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Dr. Martens / Comshare

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World-renowned distributor of famous patented air-cushioned sole shoes chooses Comshare to manage its planning, budgeting, reporting and analysis needs

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Comshare, Incorporated (Nasdaq: CSRE) announced today that privately owned, Oregon-based Dr. Martens Airwair USA LLC has chosen web-based Comshare(R) software for management planning and control (MPC). The U.S. arm of parent company R. Griggs Group Ltd. in the United Kingdom distributes world-famous Dr. Martens patented air- cushioned sole shoes in North, Central and South America. The company is implementing web-architected Comshare MPC(TM) software to integrate Dr. Martens' planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting and analysis functions into a single application, using a centralized Microsoft SQL Server database. The Comshare application will allow Dr. Martens' management team to be more proactive, make more informed decisions, and better manage the company's growth. To be implemented in stages, Comshare MPC will be available to all users via the web and grow to include the company's geographically diverse distribution sites. "The Comshare system has helped our budgeting and forecasting process immensely," says Martin Buckley, controller, who is responsible for management reports for Dr. Martens' senior management team and the parent company. In addition, he handles budgeting and forecasting for all departments and divisions, while also managing the company's exchange rate risk. "We're constantly looking at ways to make the company better and more efficient," says Buckley. "Comshare has helped us get information to managers on a more timely and efficient basis. It has improved our reporting process and has enabled us to spend more time analyzing rather than rekeying. Using the product's built-in analysis capabilities, we have set goals for how we should be handling our information for the foreseeable future."

The Challenge For years, Dr. Martens used a combination of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and its JBA enterprise resource planning (ERP) and general ledger systems to handle budgeting, forecasting and reporting requirements. "We were completely Excel-driven," remembers Buckley, "and our ERP system's reporting capabilities didn't meet our needs. The old methods were completely inflexible and left us unable to do ad hoc analysis. It was impossible to look at a trend over three or four years because we had to pull up four or five different spreadsheets. We tried to link them all and, if we forgot something along the way, we ended up getting misleading information," admits Buckley. "We were growing so quickly by divisions, departments and people that we just needed a solution that could help us handle all of that growth."

The Solution After a rigorous selection process, the solution for Dr. Martens was Comshare. "The Finance and Administration team put together a comprehensive list of our needs, then looked at different companies we thought could satisfy those needs. Candidates included Hyperion, Oracle, Adaytum, SRC and Comshare. The company we chose needed to be professional and interested in building a partnership with us. At the end of our search, we chose Comshare," reports Buckley. "Comshare is a progressive company and a leader in the business. It's definitely on the cutting edge of business planning and management software." Comshare easily met the requirements put forth by Dr. Martens' finance team. "The new system had to be Euro-compliant and capable of handling multiple currencies. It had to be robust, allowing us to slice-and-dice information as we needed it -- and it had to be ready to go on the web. Finally, we wanted a company that was progressing rather than regressing. We felt Comshare met our needs in all of these different areas," reports Buckley. "We felt that we meant something to Comshare, and that was important to us," affirms Buckley.

The Benefits When asked about the major business benefits of the system, Buckley is quick to respond. "I would say a number of things -- more accurate information, quicker turnaround, the ability to analyze the information and to see the relationship of many years of information all at once, a reduced budgeting cycle and a budgeting process that is more participatory, to name a few. And, with Comshare, we've eliminated the majority of our reporting problems. That makes everybody happy here," confirms Buckley. "Having all the data in a single database has enabled us to get at information we hadn't been able to in the past. We export data out of our ERP system and after some data cleansing, it is loaded into the database and we're ready to go," attests Buckley. The fact that Comshare software runs on mainstream database technologies has also made a difference for Dr. Martens. "We use Microsoft SQL Server with our Comshare application because it was the most efficient and cost-effective solution available, compared to some of the other options that were out there. And it has worked very well," says Buckley. "With the new Comshare system, we have eliminated those problems that come when you enter things manually -- the time consumption and the proneness to error," says Buckley. "It's definitely given us what we need and it has the capabilities to give us what we're going to need." And Comshare's professionalism and business acumen have continued to play a significant role in Dr. Marten's decision. "Our Comshare consultant has been superb. He has a great finance background and knew very quickly what we were looking for -- that has definitely helped," comments Buckley. Buckley envisions changes that the new system will bring to decision- making at Dr. Martens. "We budget once a year, after many versions, and we reforecast three times a year. We may be increasing the number of times we reforecast so that we have a better idea of cash flow and our business needs, rather than waiting every quarter -- and again, Comshare can help us do that." Buckley also praises the system's web architecture and what that will mean at Dr. Martens. "We try to open the budgeting process up to participation as much as possible and that's one of the reasons we've initiated going on the web -- to get managers more involved, more in tune and more accountable for their financial information. Going on the web gives the Finance department, and eventually all users, time to analyze rather than collect information and that's exactly where I want to take the information users of Dr. Martens," declares Buckley. "Our goal is to get relevant information to the right users -- Comshare is going to help us reach that goal."

About Comshare Comshare, Incorporated is the leading provider of e-business software applications for management planning and control (MPC), which integrates planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial consolidation, management reporting and analysis. Comshare's applications deliver business-critical information over the web that can be used to make sound planning and management decisions. In business for 35 years, Comshare is one of the top independent software companies, with customers around the world, many of which are Fortune 500 and Financial Times Top 1000 companies. Comshare is a Microsoft Gold Certified Software Partner, Microsoft Data Warehousing Alliance Platinum Partner, an IBM Business Partner, an Oracle Business Alliance Partner, and a Hyperion Alliance Partner. For more information on Comshare, call 1-800-922-7979, send e-mail to info@comshare.com or visit Comshare's web site at http://www.comshare.com .

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