REVIEWER: Bruce Johnstone, manager of Actuarial Services for Management Information Systems at Economical Insurance Group.
BACKGROUND: The Economical Insurance Group, founded in Waterloo, Ontario, in 1871, is one of the largest property and casualty insurers in Canada, with $1.9 billion in premium volume and $4.1 billion in assets. Canadian owned and operated, The Group provides a wide range of commercial insurance products throughout North America.
PLATFORMS: Noetix runs on the Intel platform under Windows, reporting from Oracle E-Business Suite and used with Cognos.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The Economical Insurance Group Human Resources and Finance departments made the decision to implement Oracle Human Resources (HR) and Oracle Finance applications and chose to deploy both at the same time. As a Cognos customer, the company was determined to maintain our standard tools for business intelligence reporting. However, as the team began the task of mapping the Cognos catalogs to the Oracle applications, we realized it would take a number of weeks or even months to develop the reports required by end users from 40 to 50 various branch locations and departments throughout the company. The Economical Insurance Group faced the classic challenges of lack of resources - time being the main one - and also the costs associated with the internal resources that would be required to develop the reports.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Almost immediately after deploying Noetix, the IT department witnessed the collaborative technology offered by Noetix and how it worked with Cognos, streamlining the views and categorizing the information in a format that made sense to an ordinary business user. When we saw the end product, saw the views and how Noetix organized things, we were thankful to have a solution that provided all those SQL statements so we didnt have to write them ourselves. It would have been quite a challenge to work through the SQL statements behind those views in order to populate the Cognos tool. Today, The Economical Insurance Groups four-person HR reporting team is using Noetix to respond to daily ad hoc reporting requests for information within the Oracle HR applications. The team estimates that reporting requests come from approximately 50 different end users. Typical report requests include employee personal and confidential information, salary reports, location reports, organizational reports and other information that branches in various locations arent able to access within Oracle. In addition, the HR team produces monthly reports themselves, such as employee anniversary dates and a new employees list.
STRENGTHS: The Group leverages Noetix to assist with major enterprise application initiatives. The company recently upgraded to Cognos 7.4 and used Noetix to ensure that the views and joins continued to work so that the reports would not break and have to be rebuilt. The Noetix views continued to work well, and all the custom reports easily made it through the transition.
WEAKNESSES: There were a very few occasions when we attempted to create reports in Cognos including information that exists in more than one Oracle database column, and weve had to figure out a different method of getting to that information. Since that time, Noetix has come out with the Noetix Generator for Cognos solution, which addresses these types of issues.
SELECTION CRITERIA: A recommendation from our IT initiative manager prompted the team to look at Noetix, which offered a solution to automatically create the data joins that IT was spending so much time on. We found the price point to be excellent. Upon further investigation, the team decided to move forward with a Noetix implementation in conjunction with the Oracle deployment.
DELIVERABLES: The Economical Insurance Group has benefited from Noetix in many ways, particularly from the time and resources saved because IT staff is not required to be as involved in reporting as in the past. We estimate that Noetix saved the IT team at least six to nine months of development time during the original implementation project. In addition, the team says that business information flows to management much more quickly, enabling the company to be more nimble and successful. Its hard for us to imagine what daily life would be like without the Noetix tool.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The solution is so easy to use that not much support was needed to get the users working with the product.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was complete and easy to understand.
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