REVIEWER: Sandra Smith, head of information systems for Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd.

BACKGROUND: Toshiba Information Systems (UK) Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corp., a global leader in product areas ranging from multimegawatt power stations to the latest in power-saving miniaturized chip technologies. In the UK, Toshiba Information Systems is responsible for home entertainment, mobile phone, telephone system, laptop, server and software products.

PLATFORMS: Oracle and Solaris.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 1999, Toshiba UK Ltd. implemented Oracle10.7 for its home entertainment business and company financials in the UK, Spain and Italy. Two months after the system had gone live, there was no end-user reporting capability and Oracle standard reports offered no valuable management information - providing only access to individual transactions with no summary or overview. A data warehouse had been implemented, which gave managers a general idea of the sales, orders, invoices and deliveries that occurred over the course of the month; however, there was no ability to drill into the detail and relate it back to the transactions. To remedy the problem, Oracle recommended Discoverer with custom views. Toshiba had neither the budget to hire additional developers to create these custom views, nor the time needed to do so. This left Toshiba in a precarious position because management had no visibility to their critical operational data. Further, there was no way to track orders and stock, resulting in cost overruns and frustrated customers.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: In 2003, Toshiba implemented a pan-European Oracle11i rollout for the PC and server businesses. The scope set by Germany did not allow for end-user reporting facilities. However, after a cost-benefit analysis, the company determined that it would cost more than £1.5 million to generate more than 100 reports in Oracle compared with Noetix, which would be less than 10 percent of the cost. The Noetix solution was implemented and, utilizing the cross-operational module, Toshiba was able to get all of the UK inventory organizations in one view, see subsets of those inventory organizations and utilize the existing Discoverer/Citrix setup. Equally important, because Toshiba's employees were able to use their existing Noetix and Discoverer expertise, they did not require further training.

STRENGTHS: NoetixViews is considered one of the key benefits of Toshiba's current European information system. For the first time, end users can easily view data without recourse to the IS department and development backlog. Additionally, super users can quickly develop extracts for their area without the IS department becoming overloaded with requests for further ad hoc reporting. There are approximately 130 Noetix reports in constant use in the organization, as well as numerous others developed to meet ad hoc requirements. Finance month-end reporting is done almost exclusively from a subset of these. Given the Oracle standard for developing a custom report (19 days) and a conservative cost of £650 per day for Oracle Applications contractors, Noetix has saved Toshiba a minimum of £1.6 million in development costs.

WEAKNESSES: In order for the application to recognize customized changes made in the database, a regeneration process needs to be performed. To an IT person, this may seem like an extra step that should be considered in the implementation and ongoing maintenance process, but the alternative is to do the mapping manually, which would require much more time and effort.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Noetix promised a fast and easy implementation and a significant cost savings. The alternative, Oracle Discoverer, was not an option given our budget and time constraints.

DELIVERABLES: Noetix is used primarily for reporting by our home entertainment business and company financials in the UK, Spain and Italy. Reporting is key to business needs, and NoetixViews has been very effective in allowing us to quickly respond to the changing business needs of our organization.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Noetix's consultants and sales representatives were extremely helpful and realistic about what was required in order for the implementation process to be the most successful.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was clear and informative. We now consider ourselves to be experts with the software.

Noetix Corp.
2229 112th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

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