REVIEWER: Tony Strano, manager of data architecture for Towers Perrin Administration Solutions.

BACKGROUND: Towers Perrin, one of the world's largest management, human resource consulting and outsourcing firms, helps organizations manage their investment in people to achieve measurable performance improvements. Towers focuses on human resource strategy, service delivery, benefit and compensation design and implementation, employee and organizational communication, HR technology and outsourced benefit administration.

PLATFORMS: The data warehouse resides on two Sun 6500 8-way, 8GB RAM, 64-bit UNIX servers connected to an EMC Symmetrix Storage Area Network. The database is Oracle8.1.7 64-bit. The mid-tier servers housing the portal application are Compaq 6500 2-way 2GB.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Large companies turn to outside experts like Towers Perrin for help in administering their retirement and healthcare programs. Towers Perrin recognized the need to provide its administration clients with robust, self- service access to critical data and information. They knew their existing reporting tool requiring clients to install a plug-in on their computers in order to view reports was unacceptable. The Brio Performance Suite solution was designed to enhance client satisfaction and provide competitive differentiation, reduce costs and empower internal client teams to more easily meet client information requests.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The solution has exceeded all expectations. Selected, developed and implemented in less than four months, Brio is delivering the results Towers Perrin and its clients expect. More than 25 percent of Towers Perrin's clients are now using the Brio solution to access their own employee benefit data via the Web. During the next 12 to 18 months, Towers Perrin has additional goals, all of which are easily attainable with the Brio Performance Suite. First, the firm will customize information delivery based on a user's role within his or her organization. Second, it will create and publish Web-based operational dashboards that highlight vital operating metrics. Finally, it will enable clients to perform true ad hoc analyses of their data ­ a fee-based service that will generate additional revenue for Towers Perrin.

STRENGTHS: Brio Performance Suite's ease of use is a critical strength. The ability to rapidly deliver personalized content via Brio Portal is the cornerstone of the solution. Brio's unmatched security allows for secure delivery of highly confidential HR data. Scalability is critical to the Towers Perrin team as it continues to add clients to the system.

WEAKNESSES: Although Brio Reports Builder has a GUI interface applicable for typical reporting needs, the most complex reports require developers to edit Brio Report Builder code or write their own SQR.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After working with an unsatisfactory reporting solution, Towers Perrin knew what product functionality was required for success. Brio Performance Suite was the only product that met our four key requirements. The product runs from a standard Web browser, thus no installation was required. Brio Performance Suite also provided secure delivery of information across organizational and geographic boundaries. The product is easy to use and intuitive to users with a broad range of technical abilities. It is also scalable to meet client needs over time, attract business from future clients and offer additional services.

DELIVERABLES: The Brio Solution empowers Towers Perrin clients to request a variety of secure, parameter-driven reports containing only their own data via the Web. When a client logs into Brio Portal, they are presented with their "Personal Page" with links to reports containing a combination of current, historical, tabular and graphical data. Reports in four key areas ­ scorecard, service center activity, benefit administration and survey results ­ are instantly run and results delivered in HTML, CSV or PDF.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Brio Software Expert Services was instrumental in developing and launching the solution. The Brio team was extremely knowledgeable, easy to work with, quickly provided solutions and trained Towers Perrin's IT team to enhance the solution over time.

DOCUMENTATION: The combination of Brio's intuitive, extremely easy-to-use interface and complete documentation enabled Towers Perrin to get external clients on the Brio solution with a minimum of training and very few help-desk phone calls.

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