Insight ‘at a glance’

Decision support company Comshare has developed a set of visual aidstegic management. and ready-made business queries to provide what it calls ‘guided analysis’ for large financial databases.

Drawing on its experience helping #100m+ corporations manage huge volumes of data, Comshare designed a fish-eye viewer plus role-specific question-and-answer templates for version 2.1 of its Commander Decision system.

The module is one element within Comshare’s larger system architecture that extracts financial, sales and other key data into a multidimensional database. The Decision program is designed to give line managers access to relevant financial information from their desktop machines.

The OverView interface presents data to the user as a ‘hyperbolic tree’, with user-defined colour codes to indicate trouble spots and high points.

They can pick up tags and move them around the screen to zoom in on areas of particular interest.

The software can be set up to deliver alerts to users according to their concerns. The first guided analysis elements include four or five pre-defined roles, for which the company has created a set of standard enquiries. The software agent used to create these managerial ‘workdesks’ is available for users to create and customise their own analytical queries.

Comshare Decision is compatible with a wide variety of source databases and rides on top of data warehouses based on Oracle Express, Arbor Essbase and Applix TM1.

‘These databases create a lot of information and complicated hierarchies can bury little weakspots,’ said Comshare marketing director Brian Hartlen.

‘Decision looks for variances in the data to lead you to the problem areas.’

He said that in addition to providing three-dimensional visual tools, software agents and guided analysis, Decision could be accessed by managers using World Wide Web browser software.

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