BACKGROUND: Olan Mills, Inc. is the nation's top provider of quality portraits with an expansive network of 1,200 family and children's portrait studios throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Corporate headquarters and technical service facilities are located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with state-of-the-art production plants in Chattanooga; Springfield, Ohio; and Wellingborough, England.

PLATFORMS: DM1 from Group 1 Software is operating in a client/server environment where the Wintel- based server is running Microsoft Windows NT Server with Service Pack 5.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Prior to implementing DM1, we had not been able to use the wealth of customer data we possessed to drive our business operations. The data was not systematically organized, it was of poor quality and we had no means of analyzing the information. DM1 is a powerful tool that has enabled us to consolidate our data into a single repository while addressing our data hygiene, more effectively harnessing our customer data, and tracking and measuring our marketing campaigns.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We feel very good about our decision to implement DM1. For example, during the recent holiday season we did a promotional mailing to what DM1 told us were our 300,000 best customers. With DM1 we achieved a 12 percent response rate, which is greater than we had anticipated and well above the industry standard of two to three percent. In the coming months, we plan to utilize some of the more complex components of DM1 for additional customer segmentation, profiling and modeling. We will also use the application to view customer purchases on a monthly basis to determine the buying habits and preferences that distinguish customers who visit Olan Mills during peak versus off-peak months and seasons. Our real estate division will begin using the geographic mapping or data visualization feature of DM1 for site location analysis. We will continue to invest in DM1, and I would recommend this solution to anyone who is looking to significantly increase the utilization of customer data. Purchasing DM1 was one of the three best long- term business decisions we made last year.

DELIVERABLES: DM1 is a customized database marketing solution that consists of a suite of integrated one-to-one marketing tools, each addressing specific business needs. It provides us with a wealth of data exports, centering on a variety of specific business needs.

STRENGTHS: DM1 is very user friendly. It is highly flexible and versatile in running data queries to access the customer database. The campaign management module of DM1 has been particularly valuable for us.

WEAKNESSES: DM1's reporting function is not as quick as we had anticipated.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected Group 1 because they were able to provide us with a customized database marketing solution to meet our unique business needs and objectives. Group 1 also had significant expertise in addressing data quality issues and demonstrated an understanding of our business based on their past experiences within our industry and the related hospitality industry.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Group 1's pre-implementation was excellent. We submitted a number of requests for special modifications, and they handled each very well. There have been some minor difficulties following the on-site implementation, and there are a couple of out-standing bugs they continue to work on actively. Overall, these small inconveniences have not prevented us from making major strides with DM1, and we plan to take advantage of the educational opportunities Group 1 provides to its customers.

DOCUMENTATION: The documen-tation is very complete and it provides a good overview of the product. Since we had not utilized customer data previously, working with multiple customer levels sometimes makes highly technical applications a bit challenging.

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