BACKGROUND: Schering-Plough is a research-based company engaged in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products worldwide.
PLATFORMS: SAS/Warehouse Administrator runs on Windows 95 through a Novell network.
PROBLEM SOLVED: SAS/Warehouse Administrator allowed us to manage and process a large number of interrelated source-code programs that had to be run in certain sequences. Then we were able to produce Web-enabled output in the form and structure of a physical report that we submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. Through a standard Web browser, reviewers could navigate through hyperlinks to find the necessary information. Before using SAS/Warehouse Administrator, we weren't able to provide the FDA with reports in a Web format. The first submission in the new format brought an immediate and enthusiastic response from the FDA, with the recommendation that all future submissions be done the same way. Response from our in-house reviewers was similar.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We used the capability of SAS/Warehouse Administrator to consolidate output and present it in Web form. Because of the way the product is designed, we could customize the form of the output to our specific needs. The basic capability of SAS/Warehouse Administrator is to create and manage a data warehouse; but, due to scheduling, we didn't take advantage of that part. By focusing on the pieces that were most critical to us the process editor and ability to publish Web-enabled reports we accomplished a goal in two weeks that would have otherwise taken three to four months. Now, we're expanding our use of the product to exploit its full capabilities.
STRENGTHS: SAS/Warehouse Admin-istrator was designed as an integral component to the suite of SAS products that we've been using for a long time. Plus, the FDA has selected technology developed by SAS Institute as a standard for receiving and archiving electronic data that the agency receives from pharmaceutical companies. All electronic data is required to be sent to the FDA in SAS XPORT transport file format.
WEAKNESSES: Due to the sophistication, flexibility and wide range of capabilities of the product, it takes experienced SAS users to develop SAS/Warehouse Administrator and use it to the fullest extent.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We already use SAS extensively, and the Institute has a good track record of usable products and competent and responsive technical support. We chose SAS/Warehouse Administrator because of its total integration of tools data management, process editing and publishing Web-enabled reports.
DELIVERABLES: SAS/Warehouse Administrator produces a data warehouse that includes data and meta data. It also produces Web-enabled reports that facilitate the FDA- review process by presenting a structured repository of programs, data sets, run logs, formatted reports and the interrelationships among them.
VENDOR SUPPORT: One of the reasons we undertook this project was because we wanted the expertise and support provided by SAS Institute, not just the product itself. We developed the first use of this application through a contract with SAS Institute which provided high-quality development help. The Institute provided personnel, project management and technical support from its entire organization. SAS Institute is not only interested in making sure the product works well it is constantly getting input to improve and enhance the product, too.
DOCUMENTATION: SAS/Warehouse Administrator provides good, interactive, context-sensitive help which is also available in hard copy. Since we are familiar with SAS products, it was easy to run SAS/Warehouse Administrator with the documentation provided.
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