BACKGROUND: As part of a rapidly growing international research-based pharmaceutical company, Eisai Inc. is the comprehensive U.S. pharmaceutical operating arm of its parent, Eisai Co., Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, Eisai Inc. encompasses key business functions including sales and marketing, clinical research, formulation research, clinical supply manufacturing and pharmaceutical production, human resources, legal, medical services, finance, regulatory and planning support.

PLATFORMS: The Active OLAP Suite (AOS) from Application Consulting Group, Inc. (ACG) is installed on a Compaq ProLiant 5500R running Windows NT Server (the Web server). It has two 500 MHz processors and 2GB RAM. Data is communicated to AOS via Oracle Express 6.2. The Oracle8i database is on a Compaq ProLiant 5500R running Windows NT Server. The database server has three 500 MHz processors and 2GB RAM.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The sales operations department generates and distributes standard and ad hoc query reports to the marketing and sales departments. Due to the large volume of data processed, most of the sales force reports are outsourced. These reports are delivered to the sales force in an Adobe Acrobat file. The reports are effective; however, the user is not able to make any adjustments to the report. Any changes to the reports are time-consuming and costly to produce. The remaining reports are paper (delivered via FedEx) or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets sent via e-mail. Marketing reports are created by taking paper reports and manually entering them into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and distributing via hard copy and e- mail to management. Analysts spend about eight days per month just compiling standard reports. Due to the nature of the data, timeliness is always an issue. We were in search of a way to streamline our process as well as allow management to perform ad hoc analysis on their own.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: For this project, AOS was able to meet many of our expectations. We were able to automate the creation and delivery of all our sales and marketing reports. AOS enabled us to expedite the delivery of 140 standard reports to the sales force and management. The tool has been so successful that we're presently integrating data from other departments and sources into our data mart.

STRENGTHS: AOS provides OLAP reports in an easy-to-use format. The menu structure for the user and the administrator is very intuitive. The report functionality competes with all of the other OLAP tools on the market today while providing an interface that doesn't require you to be a power user to operate it.

WEAKNESSES: Custom reports require the user to know Oracle Express coding. Average users do not have this skill set. Due to the fact that Eisai has many system measures (80), it causes a long choice list in the selector tool.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Our main reason for using AOS was the ease of use and the simplicity of the reporting tool. We evaluated other products, and we felt that AOS provided the superior system in an easy-to-use format. We looked for a tool that anyone could use regardless of computer expertise. Performance using AOS has been excellent, and we could handle any performance tuning that was necessary to achieve optimal performance.

DELIVERABLES: We currently deliver marketing and sales reports at all levels (via Web browser). Our remote sales force receives a monthly Microsoft Excel workbook containing their reports. The representatives and field management are able to analyze data or just read the reports. This automation allows our analysts to perform more analytical and less administrative work.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Working with ACG has been a breeze. They were extremely flexible and responsive to difficulties that arose during the implementation. They have been extremely easy to work with throughout the project from the scope document to the ongoing maintenance.

DOCUMENTATION: The tool is easy to use, and 95 percent of the users are ready to start without training. A quick, two-day class is all that is needed for the administration portion of the software. The documentation from the training class is thorough and complete.

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