REVIEWER: Eric Lofstrom, OLAP Architect for Quicken Loans Inc.

BACKGROUND: Quicken Loans Inc, which consists of Quicken Loans, Rock Financial and Title Source, was founded in 1985. The leading provider of home loans on the Internet, Quicken offers loans in all 50 states and closed more than $12 billion in loans in 2003. Rock Financial is Michigan's largest mortgage company. The company currently has more than 1,700 employees in Michigan and was recently ranked #13 on Fortune Magazine's list of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America."

PLATFORMS: Compaq DL760, Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Compaq DL360, Analysis Services 2000, ASP.NET, ProClarity Analytics Server, ProClarity Dashboard Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Before ProClarity was implemented, Quicken Loans would get pipeline reports once a month, and it would take metrics three weeks to compile the information. The data was already three weeks old by the time the consumer received it. Now, we are able to provide users pipeline data once every hour, which enables us to react much more quickly.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We can now provide numbers to both analysts and information consumers. Quicken Loans also utilizes ProClarity to provide visual displays of pertinent information to a variety of users. The addition of ProClarity dashboards has allowed me to provide information in a "heads-up" display format. We can now place customized views of data on one user screen while maintaining a common look and feel throughout the organization. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, by leveraging dashboards and our data warehouse, I am able to promote one version of the truth, guaranteeing everyone has access to the same information. We have an estimated ROI of approximately $420,000 per year. The intuitive interface allows users to comprehend complex data with limited training. Customer service time has dramatically decreased with centralized location of data. Loan processing time is considerably reduced with access to up-to-date information, and approximate total timesavings is 350 man-hours per month.

STRENGTHS: From a user perspective, ProClarity is a no-brainer. From a programming standpoint, the different things one can do with ProClarity components are highly beneficial. I can use ProClarity in a traditional thick client implementation as well as a Web client or a dashboard. By leveraging COM+ I can throw ProClarity into my in-house applications, intranet and even mobile devices. The flexibility of the ProClarity platform permits the program to accommodate the growing BI sophistication of Quicken Loans.

WEAKNESSES: ProClarity's charting engine needs improvement. Additional charting options and better presentation top the list. ProClarity's Dashboard Server requires the ability to change the look and feel of the product to match the standards of my organization.

SELECTION CRITERIA: I reviewed ProClarity and several other major BI vendors. In the end, we selected ProClarity for their seamless compatibility with existing technology and ability to accurately integrate disparate data sources into a manageable and meaningful dashboard interface. Easy installation was another advantage of the ProClarity deployment.

DELIVERABLES: We leverage ProClarity in a variety of formats. First and foremost is our dashboard initiative. By implementing right-time ETL processes, we can push data to our information consumers that is relevant and up to date. ProClarity's dashboard client gives me a customizable, n-up view of my business with no footprint. Now each executive can view the KPIs that are most relevant to their portion of the business and can get those numbers without wading through stacks of static reports. With ProClarity's multitude of options and ease of use, they are performing analyses in minutes that in the past would have taken hours. ProClarity makes it easy for them to access the more than 150 cubes that are in production. While serving as our in-house analytical platform, ProClarity is quickly becoming our enterprise reporting solution as well. With integration to Microsoft's Reporting Services, we can leverage our right-time data warehouse to provide reports to consumers without placing a load on our production servers.

VENDOR SUPPORT: ProClarity's support has been second to none. From the pre-implementation team to post implementation and ongoing support, ProClarity's employees, technicians, consultants and support personnel have been professional, courteous and always respond quickly. ProClarity has worked hand-in-hand with us to meet all of our BI needs. Their consulting corps is top-notch.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is clear, concise and easy to understand.

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