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  Product News published in DM Direct Newsletter
February 4, 2005 Issue
 
  By DMReview.com Web Editorial Staff

Arcadia Group Ltd Standardizes on Information Builders' WebFOCUS

The UK's largest clothing retailer is standardizing its enterprise business intelligence (BI) reporting activities on Information Builders' flagship WebFOCUS software. Arcadia Group Ltd (Arcadia) selected WebFOCUS as a complete, integrated and cost-efficient solution for its seven brands, which include TopShop and Burton Menswear

With Information Builders' WebFOCUS and the UK Professional Services Group, Arcadia migrated one of its existing brand reporting applications in just 60 days. The business information warehouse delivers performance information to all Arcadia's brands and the store user community, using Arcadia's existing IBM iSeries platform and the IBM WebSphere Application Server.

Arcadia's systems division sought a new enterprise reporting and analysis solution to meet the increasing user needs. Arcadia's Information Systems Director Gareth Hill explains: "Information Builders' WebFOCUS provides the most integrated, functional and complete solution in our IT environment at a cost significantly below its competitors."

Information Builders' WebFOCUS ' enterprise BI framework satisfies Arcadia's reporting requirements including JD Edwards general ledger reporting. Arcadia aims for further migration to web-based reporting and analysis using WebFOCUS.

Information Builders' EMEA vice president, Dennis Allan adds: "As a major, multidivisional company with multiple applications, Arcadia exemplifies the real cost-efficiencies of a smart IT strategy and effective enterprise BI. Arcadia's choice of Information Builders' WebFOCUS as its corporate standard is a great accolade and a testament to our dedication to delivering maximum operational efficiency at the lowest possible cost."

CA's AllFusion Solutions Help Erie Insurance Achieve and Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Erie Insurance Group, a multiline insurance company offering auto, home, commercial and life insurance, is using CA's AllFusion Harvest Change Manager and AllFusion Endevor Change Manager to help achieve and maintain regulatory compliance by automating the collection and analysis of information from multiple platforms across the enterprise.

The AllFusion-driven information helps Erie address regulatory issues such as information privacy and security, process control management, and the auditing of changes to its IT systems. The CA solutions also help protect Erie Insurance against unauthorized and/or non-compliant modifications to both the company's internally developed systems and the various commercial applications it uses, such as PeopleSoft.

"Without a formalized change management process in place, we lacked the necessary audit trail to ensure that changes in our critical business systems were appropriately approved and executed," said John Sommerwerck, chief information officer at Erie Insurance Group. "With CA's AllFusion life cycle management solutions, we can now effectively define and enforce change management processes, maintain the integrity of the data in our system, and reduce the risk of regulatory non-compliance - as well as other adverse consequences of inappropriate system modification."

Erie Insurance has reaped additional benefits from its implementation of AllFusion Harvest Change Manager and AllFusion Endevor Change Manager, including improved efficiency of development teams, reduced change-related errors, accelerated time-to-benefit and reduced costs.

By spanning mainframe and distributed platforms, AllFusion Harvest Change Manager and AllFusion Endevor Change Manager provide Erie Insurance with a common "snapshot" of its entire software development environment and enable the company to fully standardize processes across the enterprise.

SANsymphony Allows Storage Arrays to Cost-Effectively Mirror Data to Backup Sites Using an IP Network

Daegu City, the third largest city in Korea with a population of more than 2.5 million citizens, has installed DataCore's SANsymphony to manage and consolidate its storage network of Hitachi and Samsung storage arrays.

Daegu City, driven by new government regulations, needed to quickly implement a storage-based disaster recovery solution. However, they soon found that their existing storage arrays did not offer common storage services, such as point-in-time snapshot copies and remote IP mirroring, that would work with dissimilar types of storage from different vendors. Each existing vendor actually proposed a swap-out approach so that all storage would be the same to avoid the interoperability issues involved. While this solution would benefit the winning vendor, this was not what Daegu wanted. Not only would it add substantial cost to buy new storage arrays, it would add a great deal of time and disruption to replace the existing systems already in place. Daegu City decided there must be a better way to get the job done while maintaining the use of their existing storage investment. After researching the marketplace, they turned to DataCore's SANsymphony.

"As a direct result of SANsymphony, I now have in place a storage networking architecture with the flexibility to employ different models of Hitachi storage and Samsung disk arrays and make them all coexist and work together, " stated IT manager, Hea-Chan Park. "With DataCore we got the 'best of both worlds', we maximized our existing investment, and we achieved an affordable IP-based network solution."

Daegu's main computing center hosts a large number of SUN and Intel-based servers to run city government and public service applications. Prior to DataCore, the city used a number of directly attached storage arrays, which limited the IT department's ability to meet the growing data requirements. Therefore, Daegu's IT manager Hea-Chan Park knew it was time to deploy a storage network to better consolidate and manage storage resources and add the necessary flexibility to expand and meet future requirements. The challenge was obvious: find a way to maximize the use of existing storage investments, network them all together, and add the capability to do remote site disaster recovery of data. Due to cost concerns, the city also needed a low cost approach that leveraged existing IP networking infrastructure. Beyond cost and investment protection, a major objective was to reliably protect the city's data storage by mirroring critical operational data to a dissimilar storage array at the disaster backup site located over 20 kilometers away.

