PLATFORMS: VISTA Plus runs HP-UX, Solaris and AIX server platforms with Windows 3.1, 95 and NT clients, or any Java-enabled browser. TCI is using VISTA Plus on an HP-UX server with Windows and Java clients compatible with both PC and Mac users.
BACKGROUND: TCI (Tele-Communications, Inc.), based in Englewood, Colorado, is a leading operator of broadband cable television and telecommunications networks and a provider of diversified programming services.
PROBLEM SOLVED: VISTA Plus was chosen as the end-user tool for TCI's nationwide roll out of Oracle Financials. With VISTA Plus, we can quickly distribute reports electronically from the Oracle Financials applications to locations throughout the United States without inundating the actual production machine or the network.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: VISTA Plus is used to distribute Oracle General Ledger and Oracle Accounts Payable to the field. It is also used to distribute payroll reports from TCI's legacy payroll system. Users can access VISTA Plus using either a PC, running the Windows client, or a Mac, via VISTA Plus' Java client. The Java client adds a feature-rich layer that sits on top of your Web browser, which enables quick searching, printing and downloading capabilities not available with the standard CGI interface accompanied by a browser alone. In addition, VISTA Plus' Oracle Financials module sits on top of the concurrent manager, capturing all designated reports and storing them in VISTA Plus' report warehouse.
STRENGTHS: For TCI, the key strengths of VISTA Plus lie in its ability to store reports separate from the transaction processing applications and provide users with a highly functional report browsing and search engine. Users can get the information they need quickly and easily without manually sifting through endless reports. This not only saves time, but also enables the user to be more productive. In addition, VISTA Plus ensures that network performance is not significantly impacted because it downloads only those pages the user requests.
WEAKNESSES: VISTA Plus currently only allows for the dissemination of ASCII reports. We have been told by Quest that support for additional data streams is planned for future releases.
SELECTION CRITERIA: TCI required an on-line report management and distribution solution that would be compatible with both PC and Mac users. VISTA Plus met this requirement while offering ease of use and a function-rich client for the end user.
DELIVERABLES: VISTA Plus distributes Oracle General Ledger, Oracle Payables and Payroll reports to over 400 TCI sites, allowing users of all skill levels to quickly get the information they need.
VENDOR SUPPORT: As a prerequisite from TCI, Quest Software undertook the development of a stress test application for VISTA Plus' Java client before we would allow the product to go live. Upon completion, Quest Software was a tremendous help with the implementation of VISTA Plus. Since then, Quest Software has been extremely responsive in dealing with issues as they arise.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation proved to be of the highest caliber. However, given the intuitive nature of the application, most users were able to develop their knowledge of the system with minimal reference to the manuals.
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