CATEGORY: BI Tools

REVIEWER: John White, senior database analyst for Matrix Service.

BACKGROUND: Matrix Service ­ a company with 1,900 employees and 14 locations in the U.S. and Canada ­ designs, constructs, maintains and provides specialized repair services and products for aboveground storage tanks principally for petroleum refineries, bulk storage terminals, pipelines and chemical plants. The company also provides general industrial construction and in-plant routine maintenance, process-unit turnarounds and construction services.

PLATFORMS: Matrix Service is utilizing Windows NT for both Seagate Info and ASP servers. Data sources: PENTA on Oracle, Solomon Software/Btrieve and Microsoft Access.

PROBLEM SOLVED: At any given moment, Matrix Service has as many as 1,900 active projects. In the field, project managers make critical business decisions to ensure that contracts finish on time and within budget. Matrix Service did not have an enterprise e-business intelligence system in place, so project managers were often making decisions without the latest information. Before they implemented the Seagate Software solution, managers only had access to job cost reports by mail or fax. With most reports running hundreds of pages, the choice was either slow or expensive, and both were frustrating. Matrix Service took advantage of a free fifty-seat Seagate Info 7 offering and acquired a Web-enabled enterprise reporting solution that gave the project managers exactly what they wanted.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Matrix Service's Seagate Software solution provides unparalleled functionality to customize reports, maximizing the value of the information they contain. Now managers can look at their reports any time and get answers to questions much more easily, such as how much has been charged to date and what percentage of the job has been completed. Seagate Info has given them the tools to provide mission-critical data for proactive project management and save significant amounts of money on fax and postage.

STRENGTHS: Matrix Service was excited by the possibilities of deploying Seagate Info over the Web. Seagate Info's e-business capabilities allow them to push current job report information out to all project managers via the WAN or the Internet. The enterprise infrastructure of Seagate Info solved the complex challenges of managing secure Web-based report distribution across the enterprise. Matrix Service also takes advantage of Seagate Info's scheduling capabilities, which free up time for the HR staff. They no longer spend hours filling out spreadsheets for employees' health insurance and retirement plan providers.

WEAKNESSES: When Matrix Service went to install Seagate Info, they had questions about connectivity, design and Web issues. These technical problems that Matrix Service experienced during deployment were easily solved with the help of the Seagate Software support staff. In most instances, an article was found in the knowledge base on the Seagate Software Web site that directly addressed the problem.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Matrix Service chose Seagate Software because of its highly advanced power and flexibility in creating and distributing custom reports. Matrix Service also chose Seagate Software to take advantage of the free 50-seat Seagate Info 7 offering, giving them access to the highly scalable, enterprise e-business intelligence solution for access to superior accessing, analyzing, reporting and Web-sharing features. Seagate Software's reputation in the business intelligence industry, and the reputation of the world-class reporting technology in Crystal Reports, made the choice seem intuitive.

DELIVERABLES: Matrix Service's Seagate Soft-ware solution provides many business benefits. Seagate Info enables 24x7 access to project cost reports via the Web for project managers overseeing projects in the field. It also eliminates the cost and hassle of mailing and faxing one-hundred-page reports. It enables project managers to stem budget overruns before they become an issue and presents mission-critical budget information in both project-specific and summary form. Matrix Service has also utilized Seagate Info's scheduling capabilities to automate monthly accounting and human resources reports, saving days of redundant labor every month.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Seagate Software has been very responsive to the needs of Matrix Service. Throughout the installation process, Matrix Service took advantage of Seagate Software's training sessions and free, high-quality telephone support. Matrix received exceptional technical support and informative training sessions which were invaluable to the success of the implementation. Overall support was excellent.

DOCUMENTATION: Seagate Info includes comprehensive documentation on all aspects of the product.

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