BACKGROUND: CAC is a specialized financial services company that provides funding, receivables management, collection, sales training and related services to automobile dealers in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

PLATFORMS: Credit Acceptance Corporation (CAC) runs ReportMart, SQRIBE's Enterprise Information Portal, on a Windows NT platform that points to an Oracle database on UNIX. Users access ReportMart via a standard browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer).

PROBLEM SOLVED: CAC's goal is to provide our dealers with the best customer service in the industry. Timely access to information is a key factor in that equation. We have embarked upon a two-phase ReportMart project to enable our dealers to benefit from the advantages the Web has to offer. Phase one, in production today, entails using the intranet to provide higher service levels, while phase two will extend ReportMart to our extranet to allow dealers self-service access to information. Before implementing ReportMart, our dealer relations staff had to request a hard copy of the dealer's statement in order to field a dealer's telephone inquiry. Once the hard-copy report was retrieved, the rep would then have to return a phone call to the dealer. This often meant delays of up to four hours. With ReportMart, the response time to our dealers is greatly improved. When a dealer calls in, the dealer relations rep can access the specific dealer statements in the ReportMart from their browser, make decisions and answer questions on the fly, enabling the dealers to make their decisions in a more timely manner as well. We can also send duplicate copies to the dealer directly from ReportMart via fax or e-mail, further streamlining the process.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Because of its graphical nature, ReportMart's installation and administration have been straightforward and time-efficient for CAC's IT staff. The end-user browser interface is highly intuitive, so our users find it easy to navigate and run reports. ReportMart's ability to hyperlink to interrelated reports makes it easy for users to find relevant information. CAC intends to expand the system to accommodate not only internal users but our network of dealers, so ReportMart's scalability is important.

STRENGTHS: ReportMart's Web-based portal functionality offers important advantages for our users and IT staff. Where IT support was once required to provide users with decision support information, now our non-technical personnel are more self-sufficient because everything they are authorized to see is accessible and ready to consume. This means our IT team spends much less time training users and fielding special requests. Strong scalability and performance enable delivery of real-time information across the company.

WEAKNESSES: The naming conventions for reports were confusing. SQRIBE has indicated that in ReportMart 2.0 they will incorporate an enhanced version control feature that will make naming and filing reports easier.

SELECTION CRITERIA: CAC is a long-time customer of SQRIBE Technologies using its SQR Enterprise Reporting Server. We were extremely happy with SQR's ability for report writing and needed a way to deliver reports to end users via the Web. After looking extensively at other reporting solutions, ReportMart was the logical choice because of its openness, ease of use, browser-based functionality and interactive reporting capabilities. ReportMart's ability to integrate seamlessly with CAC's enterprise computing platforms and database environments was also important to CAC because it allowed us to leverage our existing IT investment.

DELIVERABLES: ReportMart gives CAC easy, instant, secure access to all of our reports. Our most critical reports have been created in SQR ­ such as detailed segments of the dealer statements on collections, receivables, advances and status of different loans ­ all of which can be accessed using ReportMart. This gives our users decision-making power that they did not have before.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CAC has experienced very rapid response from experienced and professional personnel at SQRIBE Technologies. SQRIBE has gone above typical support by bringing innovative functionality to the table. SQRIBE recently upgraded our version of ReportMart, which went very smoothly. When problems did arise, SQRIBE was on hand to fix them quickly and efficiently.

DOCUMENTATION: Overall, SQRIBE's documentation is very complete. The installation manual is especially helpful, giving step-by-step instructions on how to install the product and its components.

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