REVIEWER: Mike Morand, director of database administration for American National Insurance Company.
BACKGROUND: Founded in 1905 in Galveston, Texas, the American National Insurance Company (ANICO) family of companies has evolved into an industry leader, ranking among the largest of the more than 1,800 life insurance companies in the U.S. ANICO offers a broad line of coverage. ANICO and its subsidiaries provide personalized service to more than 3.4 million policy owners in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Mexico and Western Europe.
PLATFORMS: ANICO is running its data warehouse on DB2 Universal Database for z/OS.
PROBLEM SOLVED: ANICO embarked on its first data warehousing project in early 2000 due to a need of the Independent Marketing Group (IMG), a division within ANICO, to better manage its business. Sales information, even answers to simple questions, was difficult to obtain and was stored in disparate back-end business systems. ANICO realized there was a need for consolidated information and faster delivery of information to the business unit.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Using ETI Solution from Evolutionary Technologies International, ANICO has leveraged its sales data assets to grow revenues, reduce operational costs and increase productivity. ETI Solution is responsible for extracting the data from the operational systems and transforming and loading the data into our data warehouse. ETI Solution automates the process of importing the data file layouts for source and target systems. Once this definition is complete, the end user specifies the multiple source mappings and business rules to populate the data warehouse using the ETI Solution point-and-click interface. ETI Solution produces all the programs and JCL in addition to a blueprint of all the steps needed to consolidate, cleanse, sort and merge the data from the multiple sources into the data warehouse. The extraction process is entirely automated and repeatable. Furthermore, the generated code, JCL and scripts have a high level of reusability and are easily modified. Another significant benefit of ETI Solution is its flexibility. ANICO has done extensive customizations using ETI's template technology to further increase productivity. With ETI Solution, we are able to keep our data warehousing team to a group of three people. ANICO estimates that without ETI Solution, it would have taken as much as five times the number of staff to accomplish this effort.
STRENGTHS: We can quickly produce business results at lower cost and with faster time to benefit. ETI Solution generates extremely stable native code on both the source and target platforms, with all required JCL, scripts and file transfer protocols. In addition, ANICO found it very attractive that ETI is not a conversion engine. It didn't make sense for us to haul data across an already overburdened network, convert the data and then haul it across the network again to the target platform.
WEAKNESSES: The learning curve with any data integration tool can be a challenge. With ETI Solution, two skill sets are required - the integration specialist and the integration architect. However, once technicians master the learning curve and use the advanced features of the tool, they are capable of truly astonishing productivity.
SELECTION CRITERIA: While other vendors supported some aspects of mainframe integration technology, ETI Solution had the best level of available mainframe support compared to other data integration tools.
DELIVERABLES: ETI Solution provides extensive sales data information, including performance of agents by marketing channel, sales by region and state, agent revenue and persistency, pending business versus signed business, comparative sales history and pension/payroll deduction, among many others.
VENDOR SUPPORT: ETI has been a very good company to work with and has been very responsive to our needs. We experienced a major DSL migration from Version 4.1 to Version 5.2 of ETI Solution, and although there were some bumps along the way, ETI was there with us every step.
DOCUMENTATION: ETI documentation, distributed in PDF files and with search engine capabilities using Adobe, is thorough and is good reference material. The use of any data integration tool requires in-depth training and extensive hands-on use to satisfy the learning curve, regardless of the quality of documentation.
Evolutionary Technologies International, Inc.
816 Congress Avenue, Suite 1450
Austin, TX 78701
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