BACKGROUND: Glatfelter Insurance Group (GIG) is a national multiline specialty insurance provider, located in York, Pennsylvania. GIG created a niche product for fire departments and emergency service organizations, consisting of commercial property and casualty insurance and accident and sickness insurance. GIG employs approximately 400 full-time employees.

PLATFORM: Both CISC and RISC-based AS/400 operating systems are supported by amisV8, as well as 16-bit and 32-bit Windows operating systems for amis desktop applications. The release of amisV8 is the first stage toward optimizing amis for the IBM AS/400e Series.

PROBLEM SOLVED: There were numerous problems that confronted GIG. Month-end processes were not fully automated. Numerous manual systems caused large amounts of redundant and inconsistent data. The files in which ad hoc reports were being created were the administration files, thus constantly changing during the day. Reports created in the morning could show drastically different results than those run in the afternoon. Our goal was to develop a central corporate data store providing regular updates to these corporate databases and eliminating numerous manual processes. We needed to reduce the redundancy of the data and develop standardized definitions for the data elements. Our final goal was to deliver the ad hoc reporting capabilities to the clients' desktops. We wanted to accomplish all of this quickly and with a limited staff and budget. The chosen product was amisV8.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: amisV8 provides solutions for new data reporting requirements. Our warehouse process is "productionized" from the transformation and movement of the data to the population of the data store, summarizing and manipulating the data and the creation of the data marts, which are multidimensional with drill-down capabilities. Some of processes occur continuously, such as the mirroring of information from the administrative system to the warehouse. Our transactional files are updated on a daily basis and are used for our month-end process. Once the month end has run, the new data is available to the clients through our predetermined data marts. The clients access the information through the predefined drill downs or the desktop applications such as Spreadsheet Link.

STRENGTHS: The speed with which we were able to implement our warehouse prototype was amazing. We installed the software, and in three months we were able to pilot the warehouse. The warehouse solution is fully integrated. The OLAP tool is easy to use. The desktop applications, such as Spreadsheet Link, are very user-friendly.

WEAKNESSES: The meta data portion of the software is somewhat limited. It provides the basic functionality of meta data software; but as the warehouse expands, more robust meta data tools might be in order.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We were looking for a fully integrated data warehouse package that could be developed quickly by a limited staff at a reasonable cost. We also wanted to go with a warehouse solution that could grow as our company needs grow. The amisV8 solution met all of these requirements.

DELIVERABLES: We are currently populating our data store on a daily basis. Files are being mirrored on a continuous basis. We have developed two data marts so far. The first data mart is updated monthly, and it contains various snapshots of our current book of business. We developed various drill downs for the clients to evaluate this business. Through the amis Goldengate software, we can drill down directly into the data store and evaluate the transactional file by customer. The other data mart is our premium and loss experience. Again, we have predetermined drill downs for this information. With the use of Spreadsheet Link, the clients can extract this information into Excel spreadsheets.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support is actually a strength of the amisV8 solution. With the purchase of the product, we were assigned an amis project manager who walked us through the whole warehouse implementation life cycle. The support team will not accept failure. They feel it is a blemish on their record if your warehouse initiative fails.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation of the software is sufficient. There have been times when we have gone to the help desk to get answers, and that support has been fine.

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