BACKGROUND: Life Cycle Consulting, Inc. (LCCI) is a Torrance, California-based business intelligence, database technology and systems integration firm that specializes in VLDB and data warehouse development projects.

PLATFORMS: QMF for Window runs on a standard Wintel client platform (Windows 95/98/NT) and connects to most DB2 environments including DB2 for S/390 and all supported DB2 UDB platforms.

PROBLEM SOLVED: At Southern California Edison, LCCI's consultants and customers work in a predominantly S/390-DB2 world, and many have used the mainframe version of QMF for years. QMF for Windows enables those consultants and client analysts to reuse existing QMF-based analyses on reports and quickly transition to a more modern, user-friendly query environment without going through a steep learning curve. Additional benefits are realized for clients in multi-DBMS environments utilizing QMF for Windows in conjunction with IBM's DataJoiner technology, enabling a single, consistent interface.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: QMF for Windows gives a wide range of users with varying levels of skill the ability to quickly and easily interact with data stored in DB2 databases residing on a wide range of platforms as well as generate reports in standard and HTML formats. Heterogeneous database access is enabled utilizing QMF for Windows and IBM's DataJoiner technology. Movement of data for analysis is facilitated by add-ins that allow for the easy import of query results into desktop applications. The capability to have multiple queries and result sets open facilitates database development, data discovery and database support efforts. QMF for Windows can function in either a TCP/IP or SNA environment. In an IBM TCP/IP environment, QMF for Windows shines by allowing direct desktop-to-database connectivity, enabling very high performance as well as extreme ease of configuration. New features added to this version include the ability to run QMF Linear Procedures and extend "Form" functionality utilizing IBM's Object REXX for Windows95. Additional "Form" functions include the ability to embed HTML tags in report definitions. Enhanced in this release is additional measurement data for query usage.

STRENGTHS: The main strengths of QMF for Windows are ease of use, ease of installation and configuration, ease of administration and outstanding flexibility. It is able to handle very demanding, data intensive environments by facilitating iterative query development. QMF for Windows works well in development projects as a query modeling tool, allowing copy/paste capability into embedded language environments. It can function as a managed query environment by supporting a central sharable query storage facility. Delivered APIs enable utilization within custom-developed applications or through the callable facilities of many DSS tool environments and reap the benefits of QMF for Windows connectivity speed and power. Administrative features enable a full range of user profiling, enabling time of use management as well as resource limits and SQL function usage. All of these features are bundled in a very small package.

WEAKNESSES: Although it supports form calculations and IBM Object REXX, it doesn't support REXX in QMF procedures.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose QMF for Windows for its reuse capability, simplicity, power and flexibility.

DELIVERABLES: QMF for Windows delivers end-user reporting, Web publishing and application-building capabilities.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor is very responsive, from the friendly after-sales follow-up to the excellent and fast technical support.

DOCUMENTATION: The packaged documentation is comprehensive enough to enable a newcomer, both administrator and user, to get connected and be effective using the product in a short time period (minutes ­ not days, weeks or months). The hard documentation is supported by an extensive on-line help environment.

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