REVIEWER: Dilip Patel, director BI Systems and Information Management, Time/Warner Retail Sales and Marketing (T/WR).

BACKGROUND: T/WR is the largest publisher-owned magazine retail marketer and distribution services company in the industry. The company was formed in 2005 with the merger of Time Distribution Services and Warner Publisher Services. T/WR handles all aspects of sales and marketing in the U.S. and Canada for more than 400 magazine brands. In addition to managing all of Time Inc.’s titles (including People, Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune), T/WR is also the sales, marketing and distribution partner for several leading wholesalers, retailers and publishers. The company generates more than $1 billion annually.

PLATFORMS: Intel Xeon - 2 CPU 3.40GHz 4GB RAM. Windows 2000 Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: T/WR needed a predictive analytics and reporting solution that would help us strike a balance between printing too many and printing too few of our 400 magazine titles for 120,000 stores. In addition, we needed to find a way to accurately predict how many of each of our magazine titles should be sent to each store. With Insightful’s S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server as our predictive analytics and reporting solution, we have been successful at accurately predicting the right amount. This alone has saved T/WR $3.5 million annually in distribution costs. All of the data, analytics and reporting that we have integrated into our business intelligence (BI) portal has provided us with a significant competitive advantage and new business opportunities. The magazine organizations are turning to T/WR for the information we are harvesting from their data. We are now able to help magazine management and their advertisers better understand readers’ profiles and demographics. Magazines outside of T/WR seeking T/WR as a national distribution partner have increased due to T/WR’s BI portal. The number of outside publishers partnering with T/WR for distribution has grown to nearly 40 percent of our business.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: T/WR’s Information Management department has applied S-PLUS Server’s advanced analytics to deliver in-depth analysis of market and customer (store) data. S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server allows us to deploy custom analytics and their results to business users through our established BI portal, providing more timely information and freeing up valuable time for the analysis and IT teams. Analysts familiar with S-PLUS can now integrate and publish their analytics on our company’s BI portal, improving the quality of information sharing both enterprise-wide and throughout the distribution chain. T/WR’s client publishers can directly access the T/WR BI portal and retrieve analytics that assist them in analyzing the performance of their magazine business.

STRENGTHS: The ability to quickly deploy advanced analytics across T/WR and also to our client publishers through our BI portal is the biggest strength of the product for us. With S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server, we are able to easily provide predictive analytic results where and when needed. We were also able to seamlessly integrate S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server with multiple technologies, including an Oracle data warehouse, Oracle Discover, Cognos and Microsoft Office, in order to create our BI portal. Another strength of S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server is its ability to scale to our largest data sets.

WEAKNESSES: The main weakness we encountered with S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server was integrating with another security architecture unless we used the build-in.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Insightful S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server was selected because it was the most cost-effective and easiest to jump-start development and deployment. It has great flexibility, including custom Web interfaces and output generation. S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server has the best graphical output of the solutions we considered.

DELIVERABLES: S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server produces reports, maps, advance models and quality control charts for quality assurance reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Insightful provided excellent product support. Their tech support was knowledgeable and always available. We were also able to get help from Insightful’s product development team in case tech support was not able to quickly solve some issues.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was detailed. It allowed us to actually install and get another environment up and running quickly, and provided good samples to create Web-based reports.

S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server
Insightful Corporation
1700 Westlake Avenue North
Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98109-3044
(206) 283-8802
http://www.insightful.com/

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