REVIEWER: Bob Coates, vice president and chief information officer of Edwards Theatres.

BACKGROUND: Edwards Theatres owns and operates 58 motion picture theatres throughout Southern California, Texas and Idaho with more than 3,500 employees. The tenth largest circuit in the country, Edwards Theatres are renowned for their full- length screens, outstanding projection and sound systems, and stadium seating.

PLATFORMS: We are running Windows 2000 on Compaq servers. We also use Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Analysis Services.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our management team was receiving very limited "canned" Excel reports, but they still had many questions regarding the key metrics driving our business. They wanted more in-depth information and the ability to view key performance indicators such as average ticket price, attendance, box office ticket sales and concession sales on a frequently updated basis. Management also desired trend analysis capabilities to form a basis of comparison to more effectively analyze our business performance. ProClarity developed a very impressive, powerful analytic application prototype in three days that immediately helped our users access and analyze the key information driving our business. We received the benefit of visual, graphical output, which had long been a desire of our company's CEO. With ProClarity, our users are now able to easily analyze updated information including revenue and operating costs. Because the data is refreshed nightly, users have access to updated information each morning. We have also developed a series of reports desired by the management team that is entirely accessible from our corporate intranet. In short, the decision to implement ProClarity has been one of the easiest, from a technical point of view, and effective, from a functional or business point of view, that we have ever made.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ProClarity has been an incredible investment for our organization. Since our initial prototype, we have rolled out the application to our executive and management teams and plan to deliver a Web-based version of ProClarity to more than 60 theatre managers once the WAN is in place. Since the implementation of ProClarity, we have identified additional key performance indicators to monitor. We have also recognized a significant ROI and will continue to provide our executive management team and theatre managers with access to more information.

STRENGTHS: The main strengths of ProClarity include its ease of use, functionality, extensibility and rich features. Because ProClarity is very easy to use, we did not provide formal training for our users. The decomposition view is a favorite among our users, and they say the greatest thing about ProClarity is that they can easily follow a train of thought by repeatedly asking "why" to find answers. ProClarity allows us to substantiate what we already suspected, see trends we hadn't predicted and make necessary changes to run the business more efficiently. ProClarity's Microsoft standards-based architecture and development environment also make it easy to integrate into other applications, such as our intranet or COM-based applications.

WEAKNESSES: Obtaining a ProClarity consultant proved to be a small, but surmountable challenge. Additionally, I would like to see some form of prior-designed interoperability with major ERP/CRM providers such as J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, etc.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We worked with a systems integrator who suggested five possible solutions. ProClarity won our business based on the whole package they presented to us. They had the shortest turnaround time with the most robust offering. ProClarity consultants helped develop a prototype that really impressed our management team. ProClarity met all of our needs for product functionality and price. It is completely extensible and fully integrates with our Microsoft infrastructure.

DELIVERABLES: Users currently have access to ProClarity via Active Books (Web views) via our intranet. They are able to access and analyze revenue, operating costs such as film rental, labor, maintenance and repairs, occupancy costs and utilities, among other operations measures.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ProClarity has been extremely supportive throughout our relationship. ProClarity consultants were nothing less than outstanding. We have been very pleased with all of their help ­ they are fast, efficient and effective. Our director of IT attended technical training, and we found that to be very helpful and worthwhile.

DOCUMENTATION: The ProClarity documentation is very complete and easy to understand. We definitely feel that we could run the product easily if we had to rely on the provided documentation. We are very pleased with our ProClarity solution.

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