International Rectifier (IR), founded in 1947, is the largest dedicated semiconductor manufacturer in the world, with more than a half-billion dollars in annual revenue. The company manufactures in the U.S., Mexico, Great Britain and Italy, and through subsidiaries in Japan and Singapore.

IR provides enabling technologies for a multitude of products, allowing them to run cooler and raise their overall productivity-per-watt. The world's largest industry is electronics, with global demand increasing year over year. IR's products are integral to the next generation of servers and computers, cars, satellites and home appliances, setting performance and architecture standards for power electronics across a broad spectrum.

Today, we're the only company in the world to design and manufacture solutions addressing the entire power conversion process that transforms crude electricity into clean, usable power.

As in most companies, our executives are looking for ways to more effectively access information to help with day-to-day business decisions. They ask very pointed questions when viewing reports and needed the ability to create analyses on the fly and modify them cost-effectively. One area where we saw an opportunity to increase data access efficiency was to deploy a Web-based tool that would enable users to quickly view and analyze the critical business information stored in our Hyperion Essbase online analytical processing (OLAP) databases.

The financial systems department was charged with researching and selecting a solution for Web-based, real-time information access. We began by creating a list of required criteria, which included: fast query response times, short learning curve, competitive price, compatibility with existing data warehouse architectures and minimal setup/maintenance. In addition to ad hoc capabilities, we also wanted the ability to create reports customized for standardized distribution. Finally, we ideally wanted a tool that would work with additional OLAP database sources (e.g., Microsoft Analysis Service).

In order to keep the scope of the project focused, we set a deadline of 60 days to complete the project from beginning to end. With the selection criteria finalized, the department researched and evaluated three competitive products.

We tested each product in house with a consistent set of tasks, including creating sample reports on commonly used data. We did this within our department and then solicited the help of beta test users from different departments. They were asked to use the software to complete tasks that were normally done using Excel and provide feedback on how each tool handled the operation. Our process was informal, but structured. We held discussions with users as they completed the tasks to find out what they liked and didn't like.

After evaluation, the department chose Temtec's Executive Viewer. Of the three solutions, it was strongest in its Web-based capabilities and allowed users to quickly analyze our existing OLAP databases in a self-service environment rather than calling our resources for report creation. With no additional development environment needed, we were able to leverage the product investment to create interactive reports, customized for managed OLAP data queries, using our HTML editing products.

Executive Viewer gave users the ability to easily access and dynamically analyze the sales information with minimal training (approximately one hour). It was easy to set up and required no programming support or ongoing consulting. In fact, the entire installation was completed in one day with assistance from Temtec, with straightforward distribution to users via a dedicated Web page on our corporate intranet.

Now that installation is complete, users are beginning to mine corporate financial data in a graphical manner using the Web-based interface. With this more centralized analysis and reporting environment, our executives and analysts, who are business savvy but not computer programmers, have immediate access to critical information to enable intelligent, timely and strategic decision making.

As we move forward, we plan to expand the usage of the software to serve additional audiences who are not comfortable or do not have time to use the currently installed Excel interface. These users will be able to navigate the existing corporate OLAP databases without technical support, create customized reports and then save them for repeat use throughout the department to promote sharing of information.

The financial systems department met periodically to benchmark progress with usage of the product and to troubleshoot with individuals who may have had issues or missed the training. Our project came in on schedule and on budget. Our department was extremely satisfied with the process that led to the software selection. Our goal was to do it quickly and efficiently and to select the best product for our company. By limiting involvement but gaining input from key users, we were able to accomplish our goals and move forward in our quest for increasing efficiencies.

Temtec has achieved worldwide recognition for Executive Viewer, which provides nontechnical and power users alike fast, easy ad hoc Web access to OLAP databases. Users can explore data from any perspective, dynamically sort/select/pivot information, create on-the-fly calculations, identify exceptions, generate graphs, print fully formatted reports and more with unbeatable response times.

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