REVIEWER: Gary Hannon, IT manager, Jordan Kitts Music.
BACKGROUND: Jordan Kitt's Music is a piano retailer. Since 1912, it has served more than a 250,000 satisfied customers and represents the world's finest piano manufacturers in major markets that include Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta.
PLATFORMS: In the recent past, Jordan Kitt's Music migrated its legacy database into SQL Server, storing several million rows of data. One of the motives for the change was to support better executive management reporting. The SiSense Prism solution runs on a desktop computer.
PROBLEM SOLVED: At Jordan Kitt's Music, IT is responsible for the creation and delivery of executive-level reporting and dashboards. The company used reporting tools, but the result was numerous detailed reports that ran overnight. Executive management needed something better. A "classical" business intelligence solution required the purchase and setup of numerous modules, transforming and moving the data around. It also meant an upfront investment of $25,000. Given the current economic climate, it was decided to put the project on hold. Enter SiSense Prism. Its desktop-based BI solution connects directly to SQL Server, creating a live dashboard over the data. Setup freed the company from the back-end work required to run other solutions. The easy creation of dashboards is comparable to other solutions; the key to success was the ability to set up a BI practice with no programming, scripting or numerous back-end modules.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SiSense Prism provides BI software for visualization, analysis, dashboarding and reporting. SiSense lets us perform complex analytics without building a middle tier for the data, so no scripting, programming or IT efforts are required. The application connects to the data source and allows the users to define each of its components as a measure or dimension. Once this is defined, the application creates a dimensional model on the fly, freeing us from the need to create an OLAP. Additional measures can be calculated in multidimensional formulas. The application supports visualization, definition of reports and the ability to share the data by using a viewing function. Reports are interactive, and viewers can sum and filter the data in the report.
STRENGTHS: One main strength is the solutionss value for the money: We pay $110 monthly. There is no backend work since the product connects to SQL directly. We also have the ability to see all data, live, and to serve executive dashboards without a full-scale deployment.
WEAKNESSES: The product had some rough spots, mostly learning-curve issues around connecting existing data sets to Prism gadgets. In addition, we'd like to see the product working on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile platforms, so that executives can view dashboards on the go using mobile devices.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We chose the solution based on the ease of implementation and the fact that it leveraged the original SQL Server investment.
DELIVERABLES: The key deliverable is a main dashboard that provides a daily snapshot of KPIs.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We receive 24 to 48 hour technical support via email. SiSense techs are knowledgeable about the product.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is available online and via PDF download.
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