REVIEWER: Mike White, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for UGS.
BACKGROUND: UGS is a leading global provider of product life cycle management (PLM) software and services with more than 3 million licensed seats and 42,000 clients worldwide. The company promotes openness and standardization and works collaboratively with its clients in creating enterprise solutions.
PLATFORMS: UGS is running dynaSight on Windows 2000. Users access dynaSight through Web browsers on Windows clients.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Three years ago, Unigraphics Solutions Inc. merged with Structural Dynamics Research Corporation (SDRC) to form UGS. The cultures, resources and products merged during a challenging economic environment, resulting in a single organization with an integrated set of products focused on the PLM and computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering analysis market. The finance and IT groups were charged with creating an easy-to-use tool for consolidated planning, forecasting, reporting and ad hoc analysis to serve a rapidly evolving enterprise. The distribution of financial information needed to be available on a secure Web-based platform. After evaluating many vendors, we found a solution combining multiple best-of-breed software applications to build a superior business performance management and financial reporting system.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: dynaSight's functionality has met our highest expectations. It brings our existing SAP application (transaction level financial analysis, human resources, sales and distribution, and fixed asset data) and Hyperion Planning (planning and forecasting) together with the Hyperion Essbase OLAP tool into one reliable and user-friendly Web-based reporting and analysis platform to drive greater productivity across business units. Our use of dynaSight has evolved from standard reporting to the development of more executive-oriented productivity and metrics outputs. The number and type of data sources have similarly increased, as well as their sophistication and calculations (multiple selections, radio buttons, embedded dynamic calculations).
STRENGTHS: dynaSight's biggest strengths are flexibility, data-source connectivity and ease of use. The platform enables speedy report generation with minimum training. Application report maintenance and enhancements can be accomplished by the finance group thereby limiting the reliance on corporate IT resources. Its flexibility and connectivity enable us to build upon applications and processes already in place.
WEAKNESSES: I'd like to see arcplan add the capability to export directly to PowerPoint without needing to create a picture file first. Also, though I know no application easily does this, I'd love to see functions maintained when exporting to Excel.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Ease of use and cost of ownership were top criteria during evaluation. arcplan was considered as it was one of Hyperion's "Gold Standard" partners. We wanted our system to accelerate report creation and easily accommodate organizational changes without high maintenance costs. It had to present information in an easily understood manner and prove user friendly to our nonfinance staff. Scalability and speed of implementation also played a part. dynaSight met these criteria and did not require the in-house development of an overlay security system which would have increased project costs.
DELIVERABLES: The dynaSight-powered solution, the UGS Business Reporting System, provides a Web reporting environment and boardroom quality reports. It empowers more than 200 end users to slice, dice and drill through all types of data dimensions via a Web browser; therefore, there is no arcplan or Essbase software required on the PC and no need for MIS maintenance on future updates. We reduced the need to create 3,000 separate worksheets monthly down to a single common template with selection criteria. Report creation was cut from one week to one day. In addition to productivity gains, we've realized a $125,000-plus reduction in annual system maintenance costs. Other benefits include timesavings in gathering data and report distribution, increased data integrity and enhanced analysis with drill-down and ad hoc reporting.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support is fantastic. We haven't needed to make many calls, but when we do their support team is very responsive.
DOCUMENTATION: We use arcplan's online knowledge base and find all the information we need, but the platform is pretty intuitive.
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