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Walker tool crunches numbers

Walker Interactive Systems has debuted a new analytic and reporting package intended to make data analysis easier.

    Walker Interactive Systems has debuted a new analytic and reporting package that will turn chief financial officers into financial analysts, the company claims.

    The new Walker OLAP Reporting and Analysis product, or OLAP R&A, integrates with most multi-dimensional OLAP databases, and allows end users to generate and drill-down into financial reports.

    Traditionally, company executives explained, reporting and analysis packages were not geared towards financial reporting and thereby force customers to generate "home-grown" reports using only Microsoft Excel. This approach is time-consuming and lacks integrity due to the potential for human error.

    By using both Excel and a financial datamart, OLAP Reporting and Analysis allows users to analyze specific data they need to make business decisions. In addition, OLAP R&A manages the storage and delivery of reports and allows the reusability of report layouts.

    Walker's OLAP R&A application offers two approaches for analyzing financial reports. The first enables users to drill-down on cells within a report to access the underlying data. The second approach allows users to link reports that share related content.

    For example, a budget report might be linked to others that identify supporting data, such as budgeted dollars by product, region or program. Both approaches empower end users and allow finance to focus more on data analysis, not data preparation, the company argues.

    "Senior executives using this tool will be more empowered," said Jeff McAhern. "It gives them the tool to design reports without the help of," the IT department.

    Walker's OLAP R&A package is a combination of a financial reporting application and an OLAP-based database. It is Web-enabled and helps users generate and analyze reports; administrators to maintain users; and report designers to create reports, over the Internet.

    As the Web becomes the central engine for companies to manage business performance, a consistent presentation and navigation layer for data access and financial reporting is essential, said Henry Morris, an analyst with International Data Corporation.

    "The success financial analysis relies on the ability to map certain processes and to distribute reports to many people." Walker's new tool does this, Morris said.

    He also said Walkers value proposition is to be able to provide a suite of all compatible analytic applications.

    The Walker OLAP and R&A is part of a larger analytic suite that includes applications for planning and forecasting and financial consolidation.

    The OLAP and R&A application is priced at $25,000 and is now shipping, the company said.