REVIEWER: Joan Hughes, section manager IT sales, marketing and corporate data warehouse for KeySpan.

BACKGROUND: A member of the S&P 500, KeySpan is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast, with 2.4 million gas customers and more than 13,000 employees. KeySpan is also the largest investor-owned electric generator in New York State and operates Long Island's electric system serving 1.1 million customers. With headquarters in Brooklyn, Boston and Long Island, KeySpan also manages a dynamic portfolio of service companies.

PLATFORM: Windows NT 4.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: KeySpan wanted to provide its more than 13,000 employees with accurate energy data in an easy-to-absorb format, which would allow them to direct the appropriate amount of natural gas through New York City pipelines. The company needed a Web-based application that would communicate gas usage to its customers ­ marketers that sell natural gas to consumers. KeySpan also needed to be able to effectively analyze gas usage patterns to help determine the amount of gas supply required on a monthly basis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: MicroStrategy Narrowcast Server sends alerts via e-mail and pager when the actual flow of gas is less or more than the projected amount, allowing its users to take immediate action when necessary. MicroStrategy Narrowcast Server's intelligent alerting capabilities enable KeySpan to ensure homeowners and businesses throughout New York have enough energy to heat their homes and offices and run their hot water heaters. KeySpan customers are also able to login to the company's extranet, view gas usage projections and make informed decisions as to how much gas should be brought through the pipelines on any given day. In addition, KeySpan uses MicroStrategy business intelligence software to analyze such factors as historical data and the impact of varying weather conditions on gas usage to project how much gas should be distributed.

STRENGTHS: KeySpan depends on MicroStrategy Narrowcast Server to monitor the energy usage patterns of all of its customers and to send intelligent alerts if there is a disparity. As the largest distributor of natural gas and a significant electric generator in the Northeast region, KeySpan's ability to provide heat and hot water to millions of customers is central to its business. MicroStrategy Narrowcast Server's scalability and world-class system availability support KeySpan's mission- critical business intelligence applications and its ability to meet customer needs.

WEAKNESSES: Narrowcast Server was at a different release level than the rest of the suite of products at the point in time that it was implemented at KeySpan, which presented some issues. Also, some customization was required for personal page-by functionality.

SELECTION CRITERIA: KeySpan was pleased with the diversity of functions within Narrowcast Server as well as its integration with MicroStrategy Intelligence Server, which allows the product to deliver intelligent alerts and reports.

DELIVERABLES: Four times a day, MicroStrategy Narrowcast Server compares the actual flow of gas to the projection made earlier in the day and then sends an exception report via e- mail or pager to the marketer and the gas operations department controlling the valves. The alerts notify marketers when they have under- or over-nominated gas usage so that they can make appropriate adjustments.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support was exceptionally good ­ MicroStrategy was even able to send product developers to the KeySpan site to assist when necessary during product implementation.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is strong and maintained with new releases. MicroStrategy also maintains an online knowledge base, which is a rich source of information.

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