REVIEWER: Lisa Fulle, vice president and controller of central accounting services at WorldTravel BTI.
BACKGROUND: WorldTravel BTI, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the largest and most progressive travel management firms in the United States. With more than 4,500 employees across the country and 43 affiliate agencies in the United States, the company supports more than $3.8 billion in annual sales for Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies. WorldTravel BTI provides cost-saving, innovative travel management solutions tailored to our clients' local and global travel needs. WorldTravel BTI's global services include traditional and online corporate travel services, group travel management, meetings and incentives and leisure services for corporate travelers, as well as consulting and corporate fulfillment services. Founded in 1987 and known for its vision, value and commitment to excellence, WorldTravel BTI has sustained a 43 percent compounded growth rate since its inception.
PLATFORMS: We run Datawatch|ES 4.0 on a Compaq ProLiant Server with a 2388 MHz Intel Pentium 4 Processor, and Windows 2000 Server with SP3. The Compaq Server has 2.6GB of RAM and 18GB of storage.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Initially, we wanted to stop printing copies of the millions of flight tickets that we are required to save each year for record keeping by the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), which mandates that we save every ticket copy for two years. We also wanted to be able to distribute business reports to our 1,400 remote branches across the country. The Datawatch|ES enterprise reporting system enables us to electronically save and reproduce the travel agency copy of the flight tickets produced by all four travel reservation and ticketing systems (Sabre, Galileo, Worldspan and Amedeus) without printing each one, addressing a physical storage issue. In addition, Datawatch|ES makes it easy for us to run scheduled reports and automatically share them electronically with our branches. Each branch now receives the customized accounting and transaction reports they require to effectively manage the accounting for our ticket sales. Datawatch|ES is our report processing, archiving, Web distribution and data analysis application.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Because we draw data from a number of data sources, run calculated fields and continually reformat reports, we start by using Datawatch's Monarch Data Pump Server Edition to address our "pre-reporting" requirements and then schedule hourly, daily, weekly and monthly electronic reporting. Using Datawatch|ES, we can then present various reports on internal Web sites to be downloaded to Excel and other applications our users prefer. We also conduct a lot of data analysis using the Datawatch|ES Cube function to quickly identify and address errors caused by agent data entry and scripting tool anomalies. This Cube functionality presents data visually and provides a quick look at what causes specific errors. Without the Cubes, this would be quite time-consuming as we'd have to view seven or eight spreadsheets for the same information in a single Cube. In the future, we're anticipating using more of the new v4.0 functions to further improve travel reservation error identification and analysis.
STRENGTHS: Datawatch|ES strengths include its overall data mining functionality, browser access to Excel reports and integration with Monarch Data Pump for the extensive report reformatting we require. In addition, it's clear from the Datawatch User Conferences and the Datawatch|ES 4.0 upgrade that the company listens to what customers want and then delivers those wants in its software.
WEAKNESSES: For automated, high-end reporting environments in which reports don't always break right, Monarch Data Pump is required to fully leverage Datawatch|ES. Also, we'd look forward to Datawatch|ES being able to read even more COLD image files, including PDFs.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We'd been using Datawatch's Monarch desktop reporting application for years, and in October of 2000 decided we'd benefit further if we adopted an enterprise-wide reporting system to better coordinate sharing and centralize storage of report data nationwide. Datawatch|ES matched the RFP criteria we developed for the system we required. The major advantages of Datawatch|ES are that it gathers data by capturing print files and can be deployed with a minimal investment.
DELIVERABLES: Datawatch|ES deliverables include scheduled, customized reports for all of our branches and divisional headquarters, and millions of electronic agent coupons.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Because of the complexity of the travel industry IT, initial deployment was a bigger project than we'd first anticipated; but Datawatch support was excellent throughout the implementation and has continued to be excellent.
DOCUMENTATION: We rarely have to go to the documentation to run Datawatch|ES; but when we do, we either get what we need from the Help function, or from Datawatch tech support.
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