BACKGROUND: Wachovia Corporation is a leading interstate financial services company with dual headquarters in Atlanta and Winston-Salem, N.C., serving the southeastern, national and international markets. Our principal banking subsidiary is Wachovia Bank, N.A. Wachovia Bank has more than 700 offices and 1,300 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

PLATFORMS: MineShare's suite of enterprise business tools including MineShare Architect, Application Server, Navigator and Publisher, run on a Hewlett-Packard UNIX server on Windows NT client at Wachovia Bank.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Wachovia is in the process of implementing a new profitability system using an Oracle RDBMS and a profitability software package. Significant historical data has been captured from legacy systems and loaded into the Oracle database. Various profitability attributions and allocations have been performed that enhance the quality of the data from its raw state. There is a substantial investment in terms of time and money capturing this data and performing the calculations, but we did not have an easy way to drill into that data or perform ad hoc analysis. The tool needed to integrate seamlessly with the Oracle database and profitability system without an extensive effort in terms of time or additional cost. It also was imperative that we be able to implement this tool quickly.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The MineShare suite provides Wachovia the functionality usually found in two or more tools. The tool incorporates an ETL tool, MineShare Architect, with a multidimensional analysis engine for reporting, MineShare Navigator. We use MineShare Architect to extract data from our Oracle database, transform, summarize and load it into MineShare cubes. This process is simplified with a plug-in that reads the data structures of the profitability software, thereby eliminating the need to code custom transforms in SQL or C. This is all performed using the mouse with point and click. The user interface, MineShare Navigator, is wholly integrated into Microsoft Excel. This enables our analysts to use familiar functionality to access the data. When required, they also can drill outside the cubes into the more granular level data found in the Oracle database.

STRENGTHS: MineShare's Excel-based environment and drill-down reporting capabilities are key strengths of the product. The learning curve for users is not steep, which means they can be productive with the system more quickly. MineShare has found a way to incorporate its product without diminishing any of the Excel functionality. The ability to drill down to underlying Oracle tables ensures the business view gained by analysts is as expansive or granular as needed. As a result, we're getting industrial-strength analyses using a tool that does not require industrial-strength technical skills.

WEAKNESSES: MineShare's documentation is not as strong as it needs to be, although MineShare's support team is very responsive and has filled in the gaps adequately.

SELECTION CRITERIA: MineShare's Excel-based environment and integration with our profitability software are key benefits to us. We recognized the Excel-based environment would minimize the learning curve and reduce the need to spend time training users. We purchased the profitability software plug-in to MineShare so that we could dramatically reduce the time, effort and expense needed to implement the system initially and maintain it over time.

DELIVERABLES: The MineShare suite has provided the ability to perform ad hoc analysis which allows Wachovia to get a better understanding of our businesses and products. Prior to the implementation of the product, we had captured a substantial amount of data with no good mechanism to view or analyze it. We now have the capabilities to understand specific characteristics about our products. This knowledge should help us make more informed strategic decisions.

VENDOR SUPPORT: MineShare has supported us exactly as we wanted to be supported. We try to be as self supporting as possible and limit the reliance on consultants. During our initial system design and implementation, we had one consultant on site for one week. We also had a trainer on site for one week for technical training within our environment. We also used a consultant for one day to train our end users. We have used the support line to fill in any documentation or training gaps, which has worked more than adequately.

DOCUMENTATION: MineShare's documentation is probably the weakest part of their solution, but the support line is very responsive and fills in the gaps as necessary.

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