REVIEWER: Steve Waters, vice president and systems manager, Business Intelligence systems for Union Bank.

BACKGROUND: Union Bank is among the 25 largest banks in the U.S., based on assets. The bank has 321 branch offices, two international offices and facilities in seven states. Headquartered in San Francisco, the bank has more than 10,000 employees.

PLATFORMS: Union Bank leverages several Oracle databases running on IBM AIX servers and BusinessObjects XI software.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Appfluent Product Suite solved the problem of how to cost-effectively and proactively optimize our business intelligence (BI)/data warehouse (DW) environment, even as our user community grows. Additionally, Appfluent enabled us to assess workload activity for capacity planning and query performance improvements and provided user auditing to mitigate Union Bank regulatory risk.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Appfluent Product Suite is built upon a set of distributed server processes that work in concert to nondisruptively record and analyze all queries run against our data warehouses. To leverage this analysis, the Appfluent Product Suite includes a comprehensive set of more than 50 prepackaged reports. Additionally, an ad hoc reporting module is available. Union Bank leverages the ad hoc reporting module to create unprecedented insight into our BI/DW environment. For example, based on Appfluent’s usage trending analysis of query activity by hour, day and week, we are able to determine when to conduct programs to upgrade or fix systems. This reduces any performance impact on end users and helps ensure maximum system uptime. Our BI/DW team uses the Appfluent Product Suite to mitigate audit risk by uncovering detailed user information such as Business Objects user IDs, report names and the database tables and columns accessed over any time period.

STRENGTHS: The main strength provided by the Appfluent Product Suite is in the type of information Appfluent monitors and analyzes over time. The Appfluent Product Suite allows us to manage our BI/DW environment by providing critical and unprecedented usage and performance information about our environment, without impacting system performance.

WEAKNESSES: Although Appfluent provides a comprehensive set of more than 50 prepackaged reports with the Product Suite, for the specific reports that Union Bank wanted to build, an ad hoc reporting module was required (which Appfluent provides as an optional add-on).

SELECTION CRITERIA: Appfluent was selected for three reasons: architecture, successful product demonstration and value. Appfluent’s architecture enabled the monitoring and analysis of critical information without impacting BI/DW environment performance. Appfluent successfully deployed their product suite and within two weeks provided unique, valuable insight into Union Bank’s BI/DW environment. Based on these results, Union Bank determined that the Appfluent Product Suite will provide continuous, long-term value.

DELIVERABLES: For Union Bank, Appfluent’s outputs are in the form of Business Objects reports that are leveraged by the entire BI/DW team, by internal audit and by business unit management. There is no new report tool to learn. All of the monitoring and analysis provided by Appfluent is delivered through BusinessObjects XI. All of the prepackaged reports included as well as the ad hoc reporting module are delivered in a set of Business Objects universes. Union Bank BI/DW staff use Appfluent reports via Business Objects to review user activity, identify long-running queries, review application usage, understand data utilization, and identify and correlate problematic SQL not only to the users and reports, but also the database tables and columns affected.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Union Bank was impressed with Appfluent’s organization, project management and guidance during the pre- and post-implementation phases. Appfluent provided the right level of training and insight into how to use the Product Suite. Appfluent continues to partner with us to learn how we are using the Product Suite, understand any potential future requirements and drive best practices.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is complete and easy to understand. The user guides and the report help system are very helpful.

Appfluent Product Suite
Appfluent Technology, Inc.
6001 Montrose Road, Suite 804
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 770-2888

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