CATEGORY: BI Tools

REVIEWER: Robb Zavitz, e-commerce manager for GE Capital Fleet Services.

BACKGROUND: GE Capital Fleet Services is one of the largest fleet management companies in the world, with earning assets of over $9 billion and more than 1.2 million cars and trucks under lease and service management globally including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. GE Capital Fleet Services is one of 24 companies that compose GE Capital, one of the largest diversified financial service companies in the world.

PLATFORMS: Most GE Capital Fleet Services users access the application via Internet Explorer 5.0 (or higher) on Windows 95 (or higher).

PROBLEM SOLVED: GE Capital Fleet Services developed a Web-based reporting tool to help its fleet managers quickly utilize fleet data to audit their bills and eliminate unnecessary expenditures. The Web reporting tool is based on MicroStrategy 7, which provides GE Capital Fleet Services and its customers with intuitive Web-based query, reporting and analysis capabilities and fast access to important fleet data. By streamlining fleet information and eliminating hard-to-use paper reports, fleet managers can capture precise data that will drive more informed decisions and significant fleet cost reductions. Through e-mail and Web-based reporting, an estimated 600,000 pages of paper mailed each month will be eliminated, yielding a forecasted annual savings of $1.6 million in printing and postage costs.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The company has used MicroStrategy 7 to offer users three levels of usage, each designed with built-in security at the level of data and meets the unique requirements of fleets of different sizes. For experienced fleet managers, the tool offers flexibility and functionality in advanced reporting. Users can easily access GE Capital Fleet Services' designed reports, add fields or filters to the canned reports and use additional features to create custom reports, view data from previous time periods and take advantage of advanced analytical capabilities. Additionally, fleet managers can subscribe to personalized reports and exception notices to be received through e-mail with Microsoft Excel attachments. Predefined reports are sent monthly via e- mail, giving managers of both core and small fleets simplified reporting in a paperless environment. Based on changes to the data in the data warehouse, MicroStrategy's software will also automatically send personalized maintenance reminders via Web, wireless and voice to fleet managers and drivers, alerting them to immediate vehicle service needs.

STRENGTHS: GE Capital Fleet Services deployed MicroStrategy 7 on top of an Oracle data warehouse. The project allows GE Capital Fleet Services' customers to tap the central data warehouse of fleet information and retrieve personalized, predefined reports or customize their own queries. Drilling features enable users to sharpen the information's level of aggregation or detail. Using MicroStrategy 7, GE Capital Fleet Services is able to offer better, more convenient and cost-effective services.

WEAKNESSES: The only weakness that we have experienced in implementing the product is the level of training required to enable our end users to get the full power from the tool. As a result, we have withheld some of the functionality from the current tool and are gradually adding it as our customer base gains confidence in the tool.

SELECTION CRITERIA: GE Capital Fleet Services needed to deploy a business intelligence application capable of transforming massive amounts of growing data into actionable insight and selected MicroStrategy 7 as the most comprehensive platform on the market. MicroStrategy Web lets fleet managers tap a repository of specific, accurate fleet information via a customized Web-based interface. Unlike other business intelligence products, MicroStrategy 7 is the scalable business intelligence platform built for the Internet. It has the capability to scale to terabyte- sized data sets and thousands of end users. Additionally, it offers significantly greater flexibility to accommodate growing reporting and analytical requirements than the other tools GE reviewed.

DELIVERABLES: The product enables our customers to run billing and management reports and send alerts to end customers to drive desired actions.

VENDOR SUPPORT: MicroStrategy has been a fantastic partner throughout the multiple phases of our development of Web applications. They have both supported the products we implemented and worked with us for enhancements for future applications.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation and training that MicroStrategy provided has been sufficient to enable us to support the current tools and develop new reporting functionality within the platform.

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