REVIEWER: Michael C. Hurst, director of IT at American Exteriors, LLC.

BACKGROUND: American Exteriors, LLC is known for providing the highest quality, most energy efficient products in the industry for the past 25 years. As the largest vinyl replacement window and siding company in the Rocky Mountain Region, American Exteriors has received top praise from several governing bodies including Energy Star, Green Seal and Qualified Remodeler.

PLATFORM: We operate Visual Mining NetCharts Performance Dashboard on Windows Server 2008 (virtual machine operating in vSphere).

PROBLEM SOLVED: American Exteriors struggled for several years in providing a tool to provide quick insight into KPIs and the flexibility of assessing current activities against budgets and historical trends. Additionally, multiple versions of reports were creating problems on what data was accurate. Since a report provided a point in time look at the data, managers would have multiple versions of a report when meeting to discuss an issue and would have different data. The dashboard is directly connected to the database and therefore shows consistent data to all.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The tool is providing huge benefit in its infancy. The vision is to get all team members involved in using this as a snapshot to report and gain insight into the organization. Most team members have switched to this solely as their tool to measure company performance. NCPD also provides flexibility of comparing budgets/forecasts to actuals, trending application, historical comparison, visual representation of trends, projections and more.

STRENGTHS: A primary strength is the ability to immediately access the most relevant drivers of the business in real time via Web-based reports.

WEAKNESSES: Customizing the look of the dashboards (line styles, titles, legends, etc.) requires knowledge of the programming script.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected NCPD primarily due to its cost and ease of use for the end user.

DELIVERABLES: NCPD provides Web based reports to the senior leadership team for American Exteriors. The KPIs for each department are tracked against budget. Since the end user can select to view the data by individual date or a rate range, the KPIs can be shown against a point in time or used to show trends.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor is extremely responsive when an issue is brought to their attention. Most issues are addressed within one business day. Additionally, the vendor is very responsive to suggestions for features and improvements to the system and is working with us to develop functions that currently do not exist in the product.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is available both through online and built in Web-based interface. The documentation fully details the main functions and features of the product and is fully searchable by keyword or phrase.

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