reports and share them with other managers simply by e-mailing files.

STRENGTHS: The "common sense" interface makes it easy for salespeople to quickly learn the product. The ability to e-mail reports (called "views") so that each user only sees his/her data is extremely convenient. The product has a powerful support tool for data analysis and decision making which can be used to analyze sales and marketing information quickly and easily from any ODBC database.

WEAKNESSES: We need to be very thoughtful when setting up the templates which define the data available to the user. Future enhancements could be made to improve ease of use related to formatting the data (colors, bold, etc.).

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were looking for a product that was extremely user-friendly for nontechnical users.

DELIVERABLES: Panorama provides timely, accurate, customized sales reports encompassing all data the end-user community needs to see in a logical and intuitive format. Panorama also has the ability to easily share custom reports with other users.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor provided full training of the end users as well as support for installation, which occurred the day prior to training. The best part of working with the vendor has been their responsiveness and flexibility to address the evolving needs of our rapidly growing sales force.

DOCUMENTATION: Documentation for creating reports is easy to understand but could be more complete in terms of explaining all the capabilities of the software. Documentation for creating templates is not available because most customers use vendor-created templates. However, the vendor was willing to train us to create templates, and we are comfortable doing most of them ourselves.

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