SMOOTHS MILLENIAL MERGER SAVING 3O YEARS OF CODING!
Facing merger and Year 2000 deadlines, Royal & SunAlliance Insurance
Group needed to migrate vast amounts of vital customer information from
three legacy systems to its new strategic platform. A technical evaluation
however, indicated that with traditional programming techniques the task
looked impossible given the time available. With the use of data integration
tools from ETI, the company accomplished the task accurately in less than
half the time and to deadline saving 30 years of programming effort
in the process.
Created in 1996 from the merger of two of Britains biggest insurance
companies, Royal & SunAlliance is one of the worlds top ten
international general insurers, employing over 42,000 people in 55 countries
The group serves customers around the globe in three time zones, and its
vision is to become the dominant force in its chosen markets through offering
customers a personalised local service and the widest array of products.
By utilising data integration tools from ETI, Royal & SunAlliance
has achieved an integrated, millennium compliant central customer information
system. In addition, the company believes its new skills in the use of
ETI applications have given it a strategic advantage when it comes to
accommodating competitive mergers and acquisitions.
The new millennium looms large
In 1995, before its merger with Sun Alliance, already being prompted
by concerns about millennial compliance, Royal Insurance began a study
into the feasibility of moving insurance portfolio information from a
legacy IBM IMS mainframe system to a new Oracle/Unisys platform.
The new system, known as Unisure, offered the company the benefit of a
single view of customers regardless of the products they use. This meant
that rather than maintaining separate systems for all products, with each
product focused system separately holding customer details, the company
could reap savings and the business benefits of a single set of customer
service processes for all clients.
However, the companys internal technical evaluation indicated that
the task of extracting, translating, migrating and moving the portfolio
information across the platforms would be impossible to achieve in the
time available if a conventional hand-coding approach was taken to the
creation of the necessary interfaces between the databases.
The traditional method of creating interfaces between disparate IT systems
is for teams of software developers to write them manually. Despite growth
in the market for migration tools, Forrester Research estimates $82.5
billion was spent worldwide hand coding data interfaces in 1998; a figure
it forecast would increase by 30% in 19991.
For large and complex migrations involving multiple data sources however,
hand-coding is a risky, lengthy and potentially expensive option and one
inflexible to accommodating rapid change or to extensive re-use of code.
After identifying these barriers, Royal Insurance undertook a comparative
study of data migration tools, new to the UK market at that time, which
pointed to the clear superiority of ETIEXTRACT.
ETIEXTRACT speeds data migration and integration by automatically
generating the data interface programs necessary to extract, transform,
move and load data, from any source to any target system.
A three month trial with ETIEXTRACT indicated that this tool
could help us achieve between a two and five-fold productivity saving
over traditional programming methods, said Frank Todd, Area Systems
Manager Life and Unit Trust Operations at Royal & SunAlliance.
Merger brings new data sources
In April 1996, Royal Insurance began the first migration of term assurance
portfolio information from an IMS flat file system to the target Oracle
system. However, this project was interrupted in May by the announcement
of the massive merger of Royal Insurance and SunAlliance.
For the Life and Unit Trust division, the merger brought three additional
applications, running on Adabas and IMS platforms, into the picture. These
also needed to be migrated to Unisure.
Mergers and acquisitions can present major systems integration problems,
because the integration of company data sets from disparate systems can
be an expensive and risky prospect. Data mismatches caused by delays and
mistakes in a migration can cause customers to become disillusioned and
move to competitors a customer relationship management (CRM) nightmare
that can potentially jeopardise the success of an entire merger or acquisition.
A business critical migration
With both the success of the merger and the new companys continued
survival after Year 2000 being at stake, this data migration was a business
critical move for Royal & SunAlliance. At its peak the project employed
a team of 150 people.
From May 1996 to the present date, the company has used ETIEXTRACT
on four major data migration projects involving the movement of vital
customer information from three IMS flat file databases and an Adabas
system onto the new Oracle platform.
For each migration, the company was able to utilise ETIEXTRACT to
speed the programming portion of the project by automatically generating
the necessary data interface programs for extracting, transforming and
migrating the data to the new system. By the end of September 1999, Royal
& SunAlliance will have moved 1.2 million customer records into Unisure
from the Royal Insurance project starting point in 1996 of only 4000 policies.
ETIEXTRACT saves 30 years of programming
With just a small team of developers using ETIEXTRACT, Royal
& SunAlliance has achieved a task that would have been impossible
in the time available by using traditional methods.
Working with ETIEXTRACT has enabled a team at Royal &
SunAlliance to achieve in under three calendar years and with 20 man years
of effort, a data migration task that would have taken around 50-man years
using manual coding of migration routines said Todd.
Through the migration, Royal & SunAlliance has ensured its Y2K compliance
and brought vital customer information to its new strategic platform,
in support of its CRM vision of a single view of customers regardless
of the products they use, or from which company those products were originally
It has also reaped savings from the retirement of three legacy computer
platforms and four applications with their associated licensing, operation
and support costs.
New core competency gives strategic edge
Royal & SunAlliance has also gained a strategic advantage over
its competitors through its use of ETI(EXTRACT. For so many years
a critical barrier to an acquisition or merger has been the degree of
differentiation between company IT systems and the scope of this integration
task. But for Royal & SunAlliance this is no longer the case. With
our skills in data migration using ETI(EXTRACT, we can quickly migrate
the business portfolios off merged or acquired company systems, thereby
avoiding the need to integrate any business systems at all. This ensures
good customer relationship management and effectively removes systems
integration as a barrier to merger or acquisition, said Todd.
The effective data migration projects involving ETI(EXTRACT at the Life
and Unit Trusts division has attracted considerable interest from other
divisions within the group. Todd explained; After seeing what we
have achieved another division, Commercial and Personal Financial services
has acquired licences for using ETI(EXTRACT to populate its DB2 datawarehouse
and to develop ETI(EXTRACT applications for their application infrastructure.
And the companys leading edge data migration projects have also
attracted interest from many other companies. Not only have many
UK companies come to see what weve achieve with ETIEXTRACT
but weve also had visitors from Italy, The Netherlands and South
Africa. All of them have decided to go down the same route; a strong reference
for the tool indeed, said Todd.
Source: Tim Klasell and Scot Dudgeon, Enterprise Application
Integration: Enhancing the Communication, Efficiency and Value of Software
Assets, Dain Rauscher Inc. 23rd October 1998.