Stone, Timber, River Leveraging Excel

Stone, Timber, River LLC: The name sounds like a camping gear mail order company, but in fact it is the name of a business intelligence (BI) vendor.

The company's two products -- Matryx 98 and Matryx Access -- are designed to provide Microsoft Excel-based OLAP solutions to the enterprise.

Matryx 98, an enterprise OLAP product capable of accessing data from any ODBC-compliant database, enables ad hoc data analysis using the Excel front end. Similarly, Matryx Access is an OLAP solution for Microsoft Access users.

Both products leverage Excel, providing users with a familiar interface to work with. "The products run within Excel, they don't just export there," says Derek Debree, president of the company. "It gets the data out of the database using powerful query engines, and drops the data into Excel's Pivot Tables, allowing for analysis."

Since everything is linked to Excel, the toolbar is the same. "This is a true Excel add-in. In the decision support arena, many other vendors require a multistep process to get to Excel," Debree says.

While some may argue that Pivot Table OLAP functionality is rudimentary, Debree says that is only because the tables usually aren't linked to a database. "We link analysis to the query end, extending the power of Pivot Tables by linking to our query engine." Being able to use query engines also allows users to create reports that can be sent to anyone.

Stone, Timber, River ( not only positions its products as Excel-leveraging OLAP tools, but also boasts their speed of implementation and ease-of-use. "Our advantage is time implementation. It's easy to administer and support," says Dwight Debree, company CTO. It is also easy for end users. "We get users up and trained in five minutes. Our selection screen is a drag-and-drop interface. It's in business language, not database language."

The company claims it can have MatryxAccess or Matryx98 installed and running in the enterprise within two to three days. To back up its speed of implementation claim, the company created the Matryx Challenge. The company challenges prospective users to send them a slice of their database, and Stone, Timber, River promises to return a working version of either product within three working days.

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