BACKGROUND: Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the second largest computer hardware and software company in the world with approximately $48 billion in annual sales revenue. Our Roseville, California, site is one of the largest HP sites in the world with 8,000 to 9,000 employees on site. There are 20 major HP business units residing at the Roseville site, all buying site services from the site services provider, HP-RSO (Roseville Site Organization).

PLATFORMS: HP-RSO runs MatryxAccess on a Windows NT client. The Microsoft Excel output from MatryxAccess is then posted to an NT Web server where it is made available via our intranet to users with password level security invoked.

PROBLEM SOLVED: HP-RSO customers and the management team were in desperate need of a reporting tool that could provide ad hoc query capabilities and trend analysis for the demands of 20 major site business units. HP-RSO sells 150 products to 20 major HP business units, plus many other small HP business units residing on the Roseville site. These site product lines basically consist of the following: rent, computer infrastructure, procurement, human resources, accounting, training and a test center. As a site service provider, it is necessary for HP-RSO to communicate these expenses to the HP business units residing on the site efficiently and effectively in a timely manner. Once a month, HP-RSO will bill HP residing business units for these site services. As a site service group, HP-RSO desires to build strategic alliances with site customers to reduce their site services bill, and an effective reporting tool is necessary to achieve this goal. HP-RSO turned to MatryxAccess to leverage the existing investments HP had in Microsoft Access 97 and Microsoft Excel 97. Marrying these two powerful tools with MatryxAccess exponentially compounded their power to provide an inexpensive IT solution for an expensive business need. Now, in a timely manner, HP-RSO can efficiently and effectively communicate site service expenses to HP business units.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The business solution MatryxAccess provided HP-RSO surpassed our expectations in terms product stability, reliability, portability and flexibility.

STRENGTHS: The ability to give all users various slices of data refreshed monthly in Microsoft Excel 97 was an incredible accomplishment. Also, with some training in Visual Basic, HP-RSO has been able to leverage the flexibility of the Microsoft Excel 97 environment to make very usable reports from the source pivot table information provided by MatryxAccess. The other strength is that site finance owns this solution from database to data delivery, and all this technology is usable by nonprogrammers. MatryxAccess gives data users access to the data they need and delivers it in the medium that HP-RSO customers want ­ Microsoft Excel 97. In summary, the complete solution was implemented in 60 days, there was no client install, our intranet and MatryxAccess provides a stable environment, and users were trained in less than 30 minutes.

WEAKNESSES: Currently, Microsoft Excel 97 can only accommodate 65,000 records of detail per workbook. Therefore, one dimension of data must be diminished in order to highlight another dimension of data. Also, 12 simultaneous fields can be connected from Microsoft Access 97 to Microsoft Excel 97 without sharing selection criteria boxes. In the next revision of the product, MatryxAccess can accommodate 24 simultaneous fields.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The selection of MatryxAccess was quite haphazard. Browsing through the January, 1999 issue of Access Office VB Advisor magazine (published by Advisor Media), HP-RSO decided for $199, it was worth it to try out this Microsoft Excel 97 plug-in.

DELIVERABLES: Controllers, financial managers, analysts and accountants are the primary users of this site expense reporting tool to monitor site expenses and make decisions based on the real-time availability of data. Expenses are reported in primarily two dimensions: the customer view and the service provider view. Within each of these views services, products, product lines, functions, customers, months, quarters, halves and year data can be reported.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Stone, Timber, River has been very responsive to our need for support. The turnaround time on technical support has been great.

DOCUMENTATION: Stone, Timber, River's written and on-line documentation are thorough and helpful. However, these resources are rarely used due to the intuitive nature of the product.

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