CATEGORY: ASP Solutions

REVIEWER: Archie Man, CEO for Marketing Decision Research Limited, Hong Kong.

BACKGROUND: Marketing Decision Research Limited (MDR) is an established marketing research organization with more than a decade of success in Hong Kong and Greater China. It services such prestigious organizations as Hutchison Telecom (the largest telecom organization in Pacific Rim area) and China Light & Power (the largest utility organization in China).

PROBLEM SOLVED: Most of our clients expect to address concerns such as the profile of loyal customers, causes of customer dissatisfaction, tracking responsiveness of internal processes and tracking market response to marketing/ sales/branding campaigns. They address these issues through market research on historical data. Our clients belong to various industry verticals. MDR provides market research analysis to its customers by combining operational data with the research data. The process followed by MDR was mostly manual and was not repeatable. MDR was looking for a solution that could automate this process from extracting the raw data to making the analysis available on the Web. This would reduce the maintenance and management costs and scale MDR to service multiple customers with reduced effort. Implementing a comprehensive BI tool for such recurring and ad hoc analysis was proving ineffective ­ it required a lot of internal staff to run and was prohibitively expensive. MDR evaluated various solutions in the market and decided that Mozart was the right one to go with given the completeness of the solution.

APPLICATION FUNCTIONALITY: The application provides a single interface for managing all our clients' data repositories. Its simple, easy-to-use workflow applet lets our administrators define the process flow from extracting the raw data, cleansing and transformations to loading clean data into the data warehouse. The applet-based Job Monitor shows the complete workflow and movement of data as it flows through the process. Arrows are shown in different colors to identify if a task is a success, failure or in progress. Administrators can drill into the log file from within the monitor to know more information about the task. The application also has permission-based profiles for viewing predefined reports, running ad hoc analysis and performing warehouse administration and the ability to schedule and monitor the load process from within the Web interface. Mozart comes with a Report Server with features comparable to any leading reporting tools on the market. This report server is completely Web-based and easy to use anywhere, anytime. Mozart makes it possible to plug into more advanced analytical tools (such as MicroStrategy). This feature is helpful for companies that want to integrate well with emerging technologies while protecting their current IT investments. In the future, we plan to use vertical-specific business templates for finance, banking and retail industries.

STRENGTHS: The main strengths of the application are its Web-based interface, fast deployment, tight integration with leading tools and easy-to- use, applet-based workflow. It is also based on open technologies such as XML and Java.

WEAKNESSES: The Report Designer needs added capabilities. It is still not at a stage where our end users can define the reports themselves. Magma is currently working on enhancing the Report Designer to make it more end-user friendly.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose Magma's ASP solution because of the ability to extract data from our client locations remotely. Mozart comes with a "Chorus" agent that can be respond to messages coming from the Chorus server residing at MDR. The agent needs to be configured at the beginning to extract the right data from our client source systems. After initial configuration, extracting the data at scheduled intervals is automatic. Another factor in our decision was scalability. Existing business templates provide MDR the flexibility to use the same product for its clients who often belong to different industries. The application also integrates well with and supplements warehousing/BI tools already in place.

DELIVERABLES: The application produces basic, advanced and ad hoc analysis reports. It also schedules processes for warehousing (data cleansing, converting to a standard format and loading it in the central repository), launches schedules automatically and monitors all running processes. Additionally, it provides usage trends and analysis histories for all clients.

VENDOR SUPPORT: A high level of technical expertise and proactiveness in addressing issues has been a key highlight of Magma's support, and we are very satisfied.

DOCUMENTATION: The end-user documentation is exhaustive and easy to understand, but the technical documentation needs some improvements.

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