BACKGROUND: Danka Business Systems PLC, headquartered in London, England, and St. Petersburg, Florida, is one of the world's largest independent suppliers of office imaging equipment and related services, parts and supplies. Danka provides office products and services from more than 29 countries around the world. Application Partners is a full-service IT consulting firm and Hyperion Gold Partner specializing in the data warehouse/business intelligence market. Their data/software templates are designed to provide the best business information solution using their rapid implementation methodology.

PLATFORMS: Hyperion Integration Server ­ IBM NetFinity, Dual Processor Pentium II 450 MHz running Microsoft NT 4.0, 1.3GB memory, 60GB disk space. Data warehouse ­ IBM RS/6000, Quad Processor 332 MHz running AIX v4.2.1, 3GB memory, 60GB disk space.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Danka needed to improve its ability to report sales revenue and activity on a daily basis to its senior management team. Reporting requirements included analysis of summary information as well as the ability to drill back to invoice detail. Danka commissioned Application Partners to participate in the development of its warehouse and daily sales solution, leveraging Hyperion Integration Server to populate a Hyperion Essbase OLAP Server analytical data mart seamlessly from the relational warehouse. Hyperion Integration Server, Hyperion Essbase and Hyperion Wired for OLAP allow Danka to more effectively capture, analyze and report sales revenue on a daily basis. The overall solution complements strategic IT initiatives to capture and deploy information. Hyperion Integration Server was a logical fit for our overall warehouse and reporting strategy.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Hyperion Integration Server is a suite of graphical tools and scalable data integration services that dramatically reduce the time and expense to create, deploy and manage analytic applications. Hyperion Integration Server uses centralized, reusable meta data to automate the process of creating and managing analytic applications from relational data sources such as a data warehouse. Hyperion Integration Server allows users to seamlessly navigate from summarized, calculated and derived data managed by Hyperion Essbase to detail data stored in relational sources.

STRENGTHS: The generation of meta data used by Hyperion Integration Server to map to the data warehouse is simple and intuitive. Once complete, the meta data can be used to generate any number of analytical applications from the data warehouse rapidly and seamlessly. For example, Danka produces Hyperion Essbase cubes five times faster than using traditional load rules. In addition, the mappings from the Essbase database to the data warehouse through Hyperion Integration Server provide the users with the ability to drill to the sales invoices stored in the data warehouse without having to leave their analytical train of thought.

WEAKNESSES: Hyperion Server is a 1.1 product. Although a functionally rich product, the early version has some limitations to be addressed. For example, Hyperion Essbase requires data members sharing in alternate roll ups (i.e., a salesperson rolling up by geography in one case but by market size in another) be placed in a particular order in the Essbase Outline. Hyperion Integration Server allows members to be shared but does not enforce the order necessary to support Essbase's requirements. For most limitations, the workaround is manipulating the outline using Essbase's administration tool ­ Application Manager. Hyperion Integration Server version 2.0 will address many early version limitations and is expected to be generally available later this year.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Danka required a solution that would leverage their relational warehouse repository to generate analytical data marts for daily sales analysis. The solution needed to provide summarized as well as detailed transaction information to executive and functional users.

DELIVERABLES: Provide next day sales reporting of product revenue and quantity by geographic area.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Hyperion Solutions support staff is responsive and knowledgeable. Application Partners provided consulting guidance to integrate data warehouse expertise with the Hyperion Solutions tool set.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is available via online wizards and Adobe Acrobat files. Looking up information via the online documentation is easy and straightforward.

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