REVIEWER: David Shor, senior business process design specialist at PSEG Services Corporation.
BACKGROUND: Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is a publicly traded, growing energy and energy services company headquartered in New Jersey. PSEG has assets over $28.6 billion and total revenues of $12.2 billion, with more than 10,000 employees. The Services Corporation provides quality, value-added services to internal clients within the PSEG family of companies.
PLATFORMS: Windows 2003, Windows XP.
PROBLEM SOLVED: PSEG deployed the SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) to provide a standard data warehouse infrastructure; however, SAP BW was limited in its ability to create reports that included billing and expense hierarchies as well as calculations between the two hierarchies. As a result of this limitation, users were creating multiple Excel reports for this data, resulting in a manual report-generation process that took several days after the month-end close to produce. This manual report generation led us to look for alterative approaches.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Actuate e.Reports has been deployed to aggregate data from multiple information cubes housed in SAP BW into a single presentation-quality report with full cell-level annotation capabilities. Over the past couple of years, the Actuate Business Performance Report (BPR) has become one of the most critical reports in the PSEG Services Corporation. The BPR is a profit-and-loss statement that compares actual, plan and forecast data to present a clear, one-page picture of financial performance. The annotation functionality allows users to enter in variance analysis at an individual cell level. This analysis is then aggregated by Actuate into a single report used by the management reporting team. The BPR is used across all PSEG Service Corporation business units and by the management reporting team. Actuate e.Spreadsheet delivers the ability to create dynamic, reoccurring formulas based on different nodes of multiple hierarchies. Links and formulas are server driven and not based in the spreadsheet. PSEG has realized significant cost savings and high user-satisfaction levels by deploying Actuate. Actuate has fully automated a manual, inefficient process, saving the company approximately 20 full-time equivalent workdays per month.
STRENGTHS: Actuate offers a flexible, powerful development environment for precise control. The PSEG development team has not been limited in terms of the types of reports that can be delivered, and end users have always been satisfied. The aggregation of cell-level annotations has proved invaluable. With e.Spreadsheet, PSEG receives the power and customization capabilities of Actuate combined with the interactive and familiar interface of Excel. PSEG power users will soon be able to develop their own e.Spreadsheet reports, offloading some of the work from development and IT staffs. The implementation of Information Objects further simplifies the report creation process by allowing the use of multiple information sources in each e.Spreadsheet report.
WEAKNESSES: When we deployed Actuate, we did not have any Actuate report developers on staff. The development process for e.Reports is very technical and required a skilled report developer. Now that PSEG is migrating to Actuate e.Spreadsheet, this issue is alleviated because there is more expertise in house.
SELECTION CRITERIA: PSEG selected Actuate because it met all functional requirements and could integrate with the SAP BW infrastructure. There were multiple requirements for the reporting solution, such as Web-based viewing, a user-friendly interface and the ability to support multiple hierarchies and queries within a single report. In addition, Actuate was also the only solution that would allow cell-level annotations within a spreadsheet report.
DELIVERABLES: Actuate provides both Web and Excel-based reports. PSEG currently has 10 Web reports and 10 Excel reports that are produced in real time.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Actuate Professional Services partnered with PSEG to implement Actuate and develop reports, providing PSEG with customized features well beyond the capabilities that were in place at the time (SAP BW & SAP R/3). PSEG has been very satisfied with Actuate Professional Services and continues to leverage their expertise.
DOCUMENTATION: Actuate Professional Services wrote a knowledge transfer document specific to the PSEG implementation that has been extremely helpful. PSEG has been able to rely on the documentation provided.
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