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 ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Extending its leadership position in the worldwide market for executive information systems, Comshare (NASDAQ: CSRE) today introduced a full-featured client-server version of Commander EIS optimized for large user populations running on PC networks.
 The new LAN-based version of the popular Comshare Commander EIS is a complete executive information system that combines the flexibility and responsiveness of Windows-based desktops with the power, control and security of server-based software. Commander EIS LAN collects data from multiple sources dispersed throughout an organization and delivers it to executives and other decision makers. It features all the capabilities that application developers and information providers need to collect, organize and distribute data and applications customized to their particular end users' needs. It also enables end users to perform "point-and-click" analysis, modeling, forecasting and reporting of information critical to making well-informed, financial and management decisions.
 Commander EIS LAN also breaks new ground for the business intelligence systems market with a pre-packaged, step-by-step computer- directed process for determining an organization's application need, developing the application, integrating it with other applications, and deploying it to a geographically and organizationally dispersed universe of users. "Comshare was elevated to market leader in EIS because customers recognized that we had a complete EIS," said Richard L. Crandall, president and chief executive officer of Comshare. "We didn't just provide an easy-to-use graphical user interface. We backed it up with robust capabilities to access and prepare a corporation's data, no matter what shape it might be in, for management's use. Commander EIS has, from the beginning, used PCs as the desktop, but some of our powerful data preparation and application management facilities required a mainframe. Now with Commander EIS LAN, all the functionality that made Comshare the world leader in executive information systems is available as a LAN offering."
 Applications Optimized For Enterprise Networks
 Commander EIS LAN is the industry's most comprehensive client-server EIS application, providing corporations with the flexibility, security and control of applications running on their enterprise-wide networks through first-in-the-industry technical advances.
 Access to Databases Throughout the Enterprise
 Commander EIS LAN provides virtually unlimited connectivity to data sources, including industry standard relational databases, spreadsheets and legacy systems. These include, but are not limited to, Sybase, Oracle, Ingres, dBASE, and SQL Server. Data connectivity in Commander EIS LAN was expanded by incorporating Q+E Database Editor and Q+E Database Library from Q+E Software.
 Building A Management Information Database
 Successful EISs require a management information database. Commander EIS LAN provides the capability to build both relational and multidimensional management information databases by using a rich set of over 200 high-level processes. It can act on input data to collect, cleanse, join, sum and rotate, and then output the data to be stored as relational tables for queries, multidimensional data sets for analysis and reporting, or report formats. Relational, multidimensional and report format data representations are all critical elements of a complete EIS that has information shaped to be usable by managers.
 According to Howard Dresner, program director for OIS at Gartner Group, a market research firm that studies business intelligence solutions, "Business Intelligence application tools receive much attention, but the underlying data and its preparation and delivery is more important. This often-neglected dimension of the overall solution holds the key to project success." Crandall added, "Comshare understands this important aspect of EIS and first used the mainframe to develop information integration processes, which we've now delivered as client-server software, to enable our customers to develop and maintain their EIS applications easily."
 Multidimensional Application Processing
 Commander's multidimensional core capabilities form a knowledge database that holds detailed information. Designed for large applications, it gives developers the ability to place real-world size models on a PC platform where business analysts can create sophisticated knowledge bases that underlie profitability and management reporting applications.
 In this release, Comshare has delivered a new version of its multidimensional database. This new version increases useability through a new Windows interface; increases functionality with new features such as integrated views, displays and reports; increases performance by adding the ability to create 32,000 "virtual" views of the data; and increases capacity by increasing model size to 64,000,000 cells.
 The core multidimensional database allows the analyst to reorient the model's axes any possible way for complete flexibility of reporting and analysis. It gives the analyst powerful modeling and analysis capabilities and insures correct calculation through careful handling of formulas.
 Relational data usually needs to be transformed to a multidimensional form in a business intelligence application such as EIS. The ability to put data into multidimensional form is important because it allows users to look at different views -- to look at performance by product, by region, by business unit, and so on. "User server databases will support a mix of relational and multidimensional structures, with multidimensional becoming dominate by 1995," Dresner said at a recent Gartner Group Conference.
 Distribution Management
