CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: Darren Kennedy, IT administrator for RIMEX.

BACKGROUND: RIMEX Supply Ltd. is a custom manufacturer of all wheels and rims for mining, forestry and industrial equipment, specializing in haul trucks and loaders, some of which require tires that are more than six feet tall. With more than 25 years in the industry and more than 30 years of experience, RIMEX designs and manufactures longer-life wheels and custom applications to keep even the most difficult vehicles moving. RIMEX headquarters are in Surrey, British Columbia, with additional offices throughout Canada, the United States, Australia, South America, Asia and South Africa.

PLATFORMS: We run Datawatch Monarch Pro, along with Monarch Data Pump Server Edition, on a 1200 MHz Pentium III Touch Server. The server is running Windows 2000 with SP4, 1.5GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Monarch makes it much easier to do custom reporting and data analysis from our MAPICS (formerly FrontStep) SyteLine ERP system and Progress database, which produce "all or nothing" canned reports with rows of information and multiple fields of data. Monarch Pro enables us to transform these existing reports into the customized data we need, formatted as we like, without programming. It also enables reporting from our multisite environment with dual databases; now we can create a single report with data from multiple sites. Another issue addressed by Monarch is that we previously would print three or four different order action reports each morning and manually extract the data we needed –­ a time- intensive process. We now use Monarch and Monarch Data Pump to automatically produce one report with exactly the information we need. Monarch and Monarch Data Pump automatically extract, transform, move and load our data, quickly and easily. Finally, Monarch allows end users to easily mine and analyze the data from SyteLine reports on their own. As a result, this reduces requests to the IT department for custom data queries and analysis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We rely heavily on Monarch's reporting and analytics functionality. The benefits are much better analysis models for the SyteLine system and reports customized for each department. For example, we now produce the specialized financial statements required by our accounting department. Additionally, we recently conducted our first electronic inventory valuation using Monarch. Another great feature is that Monarch can easily access our primary reports and data source ­– SyteLine ­– quickly, without making technical changes to the system, reports or data there.

STRENGTHS: Monarch's main strengths are its data mining power and its ability to access a lot of data and extract only what we want. Together with Monarch Data Pump, we can automatically deliver updated, customized reports every morning. This is a tremendous advance over our old method that required manually running multiple reports, laboriously extracting the relevant data and combining that data into a single report.

WEAKNESSES: Until recently, we had to use our own workaround for one particular Monarch weakness: We couldn't link more than two reports at one time. However, the new Monarch v7 Pro now allows us to link as many as nine reports at a time.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Monarch's major advantages are low deployment and maintenance costs, customized reporting and ability to do multisite reporting. Because Monarch's primary data source is the reports already available from our SyteLine system, implementing Monarch did not require any changes to our existing IT infrastructure. The other products we looked at were much more expensive and complex, and they did not provide as much functionality.

DELIVERABLES: The first deliverable is our daily order action report that is ready for the manufacturing department each morning. Likewise, we produce a multisite sales report each morning for the sales department. Also, several times each year, we'll produce a complete inventory evaluation, outputted to Excel for the accountants.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support is excellent, and I especially enjoyed the optional Monarch training session, presented by Datawatch's in-house training team. The best part of Datawatch support is the annual user conference where we met other users, traded ideas and met face-to-face with Datawatch developers and executives. They really listened to customers and quickly addressed any issues.

DOCUMENTATION: We initially set up Monarch in approximately 15 minutes without referring to the documentation and have since found the online Datawatch Forums to be a great complement to the documentation. In fact, I visit the Monarch Forum a few times each week for new ideas and tips.

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