The software we received for this test was a pre-release of version 8, but initial observations tell us that any tweaks before the final version will probably be very minor ones.
New in this version are terminology changes to make the software more user-friendly, console enhancements and integration with Crystal Reports. This will allow templates generated by the program to be used by the full version of Crystal Reports.
The main objective of the application is to analyze data garnered from other sources to pinpoint trends and other activity, notably fraudulent practices and inefficient usage of inventory, and error tracking. The data extracted from source is not manipulated or altered in any way, just analyzed to show a clearer picture of what is happening in the enterprise.
Installation was uncomplicated, requiring only an install of an XML runtime before the main application. The hardware requirements are pretty light so the product really flew when we started it up for the first time.
As this was a pre-release no manuals were provided although normally they would be. However, this version, like previous ones, requires a dongle to be fitted to the parallel port of the machine the software would reside on.
On firing up the console the screen is split into two main parts. On the left hand side resides the project navigator. Facing that is the display area where the package shows output, graphs and data views. Data can be taken from a variety of sources and one thing that sets it apart from the others in the test is the ability to extract data from IBM S/390 mainframes.
The software allows network administrators to pinpoint areas worth further investigation, screening out data to uncover problem areas. It does this by using Benford's Law to look for anomalous numbers and possible fraud. An example of this is to look for any unit hardware costs that are less than zero. We could quickly filter out these irregularities to inspect.
This provides an excellent tool of those who wish to make sure of the validity of data acquired from different sources. However we are unconvinced by claims that a novice user could produce useful analysis and reports. We believe that this is a powerful weapon in the hands of those who know what to do with it and all the features it possesses.