PLATFORMS: Commander FDC and Commander EIS run on Windows 95, Windows NT or Windows 3.1. Commander Decision runs on Windows 95 or Windows NT.

BACKGROUND: Welch Allyn is a 2,000-employee international medical products business based in Skaneateles, New York. For 92 years, Welch Allyn has been supplying hand-held medical diagnostic instruments to physician offices, hospitals and medical schools worldwide.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Welch Allyn had numerous financial systems and Lotus spreadsheets for data collection and reporting. As a result of growth, acquisitions and expansion into international markets, Welch Allyn needed a new financial system that could handle its monthly consolidation and closing process, accommodate currency conversions and speed up month-end closings. Also, a new process was needed for information access and analysis. Prior to installing Comshare's software, managers had to request information from the financial staff, who in turn would search several databases, then send the results back to the managers via e-mail, creating a time delay. Upon receipt, managers still needed to perform their own analysis. Welch Allyn managers needed direct access to worldwide financial and sales information, with the ability to analyze that information. Comshare's Commander FDC and Commander EIS provided the answer.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Commander FDC and Commander EIS provided the necessary functionality to meet Welch Allyn's needs. The company purchased the applications to streamline the consolidation process and provide a company-wide system for financial analysis. Welch Allyn then purchased Commander Decision, Comshare's performance measurement application, to expand and enhance Welch Allyn's analysis and data mining capabilities. Using Comshare's software is paying off through an improved ability to strategically analyze data, quickly provide information to the company and perform monthly closings.

STRENGTHS: Comshare's easy-to-learn software 71and the flexible graphical user interface make the applications very user friendly. Data integration of the various systems into a single multidimensional database increases the amount of information available to Welch Allyn managers for use in reporting and analysis. Finally, the cleanliness and accuracy of information is insured through the powerful server architecture.

WEAKNESSES: Documentation, in some cases, is weak. Also, the current version of Commander FDC is not completely 32-bit.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Welch Allyn chose Comshare's applications because they offered the best analytical tools. Commander FDC had all the capabilities necessary to develop the financial consolidation and reporting it needed. Decision and Commander EIS enabled Welch Allyn to perform the multidimensional performance analysis by customer and region. Finally, Comshare's worldwide support allowed for quicker assistance in Welch Allyn's overseas offices.

DELIVERABLES: Welch Allyn is extremely pleased with the reporting that the Comshare system provides. In addition, the applications have provided an improvement in their ability to strategically analyze data and provide access to company-wide information.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Comshare provides continuous wordwide support. Comshare goes the extra mile by providing customer forums to discuss new ideas, air issues and provide input into the development process.

DOCUMENTATION: The technical documentation is useful, but best used as a reference tool if it is in conjunction with a training course taken before the application design phase.

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