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  Product News published in DM Direct Newsletter
July 15, 2005 Issue
  By DM Review Editorial Staff

BNSF Railway Boosts Service Planning Efficiency With NuTech Solutions' Intelligent Business Engine

The design managers of BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), one of the largest railroad networks in North America, required service planning functionality with speed and flexibility not found in legacy applications. Partnering with NuTech Solutions to build a system based on one of NuTech's Intelligent Business Engines for Simulation delivered the desired results - fast run-times, what-if scenarios and detailed diagnostics that radically shorten BNSF's design cycle.

"It used to take an overnight run to assess the impact of a proposed service plan change," said Rick Margl, assistant vice president of service performance for BNSF. "Today, using NuTech's Engines, we can simulate the operation of our entire network in just three minutes, ask unlimited 'what-if' questions, and ultimately leverage all our options to provide the service plan that best meets our customers' requirements. Our shippers' product quality will be enhanced as BNSF's service plan becomes more adaptive to ongoing fluctuations in lane mix and network volumes."

With the Simulation Engine supporting BNSF's Carload operation, BNSF and NuTech Solutions continue to collaborate on advanced service planning solutions. Future phases of development include incorporating the Simulation Engine into BNSF's real-time tactical planning application and overall network plan optimization.

DataCore's SANmelody Eases Storage Growth for The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics

The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford was established in 1994 to undertake research into the genetic basis of common diseases. The Wellcome Trust itself is an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. Established in 1936 and with an endowment of around 10 billion, it is the UK's largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research.

"Today, scientific, research-focused organizations like ours are faced with extremely complex storage management tasks," said Tim Bardsley, IT Manager at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. "Our expanding research programs and increasing data are forcing an exponential growth in our data storage requirements, a phenomenon seen across the scientific research industry. Being charity funded, we need to balance our storage capacity needs with a tight control on spending, ensuring that we are able to demonstrate value-for-money purchases to our sponsors. With SANmelody from DataCore Software we have been able to use low cost SATA-IDE type storage and present this to the user community via iSCSi and Fibre Channel."

Fortuna Systems have been working with Wellcome Trust Centre at Oxford for quite some time and have witnessed firsthand the tremendous growth in data. "The benefits of installing and integrating DataCore's SANmelody into the organization will be immediately visible," said Ray Quattromini, Fortuna Managing Director. "The solution is highly scalable, cost-effective and truly open, thus avoiding any vendor lock-ins for the future."

JALCARD, Incorporated Selects MicroStrategy for Customer Reporting and Analysis

JALCARD, Incorporated has deployed the MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platform to enhance service to its approximately 1.35 million customers. JALCARD offers credit cards in conjunction with Visa, MasterCard, JCB and Diners Club. In addition to offering mileage to customers' Japan Airlines Mileage Bank accounts, JALCARD provides value-added offerings such as shopping, insurance and travel services. To provide higher quality service to its customers and gain greater insight into its rapidly changing market, JALCARD plans to improve its information systems infrastructure using MicroStrategy.

With its new business intelligence environment, JALCARD will leverage its vast data assets with a timely reporting and analysis system. JALCARD will use MicroStrategy for customer analysis applications such as customer segmentation, and customer behavioral and purchase analysis, which will enable them to enhance current services and offer targeted new services to customers. The primary factors that led to JALCARD's selection of MicroStrategy were the ability to access all information stored in the data warehouse, an easy-to-use Web interface, and the extensibility of the MicroStrategy platform.

NCPA chooses Fiorano Enterprise Service Bus Platform for its Dual .NET/Java Initiatives

Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) has deployed Fiorano ESB to power their Web services-based energy scheduling solution. NCPA, a joint action agency comprised of 18 cities, rural electric cooperatives, special districts, and other public entities from Redding in the north to Lompoc in the south, helps its members purchase, generate, transmit, and conserve electric power. According to Mark Myers, NCPA's electric power application architect, those jobs have become increasingly difficult.

NCPA's primary business partners have been moving to XML-based Web services as the preferred method for data exchange. However, NCPA had historically used a data-centric client/server model to facilitate data flows with members and outside partners. The agency also wrote many of its own applications using a monolithic approach which did not allow the development and reuse of common libraries. While the agency's new focus on Web-based applications was clearly the right one, the IT management team also knew it needed a business integration platform that could leverage NCPA's well conceived database structure with legacy applications and new applications and services. For this key middleware component, NCPA chose Fiorano ESB.

