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Industry Implementations

  Online News published in DM Direct Newsletter
August 15, 2003 Issue
  By DM Review Editorial Staff

Zurich Financial Services Australia Enhances Service and Reduces Costs with WebFOCUS

Zurich Financial Services Australia, part of the worldwide Zurich Group, is using Information Builders' flagship WebFOCUS software to revolutionize the way it administers and delivers fleet risk management services.

Zurich Financial Services Australia developed a claims-reporting and fleet- analysis tool, named Z Fleet Navigator (ZFN), that gives insurance brokers and their 1,400 fleet-management clients direct, real- time access to complete motor claims histories. ZFN also provides a secure portal through which brokers and their clients can obtain up-to-date claims information, analyze trends and implement risk management strategies.

"Z Fleet Navigator eliminated the need for Zurich staff to spend hours creating reports in response to broker requests," said Corporate National Portfolio Manager Kim Pagotto. "We used to operate a manual system which took staff four hours to extract, print and mail a single report."

Brokers and their clients can access a range of preformatted reports in numerical or graphical format or drill down to more closely investigate issues of interest to their fleet. These reports are part of a comprehensive risk-management service Zurich Financial Services Australia provides to help clients better understand the number and types of claims being made in order to identify any trends that might indicate a need for additional training or changes in policy.

"We chose Information Builders both for its superior technology and the company's proven ability to guarantee delivery," said IS project manager for Z Fleet Navigator Phillip Coleman. "Not only did WebFOCUS offer greater flexibility within our environment, but within a week of being briefed, they had put together an impressive prototype."

Zurich Financial Services Australia's brokers have been quick to embrace the WebFOCUS application. Roger Davey, a senior account executive with Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, said he was very impressed with the new offering. "Z Fleet Navigator enables me to access detailed claims information for my clients via the Internet when I need it," he said. "Moreover, the reports detail this information in a format that allows for meaningful analysis and are of a standard that can be presented directly to clients."

ZFN was implemented over a three-month period by the internal information systems team at Zurich Financial Services Australia and with consulting expertise and training from Information Builders.


U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Rolls Out Cognos to More than 6,000 Users

The United States Coast Guard, a military, maritime service with a mission to protect the nation's ports and waterways, along the coast and on international waters, has implemented a business intelligence (BI) solution from Cognos. More than 6,000 users across 26 air stations in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico will use Cognos to analyze critical logistics data.

Cognos has been implemented to analyze and report on information stored in the Coast Guard Aviation Logistic Management System (ALMIS). Previously, remote Coast Guard personnel could not access data, meaning all requests had to be logged through IT. With Cognos all information is Web-based, making financial reports, procurement and contractor information, air station and depot supplies, and unit maintenance details instantly accessible to authorized personnel.

Using Cognos, the U.S. Coast Guard has also made critical data available via extranet to suppliers, enabling vendors who own parts on aircraft or who maintain their own inventory to log onto a Web portal to manage inventory levels.

"Cognos has enabled us to deliver a single effective and efficient system to manage logistics for our agency," said Carl Webster, DSS project manager, Information Systems Division, U.S. Coast Guard Aircraft Repair and Supply Center. "We've been able to move our flight operations data - including flight itineraries, aircraft status and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance - to the Web, making information available to thousands of users in near real time. The Cognos solution has also dramatically improved visibility into our supply chain, contributing toward $500,000 in cost avoidance in just the first year alone."


Noetix Empowers CTI Molecular Imaging Business Users with Information Access

CTI Molecular Imaging, Inc. is a leading supplier of products and services for positron emission tomography (PET), a diagnostic imaging technology used in the detection and treatment of cancer, neurological disorders and cardiac disease. PET's whole-body imaging capability helps physicians improve their ability to determine the location, extent and stage of cancer, neurological disorders and cardiac disease.

Since 1983, the company has been at the forefront of the innovation and technical advancement of PET. CTI introduced the first commercial high-resolution PET scanner and is responsible for the development of most of the major commercial innovations in PET. In 1992, CTI developed the first whole body imaging capability, and, in 1998, CTI invented the combination PET/CT scanner. Today, CTI is the only manufacturer of scanners with proprietary LSO-based detectors, which reduce the duration of a PET scan by at least 50 percent compared to the prior technology. CTI continues to develop PET products and services that lead to earlier, more accurate diagnosis and improved therapy management.

CTI is expanding the use of Noetix to its corporate manufacturing and service organizations. "With Noetix, our business users are able to get information out of Oracle Applications without involving the IT organization," said Walter Cromer, director of IT Technology and Services. "Noetix delivers more information to our line of business personnel and managers than our team could have ever done alone."

To date, Noetix has handled the majority of the CTI pharmaceuticals unit's report requests, eliminating the time business users had to wait for IT staff to deliver those reports. Because Noetix enables business users to export reports into Microsoft Excel, the pharmaceutical unit's users were able to work with a program familiar to them and take advantage of features and functions they already understood.

