REVIEWER: Thomas Zurek, director, BI Analysis Services SAP NetWeaver, SAP AG.

BACKGROUND: SAP is one of the world's leading providers of business software. More than 46,100 customers in more than 120 countries run SAP applications - from distinct solutions addressing the needs of small businesses and midsized companies to suite offerings for global organizations. Powered by the SAP NetWeaver technology platform to drive innovation and enable business change, SAP software helps enterprises of all sizes around the world improve customer relationships, enhance partner collaboration and create efficiencies across their supply chains and business operations.

PLATFORMS: Windows 2000; Windows Server 2003; Windows XP, Windows Vista.

PROBLEM SOLVED: SAP's NetWeaver technology platform works with multivendor applications to deliver powerful, unified business intelligence (BI), enabling our customers to achieve more from their IT investments. Microsoft's Office System is pervasive in BI for analyzing, sharing and managing information. Excel 2007 has made significant enhancements over previous versions and includes new functionality dependent on Microsoft's latest MDX language changes - referred to by many as MDX 2005. However, the last MDX specification was published in 1999 and doesn't include the changes found in MDX 2005. Given the popularity of Microsoft Excel for BI, we knew that changes would need to be made to SAP NetWeaver's MDX Engine to accommodate Excel 2007 so that our customers could continue to use this tool. Simba is the only company outside of Microsoft to understand the server side MDX 2005 compliant technologies.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Simba's SimbaProvider SDK framework is MDX 2005 compliant. With Simba's MDX expertise, we were able to enhance SAP NetWeaver's MDX to enable seamless integration with Excel. Specifically, Excel 2007 supports enhanced filtering abilities for Pivot Tables via advanced MDX "subqueries" and the ability to convert a Pivot Table into a spreadsheet via special MDX queries, as well as introduces new functions to retrieve cube data directly into a spreadsheet cell.

STRENGTHS: Simba has a close relationship with Microsoft. The SimbaProvider framework enables wide interoperability with popular standards-based data products utilizing MDX, including native connectivity with the latest BI tools like SAP Business Objects Voyager and Microsoft Excel 2007 Pivot Tables. Working with Simba on our MDX connectivity freed us from the very difficult task of learning and integrating the MDX 2005 enhancements ourselves. Furthermore, Simba's commitment to enhancing the product provides the utmost compatibility with the latest products, protecting us against future data standard advances.

WEAKNESSES: Simba currently only offers the framework on Windows. However, we understand that Simba is currently working to port the MDX engine to non-Windows platforms.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Simba's MDX knowledge is remarkable. Simba is the only company in the world that has a licensable MDX engine that is purpose-built for integration with another company's product. Simba's business is licensing technology to companies like SAP, it doesn't develop or sell a product that competes with us. Furthermore, Simba's close relationship with Microsoft gives it deep insight into MDX.

DELIVERABLES: Simba's technology enhanced SAP NetWeaver's existing MDX technology, enabling native connectivity with the latest applications that use MDX 2005. Our customers can now sort their data using advanced filters, convert Pivot Tables into spreadsheets, as well as load cube data directly into a spreadsheet cell.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Simba's engineers assisted in integrating the MDX technology into our product. Simba has also proven its commitment to enhancing the product by extending interoperability to even more industry products. Simba has proven very reliable when addressing issues regarding incompatibility, MDX standard changes and product enhancements by offering 24x7 support and ongoing maintenance. Microsoft releases a new version of Excel every couple of years; with Simba, we're confident that we're protected for the future.

SimbaProvider SDK
Simba Technologies Inc.
938 West 8th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1E5
(604) 633-0008

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