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Informatica Applications Help Brocade Gain Insight Across the Enterprise

  • March 01 2002, 1:00am EST


REVIEWER: Kala Ramaswamy, IT manager for Brocade Communication Systems.

BACKGROUND: Brocade offers an intelligent platform for networking storage. The world's leading systems, applications and storage vendors have selected Brocade to provide a networking foundation for their SAN solutions. Using Brocade solutions, companies can simplify the implementation of storage area networks, reduce the total cost of ownership of data storage environments and improve network and application efficiency.

PLATFORMS: Brocade is running Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics on a Sun Solaris system with an Oracle database.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Brocade's existing transactional and ERP systems did not allow the company to conduct adequate analysis for making critical business decisions. Brocade needed to implement an enterprise analytic application that could support company-wide metrics and analytics for executives, managers and analysts ­ and it had to be in place very quickly. Implemented in less than 90 days, the Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics application helps Brocade users gain visibility into critical areas such as bookings, billings and backlog. The application leverages the strength of the Informatica Data Integration Platform, maintaining historical information while also providing multiple levels of granularity of data to address all types of users including analysts, managers and executives.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Informatica Applications contain a set of predefined staging and data warehouse tables for bookings, billings, backlog, shipments and forecast data. The dimensions include products, customers, time, sales hierarchy and geography. Brocade sources from Oracle Applications and other systems such as i2 Demand Planner using a Web- based analytic interface to deliver the data to end users. In the future, Brocade plans to use Informatica Web Channel Analytics and other modules within the Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics application such as Sales and Marketing Analytics to analyze the ROI from campaigns.

STRENGTHS: One of the product's primary strengths is the speed of implementation, which Brocade completed in six to 12 weeks per module. Informatica's prebuilt business adapters saved Brocade substantial development time, while well-designed data models made customizations and extensions easy. A majority of the needed business metrics were already defined within the application. In addition, Brocade received excellent support from the Informatica development team.

WEAKNESSES: Because Brocade worked with an early release of software, documentation could have been more thorough. The product required frequent upgrades. In some cases, data model complexity is high for a simple requirement. Many of these issues have been rectified in the latest Informatica Applications 5 release.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Brocade selected Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics in a large part due to the product's predefined industry best-practices data models and metrics that enable business intelligence and information delivery. Secondly, the product is flexible and has a great reputation for data integration. For example, Informatica Applications has business adapters available to source data from Oracle ERP and contains hooks to add any business intelligence and OLAP tools to the back-end database. Another differentiator was that Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics has easy- to-add customizations and enhancements. Finally, the major advantage that this product has over other products in the marketplace is its strong ETL and data integration foundation.

DELIVERABLES: Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics provides a consolidated report of BBB data and forecast directly to executive management. Also, the Brocade sales team receives the slice-and-dice report that includes product, customer, time and sales hierarchies. This is a measurement of performance against forecast. Finally the Informatica software creates a digital dashboard that contains automated sales/corporate forecasting data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We have received excellent support from Informatica's development team during pre- and post-implementation phases. Brocade was one of the first Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics implementations, and Informatica continues to offer excellent support.

DOCUMENTATION: Informatica could improve its documentation by providing literature that is less technical. Business logic for transformations of data to business metrics needs to be well documented. Documentation needs to be included in the repository provided by Informatica for their analytic applications.

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