 Commander EIS LAN's distribution management capability allows the project administrator to sort out who gets what at any specific time. It collects and packages objects (data, reports, programs, displays, etc.) that comprise an application, and then automatically distributes them with full security to all allowed users across the enterprise. It's an administrative facility that is unique among commercial EIS products and is a necessity for any EIS application that operates across departments or that needs to support users even when their laptop computers are not attached to the LAN. Application developers or information providers can extract information from management information databases to download to users' notebooks or other portables while leaving a master file on the server for corporate use. This off loads computing to the local PC, but allows use of the server when users need to see "the big picture."
 In this version, a distribution management Windows interface has been added to increase both ease of use and the productivity of the application developers. Support for wide area networks has been added by using Lotus Notes to replicate objects across servers. This allows organizations to lower the cost of application distribution.
 Information Presentation at The Desktop
 End users have on their Windows desktops the ability to navigate through an application by drilling down, by rotating or "slicing and dicing" through views of data, or by performing ad hoc queries. They can also be alerted when news of interest arrives from the Dow Jones News/Retrieval Service.
 The new release enhances information presentation by taking even more advantage of the Windows environment (DDE, fonts, installation program, sound waves) and by providing seamless links and automatic navigation between multidimensional and relational data sources.
 Application Management
 Application management in Commander EIS is a new concept in global application management. Commander EIS LAN provides a complete infrastructure for supporting the ongoing maintenance of client-server applications. System administrators and EIS coordinators are automatically notified of error conditions, application usage, capacity status and other critical information regarding the performance of the application.
 Built on top of agent technology, it uses either VIM or MAPI based mail systems to alert EIS coordinators of impending or existing problems in their application. Commander also provides a full complement of remote file management features.
 "The key to minimizing the support requirements of a large distributed environment of PCs is to have an automated administration facility," said Brian Hartlen, director of EIS marketing. "But in most PC-based systems, the development of automated administrative functions can require as much investment as developing the end users' applications themselves. In contrast, facilities for receiving early warnings of impending problems and for managing distributed applications without having to go into end users' offices come with Commander and allow the IS staff to easily track application updates, log error conditions, track what information is available to each user and monitor usage. Commander is the only product of its kind that offers IS a pre-packaged solution to support and manage business intelligence application end users."
 Simplified Application Development Process
 Commander EIS LAN includes a starter application that provides a clear, step-by-step computer-directed process for customizing a multidimensional application with data sources, organizational structure and product names, and other specifics that a company may have. Many of the steps call on highly automated routines, so developers only need to fill in the blanks to deliver customized capabilities for their users.
 "Ask anyone how they like to go about performing a new task," said Hartlen. "Most people prefer to look at an existing example -- follow the steps, take it apart and make changes as needed. That's how not only screens are built, but the whole application with Commander EIS LAN."
 "Commander EIS LAN is designed from the ground up to help large organizations cope with the 'downsizing' imperative by providing easy and cost-effective ways to put both technology and information to work," Crandall said. "By combining the industry's best and most powerful business intelligence application functionality with the methodology and tools required for fast development and deployment of applications, Comshare delivers on the full promise of client-server enterprise computing."
 Pricing and Availability
 The Commander EIS LAN package (client and server software) is priced at $75,000 for up to 50 users, and $500 for each additional user.
 Comshare -- The Company
 Comshare is a full-service international software developer specializing in business intelligence applications, such as financial reporting and consolidation, profit management, enterprise budgeting and management reporting, as well as EIS. Comshare is recognized for creating the EIS market, of which it holds 50 percent worldwide according to International Data Corp., a market research firm. Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Ann Arbor, the company has an installed base of more than 2,000 corporations worldwide.
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Commander is a trademark and Comshare is a registered trademark of Comshare, Incorporated. Other brand and product names are the property of their respective owners./
 /CONTACT: (Editors and reporters) Ricia Hughes of Comshare, 313-769-6068, or (for other inquiries), Comshare Marketing, 1-800-922-7979; or Tim Hurley or David Copithorne of Copithorne & Bellows, 617-252-0606, for Comshare/

CO: Comshare Incorporated ST: Michigan IN: CPR SU: PDT

JG -- DE002 -- 1078 09/13/93 07:42 EDT
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Date:Sep 13, 1993

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