CATEGORY: Data Mining & Visualization

REVIEWER: Annette M. Tobia, president of MegaMetrics International Inc.

BACKGROUND: MegaMetrics International is a consulting firm located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that provides key executives and scientific researchers with a unique depth of insight gained from discovering the often-hidden patterns and correlations that exist in large, complex databases.

PLATFORMS: We run a combined application and database server consisting of a dual CPU, Pentium IV running at 650 MHz with 1GB RAM and a 10GB hard drive. We're running Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4.

PROBLEM SOLVED: MIS DeltaMiner is a powerful, yet easy-to-use data navigation, analysis and reporting tool that helped our firm better understand our customers' business data. The product drew business knowledge and resulting decisions from customer operational data already being captured, cleansed and structured. It has enhanced our capacity to apply additional business intelligence to our customers' strategic planning.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DeltaMiner is the analytical component of MIS DecisionWare, which assists managers in making better business decisions faster. It allows our consultants to create analytical models or analysis trees by integrating their analysis with data and other comments. Their results are easily shared with other business users who are capable of interacting with and modifying the contents. DeltaMiner supports a high-level controlling workflow ­ even for decentralized organizations ­ within a single front-end tool. The beauty of DeltaMiner is that there is no programming necessary to get to business information. Our consultants don't necessarily need to know where the information is, nor what questions to ask. With a click of a mouse, MIS DeltaMiner gives them the capability to automatically generate answers on variances and exceptions.

STRENGTHS: We found nothing in the market that compares to DeltaMiner's easy-to-use, yet advanced visualization portal for reporting, controlling and analysis of our business data. With DeltaMiner's 20 statistical analysis and data mining techniques, we were immediately analyzing our data structures like seasoned statisticians. Once installed, our consultants began working with DeltaMiner to pinpoint information without the usual technological constraints. By quickly getting to this information, we enjoyed huge productivity gains. The increase in internal consumption and understanding of our customers' business data has immediately shown great value to our firm. MIS DeltaMiner enables ours consultants to apply the power and control of advanced analysis and data mining technology to virtually any business scenario and data.

WEAKNESSES: All available analysis templates and data mining techniques are not yet available for collaboration via a Web server. This shouldn't limit a potential customer's selection criteria because the development of additional templates and functionality will continue to evolve.

SELECTION CRITERIA: With MIS DecisionWare's open interface and drivers, we are able to import data structures as basic as text files and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or as advanced and proprietary SAP BW, Applix TM1, Hyperion Essbase and Oracle Express files. Industry standards are also readily supported. DeltaMiner was developed for business professionals and employs an easy-to-understand, on- screen console that displays information in simple English and color graphics rather than cryptic names. The strong technology platform and business focus of the software gave us a great level of comfort which best helps position our firm in supporting our customers' various enterprise and OLAP data structures.

DELIVERABLES: DeltaMiner includes a comprehensive set of built-in analyses that helped unlock the knowledge within our customer databases with tabular displays, charts and other features. Once analyses were generated, DeltaMiner made it easy to save the queries, share them and reuse them throughout the firm. Our analyses are stored in files and can be made accessible to all authorized users. Reporting with DeltaMiner has been simple and effective.

VENDOR SUPPORT: After a demonstrated two-minute install of DeltaMiner and five-minute data import by MIS AG sales staff, it was apparent that even a smaller organization such as ours could manage the benefits of advanced statistical analysis and data mining. MIS AG's demonstration, prototyping and software evaluation model eliminated any apprehension we may have had. The MIS AG staff is well-versed not only in their products and the data warehouse market, but also in the application of MIS DecisionWare to a customer's business intelligence needs.

DOCUMENTATION: Because DeltaMiner is a mature product, the associated documentation is advanced and updated with each release.

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