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Analytic Software Improves Quality of Service to Drive Customer Satisfaction and Sales

  Product Review published in DM Review Magazine
May 2002 Issue
  By Sashi Murthy
Insightful Corporation
Review of: StatServer from Insightful Corporation

CATEGORY: Analytic Applications

REVIEWER: Sashi Murthy, manager of failure analysis for Cymer, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Today, more than ever, semiconductor manufacturers depend on suppliers to provide enabling technology to meet the exacting specifications and manufacturing requirements for volume semiconductor chip production. Cymer, Inc., the world's leading supplier of excimer light sources used in semiconductor manufacturing, uses Insightful's flexible, powerful analytic tool, StatServer.

PLATFORMS: StatServer runs on Windows NT Server.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Every day Cymer engineers collect terabytes of data about product performance from more than 100 customer sites around the world. In a high- volume manufacturing environment, product failures can cost millions of dollars. Analysts review failure information to optimize product development and in-field performance. The company needed analytic technology to enhance product performance, thereby improving customer satisfaction and ultimately sales. Insightful's StatServer technology provided Cymer with a powerful, flexible, Web-based solution that could be integrated into its existing infrastructure. With StatServer, decision-makers access professional real-time performance reports created by Cymer's team using a simple Web interface. With Insightful's solution, Cymer's team has been able to accelerate analysis and reporting from weeks to minutes. Valuable business intelligence affecting product development and performance provides Cymer with a significant competitive advantage in a rapidly changing marketplace. Cymer's sales, marketing, finance, engineers, scientists and field service personnel can access this information easily from their desktops using a Web browser. Insightful's analytic solution has enabled the delivery of precise information to decision-makers across the organization who need information to make important product development and deployment decisions.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: StatServer has been a very useful tool and has provided precise and timely information for effective decision making. The product is reliable and offers high-performance analytics to easily identify patterns, trends and relationships in data. Although Cymer is in the early stages of deploying StatServer, it will become an important tool for developing new products and improving on-site performance. With StatServer, analytics can be programmed and deployed enterprise-wide to ensure "best practices" are followed globally from quality-control processing to product development.

STRENGTHS: StatServer allows quick implementation of complex analytics and graphics using simple Web pages. StatServer offers power and flexibility using S-PLUS, world-class data analysis software, for better, faster analytics. StatServer allows users to extract data from most standard databases. The combination of data extraction capabilities and server-based computing allows Cymer to provide consolidated analysis and reporting globally. Graphlets are a powerful addition to Web-based information systems, which will help Cymer decision-makers visualize and gain additional information easily.

WEAKNESSES: StatServer can require technical expertise to effectively and efficiently use the product, and the help/documentation provided could be improved.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Cymer was searching for a software tool that offered flexibility, powerful graphics, statistical analytics and could produce real- time Web-based reports. Cymer also needed to be able to access data from a range of sources such as Oracle databases and Excel spreadsheets.

DELIVERABLES: Currently, Cymer can review key performance metrics including: lifetimes of core modules within the laser; the number and percentage of failures of a product under warranty; diagnostic data on the lasers working in the field; and manufacturing test yield results. Insightful's Web-based analytic solution provides a significant return on investment by reducing the time required to provide key decision- makers with the information they need. Because StatServer also enables Cymer to obtain better information more quickly, the company can respond to customer needs more quickly, thereby achieving a competitive advantage.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor has been very supportive. We have always had a quick and thorough response to any queries. Insightful has provided several on-site demonstrations and a training session for our staff to ensure successful implementation of the product.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation could be improved. It is fairly complete, but it is not always easy to understand. However, there are various external publications that are very helpful in learning S-PLUS.


Check out DMReview.com's resource portals for additional related content, white papers, books and other resources.

Sashi Murthy, manager of failure analysis for Cymer, Inc.

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