PLATFORMS: DSS Agent 5.1: Windows NT. Data warehouse: Red Brick 5.0.

BACKGROUND: Nielsen Media Research (NMR) is the world-famous provider of information services for a full range of television networks and affiliates. Nielsen Media Research has set the standard in analyzing the television viewing habits of America, with their widely received "Nielsen Ratings."

PROBLEM SOLVED: We selected DSS Agent, MicroStrategy's ROLAP interface for decision support, to help our clients analyze national viewing trends critical to their business. For both our internal and external users, we required an easy-to-use yet powerful tool for analyzing up-to-date market data. Our clients will use reports generated by DSS Agent to make million dollar decisions (i.e., choosing when to schedule a TV show or the best time to run an ad targeted to reach a specific demographic group). DSS Agent puts immediate and insightful information about TV viewing habits on the desktops of our industry analysts.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DSS Agent has many industry-leading features that enable us to quickly and effectively analyze our data. Using DSS Agent, complex reports are easy to create and can be viewed in a host of grid and graph formats. DSS Agent also has support for the most sophisticated metrics in the ROLAP space (i.e., percentiling), which will be a significant advantage for our clients. With the 5.1 release, MicroStrategy introduced support for derived tables, continuing its commitment to providing customers with high performance for every major database including Red Brick, our RDBMS. We have witnessed a 30 percent gain in query performance that will be leveraged by our clients who must access over two terabytes of industry data.

STRENGTHS: DSS Agent provides a level of analytical sophistication and scalability unmatched by any other ROLAP tool on the market that we evaluated. DSS Agent is an intuitive, ad hoc tool that can be put into the hands of both our internal and external users with virtually no need for customization. Our clients will have unprecedented data visibility with MicroStrategy's commitment to database optimization. And, with an arsenal of advanced functionality, such as alerts, we can easily inform users of a crucial situation and provide instructions for a suggested course of action--in the same message. Alerts can be scheduled on a time or event basis for seamless, unattended workflow.

WEAKNESSES: While MicroStrategy offers the most advanced analytical capabilities, supported by the most powerful ROLAP engine in the market, some statistical metric functionality is not yet possible with DSS Agent. However, MicroStrategy has committed to solving this issue.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We knew we needed a tool that could access terabytes of very detailed data. We did an extensive evaluation of all the ROLAP products on the market, and DSS Agent was the only product that could handle the data breadth and depth of our warehouse. MicroStrategy's ability to provide highly optimized SQL for our RDBMS was also very appealing to us.

DELIVERABLES: Our developers agree that DSS Agent will enable NMR's clients to better understand media trends in a fast and intuitive manner. The derived table support has taken performance to a whole new level without sacrificing the sophisticated analysis already offered. DSS Agent will provide users with quality reports in the format they want, exactly when they want it.

VENDOR SUPPORT: MicroStrategy has continually supported our needs, often going above and beyond the call of duty. Any problems we have faced have been resolved in a personal and attentive way.

DOCUMENTATION: MicroStrategy maintains a Web site for customer updates, downloads of new releases and details on specific issues. The manuals and on-line help have also proved to be very useful.

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