Scotiabank has cut the time it used to take to manually report sales by 72,000 staff hours per year by automating the process with iWay, a business rules engine from Information Builders. The iWay tool enabled the bank to extract the sales data it needs from 19 disparate source systems from one data hub. The solution has so impressed Scotia that the bank plans to use the platform to power all its future retail integration projects.

Using iWay, an application integration middleware, the Toronto bank can extract only the data it needs — sales information, for example — directly from systems containing those records. The data is fed into a centralized sales hub that Scotia created using iWay. Developers generate the connections that feed the reports by simply dragging and dropping icons that link the reports to databases or files that contain the sales information, using iWay Integration Tools, a visual development kit based on Eclipse (a Java-based development environment) that allows connections and app building among multiple programming languages.

The advantage of doing this is that Scotia can avoid changing the code of any applications hosted on the bank's mainframe or midtier servers. All new business rules are written in iWay. When these systems record sales data from initial employee inputs, the information is extracted into the sales hub, where business rules perform the "net sales" calculations, which salespeople used to manually enter, to determine compensation. Daily sales events are fed to WebFOCUS, Information Builders' reporting tool, which generates weekly sales and compensation reports.

The sales calculations have been automated across retail products like savings accounts, mortgages, loans and credit cards in Canada through what Scotia calls its Sales Builder Business Intelligence System (SBBIS) — a sales report rules set the bank built using iWay that covers 17,000 users across more than 1,000 branches; Canada represents about 50% of Scotia's retail volume. However, the bank plans to add Canadian small businesses to the sales system in March by using iWay to directly extract data from ScotiaWorx, an FIS CreditWorx-supported corporate lending platform, and a mainframe-based homegrown deposit system.

The iWay software lets Scotia draw data from existing online applications to populate the sales hub, while a host file adaptor lets the bank take batch data from a host- or mainframe-based file without copying or moving it. "The adaptor actually runs on our mainframe and lets us read that file in place instead of doing file transfers between the mainframe and midtier," says David Woolley, director of application integration services at Scotia. "We can read 6 million records in just over 2 minutes." One immediate benefit: The sales calculation automation has cut compensation errors. "Sometimes sales staff would actually forget to register the fact that they had done a sale," Woolley says. "Other times the amount they put for the sale wasn't quite accurate." Mortgage net sales require crunching of principal amounts and any insurance sold. "That's now being done by SBBIS," Woolley said.

The bank has migrated mortgages from an International Business Machines mainframe to midtier AIX hardware by replacing a customized legacy system based on CSC Hogan technology with FIS Profile. Term loans also run via FIS, while RPM Technologies of Toronto powers investments on AIX systems. Credit cards run on the mainframe via COBOL code Scotia purchased and customized from First Bankcard Systems. Both retail loans and savings are handled in homegrown apps that run on the mainframe. "What we have with the iWay platform is the ability to integrate without putting any new business rules into the older product systems," says Martine Lamoureux, Scotia's vice president of development for core banking. "So the goal is not to move everything from the mainframe because for core banking purposes it's extremely reliable."

The iWay software uses images to build and deploy applications. "So instead of developing some sort of procedural language on how to connect to a database, you drag a connector and it links to either a file or a database," explains Mike Bekic, director of branch and CRM technologies at Scotia. "So you're not developing components over and over again." A Gartner list of business intelligence vendors with integration platforms includes: IBM, Information Builders, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Oracle, QlikTech, SAP, SAS, Tableau and Tibco Software; CRM and salesforce automation vendors that include sales reporting and compensation in their products or via partners include Microsoft, NetSuite, Oracle,, Sage SalesLogix and SAP; sales performance management vendors include Callidus, Synygy, TAS Group, Varicent and Xactly.

This story originally appeared on Bank Technology News.

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