PLATFORMS: ShowCase STRATEGY's Distributor moves sales data from PGI's source DB2/400 database running on an AS/400 Model 310 into ShowCase STRATEGY's Essbase/400 multidimensional environment on an AS/400 Model 40S where end users can access it with ShowCase STRATEGY's Analyzer tool.

BACKGROUND: Parfums Givenchy, Inc., (PGI) distributes and merchandises a range of quality fragrances, cosmetics and skin-care products, which are sold in upscale department stores throughout North America.

PROBLEM SOLVED: PGI's systems lacked the ability to provide end users with "practical" analytical reporting capabilities. For flexible sales analysis, PGI sought an end-to-end data warehousing solution that provided a powerful, yet simple end-user tool for data access while at the same time minimized MIS resources. PGI found that solution in ShowCase STRATEGY which covers the entire spectrum of data warehousing technology. Already having a staff skilled on the AS/400 made it that much easier to implement. From the business side, ShowCase STRATEGY's Analyzer tool provided end users with all of the functionality needed to design their own custom data analysis applications with minimal training. The result is a powerful sales analysis application that requires minimal maintenance and "hand-holding" by MIS. End users and management now have critical, up-to-date sales data to assist in their decision-making process.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ShowCase STRATEGY has been everything we hoped it would be. Its multidimensional database, Essbase/400, has been reliable and high performing. ShowCase STRATEGY's Distributor tool has automated data movement and dimension building while ShowCase STRATEGY's Analyzer tool has given our sales analysts the tools needed for data access.

STRENGTHS: ShowCase STRATEGY's strengths lie in its flexibility and ease of use. From the technical end, ShowCase STRATEGY's Essbase/400 and Distributor tool facilitate the design and loading of the data mart or warehouse, resulting in a time-to-market system implementation that can be measured in days depending on experience and data complexity. For end users, ShowCase STRATEGY's Analyzer tool provides a simple interface with highly functional view design capabilities and interfaces to other popular applications. For spreadsheet users, Microsoft Excel can be substituted for Analyzer as a front end.

WEAKNESSES: The main weakness of the ShowCase STRATEGY solution is the current lack of transparent ROLAP functionality. PGI is looking forward to ShowCase adding complete ROLAP functionality to its solution.

SELECTION CRITERIA: PGI selected ShowCase STRATEGY for three reasons. First, the flexibility and ease of use provided by its data access tool, Analyzer. Second, the ease of development and maintenance required to move data from source AS/400 systems to ShowCase STRATEGY's Essbase/400. Finally, we felt the technology and business strategy presented to us by ShowCase made it a sensible investment that would meet our changing needs for years to come.

DELIVERABLES: Currently, ShowCase STRATEGY's Analyzer tool produces summary sales data that can be viewed in a graphical, spreadsheet or pin-board format. Resulting data can also be exported to text files, spreadsheet applications and NotesMail.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ShowCase offers a unique program of training and consulting that allows customers to quickly familiarize themselves with the ShowCase STRATEGY solution. The technical support team at ShowCase was very responsive to our needs.

DOCUMENTATION: A variety of documentation, from training manuals to on-line help, is available for each tool within the ShowCase STRATEGY data warehousing solution.

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