"Bottom line, DataCore offloaded storage management and disaster recovery off my back. Instead of spending all my time focused on interoperability and data protection, I am now concentrating the bulk of my efforts on the important applications that make our city services run smoothly," continued Park.

Amdocs Selects HandySoft's SOXA Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance

Amdocs Limited, a leading provider of billing and CRM software and services for true integrated customer management, has selected HandySoft's SOXA Accelerator as its technology solution for Sarbanes-Oxley reporting compliance. As a European domiciled company whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange , Amdocs is required to comply with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 by the end of September 2005. Amdocs joins a growing list of Asian, Canadian, European and U.S. companies that are using the SOXA Accelerator as a central component within their process to become Sarbanes-Oxley compliant.

Delivered through HandySoft's partner BICONIX International, HandySoft's SOXA Accelerator will assist Amdocs in establishing the rigorous internal controls, monitoring, assessment and reporting procedures that are required by the Act, while minimizing the cost of compliance. Implemented across Amdocs' global operations, HandySoft's SOXA Accelerator went live at the end of 2004.

"As an international firm with a U.S. listing, we are subject to NYSE regulations and specifically, the 2005 Sarbanes-Oxley deadline. Technology is indispensable in implementing effective controls and procedures to become fully compliant," said Thomas O'Brien, vice president of Finance and Investor Relations for Amdocs. "We reviewed various compliance software solutions on the market, assessing functionality, user friendliness and ease of implementation, and HandySoft's market-proven solution - combined with our confidence in BICONIX - made the SOXA Accelerator the clear choice for helping Amdocs to meet regulatory requirements and foster shareholder, employee and customer confidence."

Group Health Cooperative Maintains Fiscal Fitness with Hyperion

Group Health Cooperative, the second largest consumer-governed health care organization in the United States, has purchased Hyperion Essbase, Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Analyzer to create and distribute management reports and to implement a budgeting solution.

Hyperion's software will pull data from Group Health Cooperative's Lawson ERP system. The solution will be used by between 800 and 1,000 managers, analysts and executives in a number of functional areas, including finance, human resources, delivery system management, IT, marketing and sales. Initial steps of the implementation will focus on the creation and distribution of management reports, including detailed expense and revenue reporting. Following that rollout, Group Health will begin building templates and forms for the planning process for the 2006 budget cycle.

"Hyperion's Business Intelligence software will allow us to deploy graphical, interactive analysis applications for the delivery of custom reports while Hyperion Planning will enable us to centrally manage the planning process," said Tiffany Hudson, manager of business systems and reporting at Group Health Cooperative.

Founded in 1947, Group Health is a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that coordinates care and coverage. Group Health encompasses medical and specialty centers, hospitals, a nationally recognized research center and a charitable foundation.

Retailers Cutting Inventory Shrink with SPSS Predictive Analytics Software

Major retailers are harnessing SPSS predictive analytics software to reduce inventory shrinkage through stocking, placement and monitoring of those retail items most likely to disappear. Retail shrinkage - a reduction in inventory primarily due to shoplifting and employee theft - spikes dramatically during the Christmas season.

While retail shrinkage has shown a long-term decline, it still remains a huge problem: recent figures from the University of Florida's National Retail Security Survey peg shrinkage at more than $34 billion per year.

Chase-Pitkin Home & Garden, which operates 15 home improvement stores in upstate New York, is using SPSS predictive analytics storewide as a backbone for a corporate-wide inventory information system that analyzes data to uncover and predict trends so as to make quicker, more strategic decisions.

Chase-Pitkin first implemented SPSS technology in its tools and power tools department, which represents over 10,000 items. Chase-Pitkin has been able to identify the top 16 items that represent 50 percent of the chain's inventory shrinkage. By focusing on these 16 items, including monitoring them by store cameras, Chase-Pitkin managers were able to determine that shoplifters smuggled these particular items.

They have since developed policies and procedures to prevent such theft and also now inventory these items on a weekly basis. "By using SPSS predictive analytics, we're able to reduce the disappearance of certain high-value items by more than 50 percent, and slash overall shrink by two-tenths of a percent," said T. Christopher Dorsey, Chase-Pitkin's CIO and controller. "This represents a significant savings from a small implementation. SPSS software paid for itself in just a year, and based upon the success achieved with this first deployment, we decided to implement SPSS predictive analytics storewide and foresee similar type opportunities."

With retailers counting on part-time seasonal help during the holiday season, inventory reduction poses a daunting problem for retailers and consumers alike. Experts believe that the average family spent $400 more last year than it should have to cover the costs of stolen merchandise.

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For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Analytic Applications, Business Intelligence, Compliance and High Availability/Disaster Recovery.

This piece has been brought to you by the DMReview.com Web Editorial staff.

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