PLATFORMS: HP-UX on HP 9000 servers, Oracle7.1 and 7.2 source databases as well as flat file sources; SAP ERP applications running on Oracle 7.1 and 7.2 source databases; Oracle7.3.3 target database; and a mix of Windows 3.1 and Windows NT 4.0 workstations used for querying and reporting.

BACKGROUND: In 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established to foster the transition toward market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in interested central and eastern European countries. Its activities include the promotion of private-sector activity, the strengthening of financial institutions and legal systems and the development of the infrastructure needed to support the private sector. The EBRD encourages co-financing and foreign direct investment from the private and public sectors, helps to mobilize domestic capital and provides technical cooperation in relevant areas.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The bank's pre-existing decision support solution depended on hand-coded programs to move data from the on-line operational systems to its warehouse which, while providing good flexibility, was difficult and expensive to maintain. In order to reduce its dependency upon individuals to extract and transform data and generate reports, the bank chose to solve its problem with interdependent data marts built and managed with Informatica PowerMart, the first of which took just two weeks to implement. The three data marts, focusing on accounting, banking and timesheet systems, rely on PowerMart to extract and transform data from several relational databases as well as flat files. PowerMart also automates job scheduling.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: In automating data extraction, transformation and movement on a large scale, PowerMart provides the bank with functionality that allows the IT department to focus on other areas of decision support. PowerMart's scalability, ease of use and progressive features have greatly benefited the data warehousing venture.

STRENGTHS: The European Bank has been able to execute traditionally complex tasks concerning data extraction, transformation and movement quite easily with PowerMart, and the performance has been excellent along the way. The product has scaled well as our data warehousing needs have grown, and we expect it to continue scaling.

WEAKNESSES: From what we've seen so far, PowerMart 4.0 has exhibited no major weaknesses, although the documentation of the product could be improved in both quality and accuracy.

DELIVERABLES: PowerMart extracts, transforms and moves data from the banking, accounting (SAP R/3) and timesheet systems into the data marts. Incremental data updates from operational systems to the data marts are automated by PowerMart and run several times a day as defined with PowerMart's scheduling functions. Cognos PowerPlay and Impromptu deliver the output reports used for information analysis by end users.

SELECTION CRITERIA: EBRD chose PowerMart following an in-depth market review of data movement and transformation products.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Technical support from Informatica has been excellent. The bank's IT department was able to take the data mart into production within seven days of receiving the software with just a handful of phone calls to Informatica. The bank has had easy access to outstanding on-site support from Informatica's knowledgeable and accommodating support staff.

DOCUMENTATION: PowerMart's documentation is the one area we felt needed improvement. We made our point quite forcefully and are sure it will be addressed in future releases.

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