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Answerthink Announces Major Enhancements To Best Practices Implementation Tools and Knowledge Repository.

MIAMI -- Answerthink, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANSR):

--Improvements Enable Clients to Better Integrate Hackett-Certified(SM) Practices, Enhance Business Performance, Speed Implementations and Increase ROI Of Enterprise Transformation and Technology Initiatives

Answerthink, Inc. (NASDAQ:ANSR) today announced the completion of major enhancements to its Best Practices Implementation (BPI) knowledge repository. BPI is a comprehensive toolset designed to enhance business performance and return on investment (ROI) from enterprise-wide transformation initiatives by integrating best practices and performance metrics from The Hackett Group, a business process advisory firm.

Answerthink is a leading business and technology consulting firm that enables companies to achieve world-class business performance. The BPI knowledge repository contains ERP software configuration guides, best practice process flows, detailed best practice descriptions and other tools and content that enable Answerthink to directly correlate proven best practices, derived from the world's most successful companies, to configuration decisions in the implementation of leading applications from Lawson, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and others. In addition, BPI details the benefits, implementation risks, and key technology enablers associated with the adoption of individual best practices.

The BPI enhancements expand its scope of Hackett-Certified(SM) Practices in finance, IT, HR, procurement, and other key operations areas. End-to-end process designs have been added in procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, and planning and performance management. The flexibility of BPI has significantly increased, with a new data structure that enables more sophisticated searches, including searches keyed to specific Hackett process taxonomy elements, best practice themes, and the applicability of best practices to specific industries. Finally, BPI has been redesigned to enable extending access of certain content directly to clients.

The Hackett Group is a world leader in best practice research, benchmarking, and advisory services that empower executives to achieve world-class enterprise performance. Hackett offers analysis and insight backed by metrics derived from 3,300 benchmark studies over 13 years by almost 2,000 of the world's leading companies, including 93% of the Dow Jones Industrials.

Since it was formally launched in early 2003, BPI has proven its value with clients. Answerthink estimates that BPI has reduced overall implementation time, and helped clients generate significantly greater value from their enterprise transformation and technology initiatives. Executives from major Answerthink clients, including The Williams Company, have said they clearly see the value BPI has offered their company, and applaud Answerthink's continued efforts to expand the knowledge repository.

Hackett's research clearly shows that companies which achieve world-class performance levels in key operational areas see a broad array of benefits tied to improved efficiency and effectiveness. For example, in finance, world-class organizations spend 31 percent less than typical companies and operate with about half the staff, while closing their books more quickly each month and reaping significant gains through reductions in areas such as effective tax rates and days sales outstanding. In IT, Hackett's research shows that world-class organizations execute projects on time, on budget, and to specification 34 percent more often than typical companies, while spending less and operating with fewer staff.

According to Answerthink President, CTO, and Senior Hackett Fellow Allan Frank, "Over the past two years we've helped hundreds of clients drive towards world-class performance using our BPI Tools and knowledge repository. We've shown that with BPI we can help companies cut the implementation time and make smarter design decisions in their enterprise technology initiatives, enabling higher levels of ROI more quickly. By using empirical data and proven best practices from The Hackett Group as the foundation of their enterprise transformation and technology initiatives, companies know they're starting with proven strategies and practices that have demonstrated their value at the world's most successful companies. It's exceptionally valuable in a world where ROI from enterprise technology solutions can be exceedingly elusive.

"Our latest enhancements to BPI make it an even more powerful tool for our consulting associates and for our clients," said Mr. Frank. "We've invested thousands of hours of staff time to further expand the best practices in BPI, and provide associates with the knowledge and tools to integrate those best practices as part of their implementation efforts. We've also made BPI much easier to use, and have reconfigured it so that clients will be able to access and learn from it directly. In addition, the focus on key end-to-end processes better enables us to optimize and streamline business activities regardless of how they're split up between different departments or functional organizations."

The Williams Companies CFO Hails Value of BPI

Answerthink's largest and most successful clients have publicly lauded the value of BPI, and the results Answerthink has been able to accomplish through its use supporting their enterprise technology implementations.

At The Williams Companies, a $12.6 billion producer, processor, and transporter of natural gas, Answerthink utilized BPI to dramatically speed up the initial stages of its Oracle implementation. "Answerthink helped us understand the direct correlation between Hackett's benchmark findings and the configuration decisions we were making in Oracle," said Don Chappel, Williams' chief financial officer. "BPI helped us keep a demanding schedule, and move from a go decision to implementation in less than eight months. We believe we cut two months off the configuration design process alone.

"Answerthink has created something valuable in BPI, and the enhancements they've made can only increase that value," said Mr. Chappel.

More Best Practices and Tools, Better Access

As part of the BPI enhancements, Answerthink reviewed, revised, and expanded best practices in 13 process areas. The number of best practices in the knowledge base was increased by almost 30 percent, and more tools are now available within the knowledge repository as well. These application-specific tools, including implementation and configuration guides, current state questionnaires, process flows, and fit/gap requirements matrices, enable Answerthink consultants to link Hackett-Certified(SM) Practices to technology implementation solutions.

The improved process flows contained within BPI focus on end-to-end processes in three key areas -- procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, and planning and performance management. These enable Answerthink consultants to optimize processes despite the fact that responsibility for them crosses functional boundaries within an organization, such as the shared responsibility of procurement and finance for accounts payable.

The structure and search capabilities of the BPI knowledge base have also been enhanced, making it significantly easier to find the best practices that are most relevant to a specific company or client engagement. Best practices can be searched individually using Hackett's comprehensive process taxonomies. Best practices and tools can also be identified by industry applicability and by their relevancy to one or more of 13 themes such as alignment to strategy, quality improvements, managing risk, and increasing customer satisfaction. Finally, an external mode has been added to BPI, enabling client direct access to large portions of the knowledge base so that they can explore best practices that might be most relevant to their organization.

About Answerthink

Answerthink, Inc.,, is a leading business and technology consulting firm that enables companies to achieve world-class business performance. By leveraging the comprehensive database of The Hackett Group, Answerthink's business and technology solutions help clients significantly improve performance and maximize returns on technology investments. Answerthink's capabilities include benchmarking, business transformation, business applications, business intelligence, and offshore application development and support. Founded in 1997, Answerthink has offices throughout the United States and in Europe and India.

Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward looking statements. Factors that impact such forward looking statements include the ability of the Company to attract additional business, changes in expectations regarding the information technology industry, the ability of the Company to attract skilled employees, possible changes in collections of accounts receivable, risks of competition, price and margin trends, changes in general economic conditions and interest rates as well as other risks detailed in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 8, 2005
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