BACKGROUND: Maxtor Corporation develops, manufactures and markets information storage products for desktop computer systems. As part of a recent major enterprise system upgrade, Maxtor retired a legacy ASK system and replaced it with an SAP R/3-based environment. Maxtor's IT department faced the challenge of creating a business intelligence environment which would complement Maxtor's deployment of multiple SAP R/3 applications. Facilities around the world would require daily access to key billing, booking, backlog, tracking inventory and finished goods inventory information stored in Maxtor's new SAP R/3 environment.

PLATFORMS: Maxtor's environment consists of multiprocessor HP T570s and HP T520s. Maxtor runs Oracle7.3 and uses the Business Objects with Essbase OLAP tools. Acta's Sales Analysis RapidMart for SAP and ActaWorks run on Microsoft Windows NT and HP-UX and work with SAP R/3 Release 3.0 or higher.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Maxtor's deployment of decision support capabilities simultaneously with the company's new SAP R/3 applications was key to the company's business. Maxtor needed to recreate a legacy database with its new SAP R/3 implementation. Maxtor recently simultaneously deployed SAP R/3 and an Acta Sales Analysis RapidMart worldwide. The information we are getting is crucial for the fulfillment group: namely, backlog and shipping information. Maxtor is updating the Sales Analysis RapidMart three times daily so it is refreshed prior to each geographical area's (Europe, North America and Asia) beginning of day.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The RapidMart is a prepackaged data mart built with ActaWorks, an extraction transformation and loading tool designed specifically to build data warehouses from ERP applications. Acta's Sales Analysis RapidMart provides an "out-of-the-box" warehouse solution that includes a target schema, source-to-target mappings and transformations that handle change data capture, hierarchy extraction, error recovery and other complex data warehouse processes. Each RapidMart contains predefined data extraction jobs that automatically populate the data warehouse with the company's SAP R/3 data. The Sales Analysis RapidMart is built with ActaWorks and can easily be customized to meet each company's unique needs. Maxtor is also considering enriching the Sales Analysis RapidMart with information from an Oracle-based factory information system in the near future.

STRENGTHS: Acta's Sales Analysis RapidMart greatly reduced the deployment time, project risk and expense of building an SAP R/3-based data warehouse. Each RapidMart has predefined data extraction jobs that automatically populate the data warehouse with SAP R/3 data. In addition, the RapidMarts are customizable and enhancements can be made quickly and easily. Maxtor customized its RapidMart with no formal training in a matter of days and was ready to deploy within weeks.

WEAKNESSES: Maxtor has requested additional features for easing the deployment of the Sales Analysis Rapid Mart into production as well as enhancements to the front-end, which Acta has successfully introduced in Version 2.0.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Maxtor evaluated several alternatives in creating its SAP-based data mart, including taking delta snapshots of the SAP tables. Due to the complexities in creating a workable backlog report and the time and CPU cycles associated with those activities, Maxtor recognized it needed to find a better solution for its long-term needs. Acta provided a powerful three-day, proof-of-concept that enabled us to deploy an SAP R/3-based sales data mart within weeks.

DELIVERABLES: The Acta Sales Analysis RapidMart supplied Maxtor with a better than 70 percent solution out of the gate ­ which provided a tremendous jump start. We were able to customize the RapidMart to fit our business model in a matter of days ­ with no training. Acta's RapidMart has been very easy for us to integrate into our new environment, which was extremely important as we had plenty of other tasks to worry about as we worked to roll out SAP R/3.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Acta has been very responsive to our needs. There are plenty of SAP or data warehouse experts, but it is highly unusual to find people who know both sides of the fence so well. We have greatly benefitted from Acta's consulting expertise as well as their products.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is comprehensive and easy to read.

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