In the coming months, CTI will roll out the solution to the company's manufacturing and service organizations to enable users to access information in real time and communicate crucial information to customers.

CTI first approached Noetix at the time the company implemented Oracle 11i in its pharmaceutical subsidiary. The IT department realized it needed an immediate solution to get business data out of Oracle in a timely and flexible manner. Due to rapid company growth, the pressure was on to find an out-of-the-box solution for extracting the data out of Oracle.

"Development resources were scarce, and we needed a way to put report generation into the users' hands," said CTI project manager Troy Staton.

"We chose Noetix because it gave us what we needed - right off the bat. As a result, we were able to redeploy IT resources and focus on mission-critical tasks rather than support user report requests," Cromer said.


Liberty Northwest Selects NetManage to Provide Single Platform for Accessing Legacy Systems

Liberty Northwest, a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Group, has selected NetManage's Web-to-host technology as the company's single host access platform to access corporate and customer data, applications and core business processes housed on mainframes and AS400 systems. This technology initiative has enabled Liberty Northwest to streamline its information technology infrastructure and benefit from increased operating efficiencies and cost-savings, without impacting existing business processes.

"We selected NetManage's Web-to-Host technology because it is easy to use and provides centralized administration, installation and configuration. And for us, it means we experience all the benefits that come with a smaller desktop footprint like reduced operating costs and lower training costs," said Eric J. Peterson, manager of IT Infrastructure for Liberty Northwest. "Deployment is fast, straight-forward and has virtually no impact to our users, which means we can evolve our host access systems to capitalize on efficiencies without disrupting our business."

Liberty Northwest provides property and casualty insurance and workers compensation products to businesses and individuals throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. After acquiring North Pacific Insurance, Liberty Northwest's information technology infrastructure included a combination of mainframes and AS400 systems, and multiple emulation platforms to access these vital host systems. With the merger, Liberty Northwest's IT staff had 1,000 desktops to manage in multiple locations and was tasked with consolidating operations, moving offices, moving data centers and upgrading all desktops to Windows 2000. The company wanted a host access solution that would streamline its technology infrastructure, consolidate multiple emulation platforms and make it easier to adopt newer technologies. In addition, the company required a solution that could be easily deployed without compromising service and support to its business units and its customers, made even more important during this time of merger transition.

Using the RUMBA Web-to-Host technology, Liberty Northwest was able to quickly and easily deploy a browser-based solution so host systems could be accessed via a click of a mouse. Web-based access simplified administration and eliminated the burdensome task of loading desktops with local application functionality. By centralizing to one vendor and one host access methodology to access all host systems, the company was able to eliminate multiple emulation platforms and capitalize on greater efficiencies and cost savings that result from a more streamlined IT infrastructure.

"Web-to-Host helped alleviate many of the challenges that we would have faced post merger in supporting multiple systems and 1000 desktops," added Peterson. "Today, we can deploy an emulation session or access applications on the host systems with a quick click of a mouse. Our IT resources are focused and well trained on one host access platform, which keeps our headcount low and service to the business high. Anytime you can increase IT operating efficiencies and reduce costs just makes good business sense and that's where NetManage technology has delivered for us."


Kirkland's Sharpens Decision Making with GERS Data Warehouse Technology

Kirkland's Inc., a leading specialty retailer of home decor in the United States, is using the new Retail Data Warehouse technology from GERS Retail systems to sharpen its decision-making ability and support continued sales growth.

Kirkland's is using the data mining tools to store, manage, update and distribute actionable information to decision-makers in 11 critical areas, including sales, inventory, receipts, markdowns, transfers and on order information, thereby providing a complete picture of business performance. By improving access to and retrieval of critical business information, Kirkland's is able to lower inventory costs, create more profitable promotions and increase GMROI.

"Our constantly changing merchandise mix creates an exciting 'treasure hunt' environment, encouraging strong customer loyalty and frequent return visits to our stores," said Robert Alderson, president and CEO of Kirkland's Inc. "By leveraging the GERS Data Warehouse technology that's embedded in our enterprise application, we can closely track individual item sales, which enables us to react quickly to both fast-selling and slow-moving items for greater business performance and profitability."

The Retail Data Warehouse leverages industry standard online analytical processing (OLAP) tools to facilitate efficient and timely analysis of transaction data and multiyear historical performance. Built on an open, extensible Oracle 8i database, GERS' Data Warehouse enables Kirkland's to evaluate the performance and profitability of all sales channels, product categories, vendors, promotions and assortments to deliver efficient, timely analytical capabilities to every decision-maker's desktop. Kirkland's can also analyze transactional data by location to evaluate regional differences in home decor, enabling them to tailor inventories to geographic considerations. By accessing transactional data, Kirkland's minimizes slow-moving inventory and resulting markdowns for higher ROI.


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