Most managers don't have the background or training needed to address human resource issues, such as employee benefits, legal compliance and sensitive topics such as sexual harassment. Even HR professionals struggle to stay ahead of an avalanche of compliance and regulatory requirements. Firstdoor was founded to deliver HR knowledge enterprise-wide, promote smart management decision making and reduce the time, risk and cost normally associated with resolving employee-related issues. This Web-based learning and knowledge management system enables HR professionals, managers, supervisors, executives and others to make informed and consistent human resource decisions across the enterprise.

Through an exclusive alliance with premier employment publisher BNA and its in-house staff of experts, Firstdoor's learning tools and training programs are continuously updated to ensure that the information provided is always current.

HR AnswerSource, Firstdoor's Web-based HR application, helps our users address the majority of human resource issues by providing on-demand responses to their questions. At the same time, many companies want to track questions asked about sensitive issues such as sexual harassment, worker safety or union organizing, even when immediate action isn't required. For example, knowing that managers in a regional office are generating a large number of 401(k) questions might indicate the need to provide a regional seminar or to include a series of articles in an employee newsletter addressing that particular topic.

In order to deliver this kind of information, Firstdoor needed to develop a data warehouse that could track questions asked throughout an organization. Firstdoor also required the ability to generate a wide range of both standard and customized reports along with the ability to deliver immediate notification to the appropriate parties if a manager researched a sensitive topic on HR AnswerSource.

We were faced with the task of developing a data warehouse from scratch, but our hands were already full maintaining our existing knowledge base and other applications. We didn't have the manpower a new project of that magnitude requires, and management wasn't excited about the idea of hiring a costly consultant.

Firstdoor originally decided to purchase WebTrends Intelligence Suite, a Web analytics solution from NetIQ's WebTrends product brand, because the marketing department had bombarded us with reporting requests, primarily dealing with marketing campaign analysis. We were able to use Web analytics to meet the needs of our customers.

We were also able to sessionize and analyze raw Web-server log file data and then store it in the warehouse. In doing so, we were able to offer our customers the ability to combine it with other data and analyze user behavior to optimize business strategies and gain clearer insight into their own users.

Adapting the solution to Firstdoor's specific reporting requirements, such as correlating user information to log file entries, was the primary task we faced. Information on all users of the system was stored in Firstdoor's Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) database. The challenge was to link that database to the Web analytics warehouse. We were able to accomplish this goal easily by using the cookies already issued by the Web server. These cookies provide users with a unique global identifier, which is tracked in the log file.

We used the LDAP database to create a denormalized table that is linked to the warehouse, making it possible to tie the sessionized information to the individual user. We also keyed our database for 157 different topics such as sexual harassment, healthcare, 401(k) plans and more.

Firstdoor works directly with the customer's management team to determine the types of reports needed and with what regularity they want the reports. Pattern alert reports can be produced when usage related to specific hot topics is abnormal. Firstdoor can also work with a company to create an executive summary, which can include any number of reports plus a drill-down feature for more in-depth information.

"Our ability to provide our customers with the who, what, where, when and why of knowledge management has dramatically improved our product," says Gary Schutt, CEO of Firstdoor. "Now companies with operations spread over a large geographic area can offer their managers the information needed to solve routine problems, while providing immediate visibility to top management when appropriate. This makes the difference between a product that can be sold to Global 1000 companies and one that cannot."

WebTrends Intelligence Suite is the ultimate in Web analytics for both business and IT users, offering multiple levels of reporting and analysis, including multichannel integration. Maximize marketing effectiveness, drive e-commerce performance and improve user experience and Web customer service with WebTrends Intelligence Suite.

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