BACKGROUND: Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) is one of the world's largest computer companies and the foremost producer of test and measurement instruments. Commercial Channels Group in Santa Clara, California, has a team that targets small to medium-sized companies. It's a new group with unique data needs.

PLATFORMS: MIS Alea and MIS DeltaMiner run on Windows 95, 98 and NT clients. It is available via Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel and can be formatted as an HTML report.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Commercial Channels Group needed access to flexible reports that could compare multidimensional information (sales dollars with specific resellers, products, sales force impact or marketing programs), but this data was not available from one source. HP called in KPMG to design a database that could pull this type of disparate information together. The initial relational database KPMG created provided some of the functionalities the group needed. However, HP still needed a tool that could offer access to numerous forms of accurate data with which its managers could make sound business decisions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: MIS AG's DeltaMiner is an active search agent for exception reporting, controlling and analysis. MIS Alea is a multidimentional application/server that handles elaborate business models within the familiar environment of Microsoft Excel. "In marketing HP's computer products, I have to be able to watch trends and relationships. The new system allows us to drill down to see whether we have a product, sales force or program problem," comments Lauren Robinette, HP's VAR sales program manager for computer products.

STRENGTHS: According to Scott Miller, a consultant to HP, "The dimensions are very flexible. HP can view the numbers for the sales force. Or in their Small Business Spotlight program, HP can look at only the participating resellers ­ or cut the data even further and look at a particular set of products sold by participating resellers. It's to the point where people are stopping by to see what's up."

Uwe Weinkauf, a senior consultant for KPMG, explains, "MIS Alea with MIS DeltaMiner is a solution that provides users with customized functionality. You can set up a database or system tailored to your own business environment. You don't need to ask the IS department for help. It's wizard and menu driven, so you just drill down, select and drag and drop things where you want them."

WEAKNESSES: While DeltaMiner's interface is easy to use, such a powerful data analysis tool requires regular usage to discover its complete functionality and full performance potential. Uwe Weinkauf says of DeltaMiner, "It is like having a Porsche; it requires skills beyond simply driving a car."

SELECTION CRITERIA: HP and KPMG selected MIS Alea and MIS DeltaMiner for the ability to automate complex and time-consuming business intelligence methodologies and data analysis.

DELIVERABLES: Commercial Channels Group can compare and analyze the data at a whole new level and in new ways. HP can set up their own business model for mining the data with their own criteria and technology. Not only has the quality of their research and analysis improved dramatically since the implementation of DeltaMiner, but the group is producing old and new types of reports in a fraction of the time. While it previously took them three days to produce a report, it now takes them 20 minutes. DeltaMiner is a problem-solving tool; it lets HP tie their marketing program to actual sales. Lauren Robinette explains, "We have been able to show the relationships between our marketing sales and our marketing programs and see that they are producing results. It allows us to forecast trends."

VENDOR SUPPORT: MIS AG provides its customers with technical support via the telephone and the Internet. On-site coaching can also be arranged to help clients develop specific applications.

DOCUMENTATION: All MIS Solutions technology comes with a comprehensive user manual. And because MIS DeltaMiner is taking the user by the hand, trainees are working in a "made-easy" environment.

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