BACKGROUND: SOLCORP, a wholly owned subsidiary of EDS, is an acknowledged leader in providing software solutions and consulting services worldwide for the life insurance and bank assurance industries. Many of the largest life insurance and financial groups have benefitted from SOLCORP's advanced systems, such as SOLCORP/INGENIUM and SOLCORP/APEX, which have been developed in close cooperation with the customers themselves. The COOL:BusinessTeam and COOL:DBA products are used to develop a large data model and database design that SOLCORP markets to a global customer base of life insurance companies. (When SOLCORP purchased the product now known as COOL:DBA, it was called Terrain for DB2.)
PLATFORMS: SOLCORP's internal software development environment consists of Windows NT workstations and servers. The COOL:BusinessTeam and COOL:DBA products are used in this environment, along with other NT tools, to design and build the SOLCORP/INGENIUM (INGENIUM) life insurance policy administration system. The system is currently available on a number of hardware platforms including OS/390 utilizing DB2.
PROBLEM SOLVED: One of SOLCORP's DB2-based clients was very interested in modeling and using the Sterling Software product set. A joint development project was initiated with the client that consisted of creating a DB2 version of SOLCORP's INGENIUM system, which manages business transactions on policies and implements relational features such as referential integrity and partitioned table spaces. Logical and physical models were created using COOL:BusinessTeam and COOL:DBA. After completing the model, the system was brought back to SOLCORP, enhanced and implemented as the base product for future development.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Data model objects are entered into the COOL:BusinessTeam data model along with relationships, descriptions and details such as allowable values. The model is then normalized and forward engineered into COOL:DBA where the database design is optimized with indexes, key definitions and referential integrity. From COOL:DBA the physical database design is generated into DDL which, in addition to creating the database, is used as input into SOLCORP utilities to generate the SQL I/O access layer of the application. The specifications in COOL:BusinessTeam and COOL:DBA are also used to produce the system's data dictionary documentation using Microsoft Access and Sterling Software's Reports product.
STRENGTHS: The COOL:BusinessTeam and COOL:DBA solution helped SOLCORP implement a true data administration function, the result of which is improved data consistency and quality. By using the Sterling Software tools and formalizing the data administration function, the quality and control of the data architecture has improved by an order of magnitude. With all of the entities and attributes defined in the model, it is much easier to understand their relationships when the system is modified. In addition, since it is generated from model information, INGENIUM product documentation is now 100 percent accurate.
WEAKNESSES: We require support for features included in DB2 for OS/390 version 5; for which Sterling Software has recently announced support with COOL:DBA 2.1. In addition, full support for DB2 for NT would be very beneficial.
SELECTION CRITERIA: SOLCORP selected Sterling Software's data modeling and database design tools for their ability to model and manage large, complex data models and databases while maintaining a high level of data quality and control. The logical model is always kept in sync with the physical database design. In addition, COOL:DBA is very compatible with the relational features supported by DB2.
DELIVERABLES: In addition to including Sterling Software models in all software releases, SOLCORP shares the 230-object entity relationship diagram with prospective clients to illustrate the business capabilities and underlying data architecture of SOLCORP's INGENIUM product. The models lend credibility because customers immediately realize that SOLCORP is in full control of INGENIUM's architecture.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Sterling Software has provided us with reliable support when we have encountered problems or have detailed questions about the product.
DOCUMENTATION: The on-line help is very easy to use and provides the level of detail required.
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