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CASE STUDY - Simon & Schuster Accelerates System Performance and Empowers Reporting Users

Commentary by Paul Zanis, Director of Corporate Data Architecture, Simon & Schuster

When Simon & Schuster brought its reporting problems to HyperRoll, the company wasn’t expecting the problems to be solved overnight... but they never imagined they would be resolved within in a matter of days.

“We were very surprised with howfast the HyperRoll solution was up andrunning,” said Paul Zanis, director ofcorporate data architecture at Simon &Schuster. “The entire system was readyto go after a couple of weeks, and theBusiness Objects implementation tookless than a day.”

In a short time, HyperRoll hadhelped Simon & Schuster resolve twolong-standing business problems, reducingits query response times and enablingthe company to integrate data from bothhistorical and operational sources.

Solving a CriticalBusiness Problem

Simon & Schuster, a global leader inthe field of general interest publishing,is using Business Objects, as well as thecompany’s own Microsoft .NET portal,to access and analyze data. With theneed for information at an all-time highfrom its nearly 1,000 reporting users,Simon & Schuster found that burgeoningdata volumes and the demand forincreasingly detailed reports had slowedsystem performance dramatically.

For example, sales representativesrunning basic sales and inventory reportsfrequently had to wait an hour or morefor a report to run. Reps found thatthey were planning their day around thereports—sometimes even asking internaldata analysts to run reports and e-mailthem the results. Simon & Schusterneeded a way to accelerate system performanceand empower its reportingusers to get the information they neededwithout IT support.

Simon & Schuster was also anxious to better leverage the wide range of information stored not only in their data warehouse, but also in their many transactional systems. The company wanted to be able to integrate operational data with historical information from the data warehouse to help the company make better-informed operational decisions. For example, if the company had a book on back order, they needed a system that would alert the right decision makers to the problem and help them quickly prioritize customer allotments based on customer value and profitability metrics.

The most important benefit we’ve seen fromusing HyperRoll is that our sales people cannow get the data they need, right when theyneed it. Faster access to information has trulyhad a significant impact on our business.
Paul Zanis, Simon & Schuster

The HyperRoll Solution

Simon & Schuster selected HyperRollto reduce its query response times andallow the company to use data fromboth historical and operational sourcesin its analyses. By using HyperRollin conjunction with its existing reportingsolutions, Simon & Schuster nowhas lightning-fast access to large datavolumes and is able to perform operationalanalysis as critical businessevents are happening. For example, thesales report that had taken more than anhour to complete is now returned in justfive seconds.

HyperRoll’s ability to access data straight from source systems has also enabled Simon & Schuster to pull data from other systems that would have been hard to access on a regular basis by business users, enabling knowledge workers to use a broader set of metrics and enjoy deeper analytic functionality.

“Using HyperRoll, we can do thingslike analyze how quickly we’re fulfillingorders, and whether that time period istoo long, or even too fast, depending onthe customer requirement,” Zanis said.“This kind of analysis depends on beingable to see transaction-level data fromthe warehouse, which is greatly facilitatedby HyperRoll.”

The HyperRoll solution is also transparentto end users. For Business Objectsusers, the HyperRoll cube looks merelylike another available “universe” of data.For .NET users, HyperRoll appears as aflat table. In both cases, end users neededno training to begin taking advantageof the technology as soon as it wasdeployed. They continued to use theirexisting reporting solutions... but withgreatly accelerated results.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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