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Strategic Financial Performance Management for Leading Storage Provider

  • May 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

CATEGORY: Business Intelligence

REVIEWER: Chago Santiago, senior director of global applications for Quantum Information Technology.

BACKGROUND: Quantum Corp., founded in 1980, is a global leader in storage, delivering highly reliable backup, archive and recovery solutions that meet demanding requirements for data integrity and availability with superior price performance. Quantum has been one of the pioneers in the emerging market of disk-based backup, offering solutions that emulate a tape library and are optimized for data protection.

PLATFORMS: Running Oracle Database on Sun Solaris and HP-UX machines.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Quantum selected DecisionPoint to provide a financial performance management infrastructure that would give management and employees access to timely, accurate and reliable financial information to meet reporting and management needs. Not only were we looking to cut costs and more strategically manage the business for the future, we also wanted to ensure financial operational continuity by preserving historical data from multiple ERP systems. In approximately 90 days, Quantum implemented DecisionPoint's prebuilt, finance-centric data warehouse, supporting all of Quantum's financial data from numerous sources, including Oracle10.7, Oracle11i, a CRM system and a retired, homegrown ERP system.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DecisionPoint's Financial Performance Management suite spans both business and technical users, with more than 50 people creating accurate, timely Oracle Discoverer reports daily from the financial data stored in the DecisionPoint Warehouse. The suite also enables our business users to close their books on a quarterly basis. Additionally, management can view current cash reserves at any point in time, which helps them manage the business more strategically. From a technical perspective, we administer the financial data warehouse with a staff of three people, as compared to a data warehousing staff of nine prior to DecisionPoint's implementation.

STRENGTHS: DecisionPoint's Financial Perfor-mance Management suite brings key financial and performance strengths to the table. Financial reporting is now based on more timely, accurate data, easing the reporting process. Our auditors have verified the quality of the financial metrics post-implementation. From a management perspective, the product provides drill-down capabilities, enabling management to quickly research anomalies at the transaction level and respond more quickly to business changes. Additionally, the products allow for quicker integration and reporting of financial information from acquired businesses at a lower cost. From a technology perspective, Quantum was able to mitigate reporting risk while successfully upgrading to Oracle11i, an IT project which came in under budget and on time. Because the products also allow for archival of historical data, we have been able to reduce IT system costs via retirement of old ERP systems.

WEAKNESSES: The only weakness involved minor issues with the meta data, which were resolved in less than a week. Other than that, there were no major weaknesses with the product.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We required that the solution "pre-source" data from Oracle Applications to ensure quick and easy implementation for faster time to value. The solution needed to be flexible and extensible so that the solution could grow with us as our reporting and business needs evolve. We evaluated DecisionPoint, Oracle EDW, Kalido and Informatica in addition to building a financial data warehouse in house. We chose DecisionPoint because it was the only solution, aside from Oracle EDW, that could pre-source data directly from Oracle Applications - for the right price. Additionally, both the tools to build new analytic domains as the business evolves and the ability to pre-source data quickly and easily from new systems were key factors in the purchase.

DELIVERABLES: The key result of this product is the creation and existence of a financial data warehouse which acts as a central repository for all financial data at Quantum.

VENDOR SUPPORT: DecisionPoint provided excellent support, both pre- and post-implementation. The best part about working with DecisionPoint was that expectations were consistently met and exceeded. We received one week of training on site and were productive immediately. However, it took approximately two months to build true proficiency with the system.

DOCUMENTATION: Overall, the documentation was adequate. For instance, the ERD relationship diagrams were detailed and easily understandable. However, the documentation regarding setup/installation and actually running the software suite would have been difficult to use without on-site assistance from DecisionPoint.

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