REVIEWER: Michael Hansen, general manager of technical development and projects for Maersk Sealand Customer Resource Center.

BACKGROUND: Maersk Sealand is one of the largest liner shipping companies in the world, serving customers all over the globe. With a fleet numbering more than 300 container vessels and 950,000 containers, the company ensures reliable and comprehensive worldwide coverage. Maersk Sealand's feeder vessels, trucks and dedicated trains allow it to offer a unique concept of door-to-door services. The company is a division of the A.P. Moller - Maersk Group and has more than 325 offices in more than 100 countries.

PLATFORMS: We run Datawatch Monarch Pro on approximately 400 IBM and HP desktop and laptop PCs, using Windows NT, 2000 or XP, and equipped with at least 2.4GHz Pentium IV processors, 1GB RAM and 40GB hard drives. Monarch Pro is accessing reports and data residing on a number of customized applications we developed on our IBM OS390 mainframes.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Maersk Sealand moves approximately 1 million shipping containers all around the globe, generating lengthy reports that track container movements, cargo details and financial information. Reports can be as many as 5,000 greenbar pages. Because we often need to make decisions based on information in different, unintegrated systems, we needed an application that could easily join different data into a single view, then allow us to filter, sort and analyze specific data and generate customized reports. Monarch Pro is our solution for these complex data integration tasks. Not only are we able to combine data from different reports for ad hoc management reporting, but we've also been able to optimize customer status report and container turn-time report generation. Each is a business-critical task, given customer demands and the financial incentives in maximizing the use of every container. Monarch Pro has decreased our data quality issues by 50 percent since we began using it to generate Excel reports that break down quality issues by user and department - giving managers proper, updated information they can act on.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Most of our customers rely on us to provide status information about their cargo including container location, delivery schedules, U.S. Customs status and shipping costs. This information is in reports in different customized applications. Monarch Pro enables us to simultaneously join data from all these reports and export customer-specific data into Excel spreadsheets, the format most requested by customers. Benefits include an efficient method of creating and delivering reports, using trusted, verified data from existing reports, and enabling us to capitalize on our existing systems.

STRENGTHS: Monarch Pro's primary strengths are its processing speed and ability to join data from different sources. When we need to grab specific data from 4,000 to 5,000 page greenbar customer records and combine it with, for example, data from container movement reports in a different application, nothing beats Monarch Pro for joining this data -- and doing it quickly. In addition, because we are grabbing the data from report print streams, there is no data or database query programming necessary.

WEAKNESSES: Because we've been using Monarch since the late 1980s, there used to be an issue with the way the calculated fields handled expanded date and time entries in our older versions. However, now that we've upgraded our licenses to Monarch Pro V7, this issue has been addressed.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We've never considered (or found) another product to accomplish what Monarch does. We utilize traditional BI tools to generate reports from raw data stored in databases, but often feed those reports into Monarch Pro for further use, processing and distribution.

DELIVERABLES: Among other things, we use Monarch Pro to produce ad hoc reports for management, status reports for customers (in Excel format), container turn-time reports and data quality reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Datawatch support has been great, and our questions are always answered right away. The best part is the online User Forums, which we use often to get answers from both users and Datawatch staff.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand.

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