CATEGORY: Data Mining and Visualization
REVIEWER: Rich Misenhimer, director of quality assurance for Harris Microwave Communications.
BACKGROUND: Harris Microwave Communi-cations, a division of Harris Corporation, delivers synchronous and asynchronous wireless solutions to utilities; transportation companies; fixed wireless operators; public networks; and state, local and federal agencies. With a customer base in over 140 countries, Harris Microwave Communications Division has over 1,300 employees at five North American sites and facilities in Brazil, China and France.
PLATFORMS: We are utilizing a Pentium II server with multiple processors and 500MB RAM on an NT platform.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Harris Microwave Com-munications' quality assurance group found making the necessary connections between the disparate data collection systems at their various subsidiaries to be challenging. With nearly 30 manufacturing business units operating individually and using multiple data collection systems, report generation was very cumbersome. Important information including defects, yields, cycle time, field failures and reliability was difficult to analyze. We needed a single OLAP business intelligence system that would provide consolidated data from the different manufacturing units for analysis.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We found what we were looking for in the Knosys ProClarity 2.0 OLAP Client, a Web-based business intelligence solution. Data is pulled from each manufacturing data store via Microsoft SQL Server Data Transformation Services into a SQL Server database. Multidimensional cubes are built for analysis by Knosys ProClarity over the division's WAN. With the Knosys and Microsoft-based business intelligence system, Harris Microwave consolidates, organizes and analyzes data from disparate manufacturing cells. Data that once took a week and a half to collect now takes only minutes. ProClarity enables managers to improve quality assurance, customer service and supplier relationships while saving time and money in the process. The solution also provides a detailed picture which enables Harris Microwave employees and executives to make proactive business decisions.
STRENGTHS: With ProClarity, information is available and ready for analysis any time. By running the Microsoft/Knosys solution over the division WAN, managers have the ability to extract, view or analyze combined data from the different manufacturing units. ProClarity's advanced data visualization tools, such as the Decomposition Tree, allow engineers and team members to start analysis at a high level in a complex data set and progress into the detail to get the full story. ProClarity also allows for more timely analysis of customer inquiries regarding product issues. The proactive delivery of information brings benefits in cost, improvement and reliability ultimately improving Harris' critical relationships with customers and distributors.
WEAKNESSES: Users have experienced performance issues with complex queries using multiple dimensions; too many variables cause the server to lock up. This problem has been corrected in ProClarity 3.0.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The quality assurance (QA) team spent a lot of time looking at OLAP business intelligence solutions that fit criteria in two categories: compatibility with Microsoft SQL Server and a combination of intuitive use, affordability and ease of deployment. Knosys ProClarity satisfied all criteria.
DELIVERABLES: Knosys delivers advanced analytical capabilities and intuitive data visualization tools that make it easy for general business users to see and understand the key performance indicators that drive more efficient, better informed decisions. ProClarity provides the QA team with direct access to and analysis capabilities for a variety of quality assurance data, including field failure, systems integration, product quality, final assembly, testing and more.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The Knosys staff provided expert advice to the our team. The staff's working knowledge of issues involved in time-sensitive, disparate data was a true advantage of working with Knosys.
DOCUMENTATION: Because Knosys ProClarity is both intuitive and Microsoft standards-based, there was little need to rely on documentation to understand the product's functionality or its deployment requirements. A wizard-driven setup process further simplified and accelerated the process.
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