BACKGROUND: Zurich-U.S. Insurance is one of the nation's leading property/casualty insurers with $2.6 billion in annual revenues. Their clients include leading global corporations in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, healthcare, high tech, service operations and retail industries. This year Zurich-U.S. introduced RiskIntelligence, an innovative customer service extranet that allows its customers immediate access to their critical loss data and insurance information via the RiskIntelligence Web site.

PLATFORMS: WebIntelligence 2.0 is available on all Windows platforms. Client side includes Microsoft Windows 95, Windows NT and Windows 3.11 (via Win32S). Server side availablity on Windows NT with Intel and Microsoft NT 4. The product supports access to multiple data sources including Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, CA-Ingres, Teradata, Red Brick, Rdb, Excel, ASCII files and others.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The convergence of decision support and the Internet is creating a tremendous opportunity for organizations to deliver e-business intelligence ­ the sharing of data over the Web with customers, partners and suppliers. By using WebIntelligence 2.0, RiskIntelligence is extremely valuable to the customers whose bottom line is directly affected by their insurance activity. Reports that took months to produce can now be generated on a daily basis using a Web browser and RiskIntelligence. Risk managers at Zurich customer sites now have access to multiple reports that track variables that determine claims and payment information, allowing them to improve management of their costs. With immediate access to this information, decision-makers at these companies can now act quickly on the information available to save money for their companies.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: WebIntelligence 2.0 is the first Web decision support tool to deliver advanced extranet features for deploying e-business intelligence applications. It is the new release of its enterprise query, reporting and on-line analytical processing (OLAP) solution for the World Wide Web. The new release offers features for extranet deployments, a new OLAP module for drilling in charts and tables, and numerous new options for report creation and distribution.

STRENGTHS: WebIntelligence 2.0 is available for $595 per user. The new OLAP module, WebIntelligence Explorer, can be added for $395 per user.

WEAKNESSES: There are several enhancements we would like to see in the next release. We would like to add more API hooks so we can customize the product easily. The new release of Developer Suite will have Microsoft Visual Basic which will allow us to do that. Also, we have wanted to see WebIntelligence available on UNIX, but we are very pleased to see WebIntelligence 2.5 Sun Solaris running on UNIX servers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The main reason we chose WebIntelligence 2.0 was that they were the only true thin-client OLAP tool on the market at the time. Loading a full-client plug-in for a risk management application is simply not practical in our business. We also had been using BusinessObjects for several years so we had a lot of expertise in house already. With WebIntelligence, we are able to offer the only true thin-client risk management solution in the insurance industry, and RiskIntelligence has been of great value to our customers. Zurich-U.S. has a vision of creating a customer service agent. The functionality, architecture and security features of WebIntelligence 2.0 make it an ideal tool for rolling out our RiskIntelligence program.

DELIVERABLES: Through WebIntelligence 2.0, we deliver loss analysis reports. Our customers get reports on claim summary, claim detail, lost time, lag days, historical views and trends. For an example of a small set of reports, visit our Web page at www.zurichamerican.com under the customer services section. By using the Web-based decision support system, we can now respond to a customer's request in a day or less. WebIntelligence 2.0 from Business Objects also helped us save an incredible amount of money internally by eliminating the physical cost of diskette mailings. We expect to save $400,000 this year on this one component alone.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Business Objects has a commitment to more than 8,100 corporations internationally utilizing more than 1,180,000 licenses. Along with traditional phone support, on-line assistance is available via the Web. The company is also open to comments regarding future releases.

DOCUMENTATION: The hard-copy documentation and on-line help are well- written, comprehensive and easy to use.

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