PLATFORMS: Prudential runs Cayenne tools on Windows NT for desktops and Windows 95 for laptops. Prudential's enterprise data warehouse and initial data marts are being deployed on DB2/MVS and Sybase on Sun Solaris.
BACKGROUND: The Prudential Insurance Company of America, headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, is the largest insurance company in North America and one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the world with $71 billion in assets under management.
PROBLEM SOLVED: At Prudential, we are building an enterprise warehouse which initially feeds two data marts for the corporate marketing functions. Our central warehouse is 700 gigabytes initially, and we expect it to grow rapidly. We needed tools to develop an enterprise logical data model, independent of the physical storage, and to design and implement the physical databases. To the warehouse users, the meta data from these models is critical; it enables the users to analyze the warehouse data effectively.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use Cayenne tools to perform entity relationship modeling and to build physical relational databases for our data warehouse and star schema data marts. We also use Cayenne tools to publish models and reports over the company intranet so that they can be reviewed by our users throughout North America. This delivery mechanism has been a big help to us. In addition, Prudential has developed a strategy to integrate Cayenne tools with other modeling tools and meta data repositories using Cayenne's export files.
STRENGTHS: GroundWorks and Terrain have three important strengths: 1) The ability to separate and map between logical and physical models: Cayenne tools synchronize model objects while allowing logical and physical structures to evolve independently of one another. 2) Design expertise: Knowledge of entity relationship modeling and database design is built right into the tools. This has helped our analysts with data modeling expertise at all levels. On the physical RDBMS side, the "Design Advisor" with very specific DB2 and Sybase physical design knowledge has enabled us to create high-quality databases. 3) The ability to publish data models over our intranet: This provides a menu to allow a wide audience of users to navigate through the warehouse design. Cayenne tools have many other functional strengths as well.
WEAKNESSES: Because GroundWorks and Terrain provide very complex and sophisticated functions, users need a fair amount of training and learning time to be able to use them properly. Cayenne training classes have helped.
SELECTION CRITERIA: When evaluating data modeling tools, we looked at the following criteria: overall GUI function, conceptual data modeling support, logical modeling support for data and for process, physical data modeling support, forward and reverse engineering support, workgroup support, model management, reporting, diagramming, interfaces, performance, capacity, code generation, vendor profile, vendor references, Year 2000 compliance, training and licensing. Cayenne scored high in most of these categories. We chose Cayenne Software for its comprehensive support of both logical and physical data modeling at the enterprise level and its comprehensive DB2 and Sybase support to generate efficient first-cut databases.
DELIVERABLES: Prudential's data modelers use Cayenne tools to produce entity relationship diagrams, physical data models, entity/attribute reports, table/column reports, DDL (data definition language) to create physical databases and meta data feeds to the Platinum repository. Cayenne tools also provide graphical models to assist the users in meta data navigation. These models are viewable over Prudential's intranet via a Web browser.
VENDOR SUPPORT: This is a powerful product with a learning curve, so we felt that support from the vendor was very important. We have definitely seen a big effort from Cayenne to improve their support for customers. In addition to holding conferences, Cayenne set up a customer day. We participated in that and also found the on-site, customized training to work quite well.
DOCUMENTATION: Overall, we have found the on-line documentation to be good. It has helped our people learn how to use the tools.
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