Fiorano ESB is the first Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) platform that uses standardized interfaces for a full range of data tasks, from communication and transformation to portability and security. Its standards-based Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) allows enterprises to draw on existing business logic residing anywhere within their application environments to quickly assemble efficient solutions for business problems.

Within weeks of its choice, the NCPA development team began installing Fiorano ESB between its Oracle databases and its mix of in-house and off-the-shelf software. The agency started small, employing one or two developers to connect with a few NCPA-built applications, then adding staff and additional applications as it learned.

With the new, ESB-enabled Web services environment taking shape, NCPA begun to realize the benefits of near-real time data exchange; scheduling decisions based on a demand forecast could be coordinated across NCPA network; market dispatch instructions could be received and validated prior to their issuance to generating plants; and data could be sent back in near real-time to NCPA members to help assess their position in the market.

 Atlantic Health Systems to Rev Up Balanced Scorecard with SAS

Administrators at Atlantic Health System, with hospitals in Morristown, Summit and Montclair/Glen Ridge, recently decided to expand their balanced scorecard efforts with an automated system that provides advanced analytic and drill-down capabilities to hundreds of users throughout the organization. They selected SAS Performance Management for Healthcare to provide the technology to fuel their success.

"We are completing a yearlong, all-encompassing strategic planning process that has helped us to sharpen the focus of our balanced scorecard and to deliver the highest level of patient care," said Jack Scharf, vice president of quality and outcomes management for Atlantic Health System. "SAS Performance Management for Healthcare will transform our balanced scorecard into a strategic asset that can help us align every employee with our overall goals, track our key performance indicators and deliver insight into how key measures are related."

Decision-makers at Atlantic Health System selected SAS for a number of reasons. SAS Performance Management for Healthcare provides a scorecard that will automatically refresh key metrics from six different organizational pillars: quality and safety, patient satisfaction, physicians, costs, growth and people. With a simple mouse click, the SAS system allows users to drill down into the data that influences each indicator and to see what trends are contributing to the overall metric. Also, SAS Performance Management for Healthcare allows users to map related goals and strategies in the scorecard and to then apply powerful analytic techniques to test assumptions about the links between them.

"We have been developing and improving our balanced scorecard for the better part of a decade," Scharf said. "As we take the next big step in our evolution by expanding the reach of our scorecards to every one of our 10,000 employees, it is critical for us to employ a system from a well-respected company that provides value. SAS has the resources and reputation to help us increase the benefits we derive from our balanced scorecard system."

The SAS Performance Management for Healthcare solution enables organizational leaders to focus, communicate and collaborate on strategy and then to turn those strategies into action. Executives can implement balanced scorecards, Six Sigma or other quality frameworks to integrate traditional business data, like revenues and profits, with intangible measures such as the satisfaction of their patients, employees and physicians. SAS allows decision makers to communicate and measure, at an enterprise level, the degree of strategic alignment and the progress toward desired outcomes.

Canada's Top Business School Analyzes Alumni Giving Using ASA's Predictive Modeling Software

ASA's academic alliance partner, The Richard Ivey School of Business, at the University of Western Ontario tackled real issues using ModelMAX and some of the school's very brightest minds. No, not Ivey's very talented and seasoned academic faculty, but MBA candidates instead. Students were challenged with figuring out innovative ways to help the school with their alumni giving programs.

The Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario offers full-time undergraduate (HBA) and graduate degree programs (MBA and PhD), and executive MBA programs in addition to non-degree programs in Entrepreneurship and Executive Development. The Richard Ivey School of Business is consistently ranked as one of the best business schools in Canada and around the world attracting students for the honors undergraduate business program, MBA and executive education. The school's mission is to develop business leaders who think globally, act strategically and contribute to the societies within which they operate.

Professor Kersi Antia's class "Managing Your Customers" was in high demand this year. Over 90 students opted for a spot in one of two sections offered. "The course was very hands-on and the topic was of great interest to these up and coming business leaders" said Professor Antia. "The overall objective of this course was to help students make strategic decisions based on sound, data-based knowledge of the customer. We were very pleased to work with ASA on this initiative. ASA's staff and ModelMAX software proved to be key components in putting this course together. The reception from students interacting with ModelMAX was encouraging," said Antia.

"This was the first time Ivey had really analyzed their alumni giving database using predictive analytics. It was amazing. I had 17 teams of students cranking away on laptops using ModelMAX with the alumni data. The ideas they came up with are pretty insightful and some of these ideas could have a significant impact on the school as we consider future changes to our giving programs," said Antia.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Analytics, Business Intelligence, Metrics/KPI/BSC and Storage.

This piece has been brought to you by the DM Review Editorial staff.

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