CATEGORY: Data Quality

REVIEWER: Kyle Neier, senior systems analyst for Kenra LLC.

BACKGROUND: Kenra, LLC is an Indianapolis-based hair care manufacturer that develops products for thousands of professional salons across the country. Kenra provides ongoing communication with salons and support for their business needs through strong consumer marketing, a regional sales team, customer service and an education/partnership program. As a result of such efforts, Kenra is recognized as one of the top five growing brands in the hair salon industry.

PLATFORMS: Windows NT 4.0 / Windows 2000 running Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In developing our products, we gather a tremendous amount of data on consumers and salons nationwide and rely on that data to stay informed of the ever-changing needs of customers. Kenra stores the data on Microsoft SQL Server databases and has used BMC Software's SQL-Programmer to access, move and manipulate data stored on its SQL Server databases for the past two years. We use SQL-Programmer to write stored procedures for making customer programs for production and use SQL-Programmer to run Visual Basic applications through stored procedures. Kenra also relies on its Web site to gather information on potential customers. Customers may log on to our Web site, complete their profiles and receive free samples of hair care products. Using SQL-Programmer to help write stored procedures and access data from the Web site, we have been able to reach 75,000 individual customers.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SQL-Programmer is an integrated development environment that assists database application developers with the construction and maintenance of server-side SQL code such as stored procedures, functions, triggers and packages for Oracle, Microsoft and Sybase servers. SQL-Programmer facilitates the creation and editing of SQL code with drag-and-drop capabilities, and allows editing and testing of code while protecting the original source code and database. It generates comprehensive reports of the database server environment, including progress of design changes and impact analyses. We store all of our data on Microsoft SQL Server databases; and SQL- Programmer enables us to access, move and manipulate the data. We use SQL- Programmer to write stored procedures, debug those stored procedures and move objects back and forth between databases.

STRENGTHS: SQL- Programmer has saved our programmers time and increased their productivity. You can tell it's written by programmers, for programmers. There's enough help provided, and it's intuitive enough so that you can determine what to do. There's nothing you don't need. More important than allowing programmers to access and move data, SQL-Programmer enables us to ensure the quality of our data. Gathering high-quality data ensures that Kenra knows its customers, its salons and their business needs.

WEAKNESSES: The printing capabilities are not very customizable.

SELECTION CRITERIA: SQL- Programmer completely eclipses other SQL debuggers. It has been around the longest and is reasonably priced. The tremendously helpful evaluation support was also a determining factor.

DELIVERABLES: SQL-Programmer doesn't really "output" anything for us. We have used it to print table descriptions, and we print out our stored procedures when we are really stumped and require a hard copy for review.

VENDOR SUPPORT: During the evaluation period support was very good. Since then, it takes about two hours to get response via e-mail after a problem has been raised ­ which is relatively quick in support hours.

DOCUMENTATION: The online documentation is very helpful. I have never needed to look at the actual bound documentation.

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