REVIEWER: Heather Anderson, director of information technology for Quixtar Inc.

BACKGROUND: Quixtar Inc., a subsidiary of Alticor Inc., is a business opportunity company that offers entrepreneurs the ability to have a Web-based business of their own. Since 1999, independent business owners (IBOs) powered by Quixtar have generated more than $5.3 billion in sales, earning in excess of $1.7 billion in bonuses and other incentives. Their efforts have made Quixtar the number one retailer in the online health and beauty category based on sales, and 14th among all e-commerce sites, according to Internet Retailer's "Top 400 Guide." Based near Grand Rapids, Michigan, Quixtar currently supports independent businesses in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and various trust territories and independent island nations in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and Caribbean Sea. 

PLATFORMS: Microsoft Windows Server 2000, Actuate iServer and Active Portal utilizing database platforms including Microsoft SQL Server and DB2.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With several hundred thousand independent business owners, Quixtar is consistently challenged to arm its entrepreneur-customers with relevant and timely information to keep them competitive and successful. Prior to implementing Actuate, Quixtar managed a costly, resource-intensive process that generated reports, printed them on multiple laser printers and distributed them via mail. Additionally, reports were run for Quixtar's employees to help them measure the company's overall performance.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Quixtar is utilizing the Actuate Enterprise Reporting Application Platform to provide millions of timely, easy-to-use Web reports annually to Quixtar IBOs. IBOs now have access to an Enterprise-class reporting platform that allows them to align with business goals and appropriately react to market changes, with the efficiency once only available to large corporations. Quixtar IBOs market products and manage their businesses via the Internet through Quixtar provides monthly, annual and on-request reports that give IBOs important information about the status of their business. With Actuate's Enterprise Reporting platform, IBOs can now access their reports and bonus statements online within hours rather than weeks - enabling them to more rapidly and accurately evaluate the state of their businesses.

STRENGTHS: Actuate has the unique combination of ability to scale and end-user ease of use that is required to deliver millions of Web reports to users outside the firewall. Additional Actuate technology advantages that are very valuable to Quixtar include the platform's centralized object management capabilities, document storage repository and page on-demand report viewing.

WEAKNESSES: Although Actuate has built-in analytics capabilities, we have not found them robust enough and continue to use other third-party BI tools for our analytics needs.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Quixtar's selection criteria for an enterprise reporting solution included an enterprise-wide platform that provided an easy-to-use and flexible Web reporting system for IBOs as well as reporting for all internal applications. Reports needed to be generated from numerous disparate applications including order entry, catalog and customer systems. After conducting a thorough evaluation process that scored each vendor's solution from both an end-user and technical perspective, Quixtar selected Actuate's Enterprise Reporting Application Platform. Actuate has been implemented across the Quixtar enterprise and has streamlined reporting for the external IBO application and the internal day-to-day operational applications. Quixtar's parent company, Alticor, also uses Actuate to provide reports for its Amway affiliates worldwide.

DELIVERABLES: The platform delivers millions of flexible, easy-to-use Web reports to users outside the firewall.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Quixtar worked closely with Actuate's support organization and Actuate e.Services during the initial pilot project and during upgrades to customize the Actuate interface. We've been very happy with their responsiveness and the results.

DOCUMENTATION: The application is Web-based and highly intuitive, making it very simple for new users to get on board. In addition, a comprehensive user manual makes it easy to get started with the application and understand its functionality.

Actuate Enterprise Reporting Application Platform
Actuate Corporation
701 Gateway Boulevard
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 837-2000

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