BACKGROUND: Experian is an information solutions company. It uses the power of information to help its clients target prospective customers, manage existing customer relationships and identify opportunities for profitable growth. Experian is a subsidiary of The Great Universal Stores PLC and has headquarters in Nottingham, U.K., and Orange, California. Its 12,000 people support clients in over 50 countries. Annual sales are in excess of $1.5 billion.

PLATFORMS: Informatica Metadata Exchange 1.6 (MX2) runs on Solaris 2.7 on a Sun e5500 server at Experian.

PROBLEM SOLVED: To increase cross-selling opportunities within its customer base, Experian looked to its corporate data warehouse and decision support system to enable sales and marketing analysts to identify customer behaviors and trends across the company's broad range of product and service offerings. To ensure productivity from its warehouse, which contains valuable historical customer data, Experian needed an underlying data management scheme to translate hundreds of complex data requests into ordinary English for analysts to use in making their strategic decisions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Experian selected Informatica's MX2 application programming interface to blueprint the flow of customer information between Informatica's PowerMart data warehousing software and Business Objects' front-end analytic application. MX2's ability to bridge the various components of Experian's corporate data warehouse laid the foundation for the company to identify cross- selling opportunities within its customer base. Experian continues to establish an increasingly global view into its customer base by tapping into additional customer billing systems.

STRENGTHS: MX2 functions as the primary road map, providing insight into the structure of Experian's vast decision support infrastructure. With MX2, business analysts and system developers share a common map to communicate the makeup and transfer of raw customer data into strategic business information. MX2's tightly woven integration with Business Objects and its automated meta data management capabilities enable Experian developers to easily restructure source and target data requirements to address analysts' ever- changing needs for information. MX2 drives the meta data process, allowing Experian to define data once instead of having to synchronize it downstream in Oracle and Business Objects. With MX2, analysts gain confidence and trust in their decision support system by seeing how data is obtained, cleansed and updated to maintain data integrity. MX2's easy-to-understand interface allows users with no experience using the product to immediately become productive. MX2's integration with XML and the Web will help Experian develop systems more rapidly to mine data and interface with the Web.

WEAKNESSES: Although it did not interfere with Experian's implementation, Informatica could improve its debugging features.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Experian chose MX2 for its robust meta data management capabilities and its tight integration with Business Objects and other end-user tools. Experian also talked with other companies successfully using MX2 and was reassured of the product's ability to mange the company's implementation.

DELIVERABLES: MX2 provided Experian's team with a high-level graphical user interface to translate the contents of its corporate data warehouse into a strategic map of customer and product information.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Informatica has provided Experian with good support. Given that hundreds of other companies use Informatica's products and services, it was easy for Experian to find support from other users as well.

DOCUMENTATION: Experian gave Informatica's documentation good marks and relied on it to implement the product.

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