PCS’ customer is a Fortune 10 heath care company. One of its major divisions, a prescription benefits managed services provider (PBM) performs critical business functions such as electronic prescription claims processing for many well-known health care plans, plan billing, home critical care, physician management, materials management and a mail order pharmacy. The PBM decided that it needed a completely new platform for its mission critical decision support system that provided the company and its customers with several strategic business functions. The decision support system performed important revenue generating processes such as:
- Physician Profiling
- Retroactive DUR
- Utilization Review
- Prescription Auditing
The system to be replaced was an older client server two tier architecture that was developed in the early nineties. It made use of an unsupported user interface (Data Workbench) that ran on a VAX server and an unsupported version of the Sybase database. The older database design was not optimized for decision support or its heavy and complex data mining workload. As a result, the database schema design and metadata design required for matrix searches were very ineffective and the system was not only inefficient but failed to support certain types of queries. New decision support requirements could not be implemented in a timely or cost effective manner.
The customer recognized that this critical business system needed to be replaced and selected PCS to assist in this process. PCS was asked to prepare a systems proposal that addressed both hardware platform selection criteria as well as a complete re-design of the Decision Support System. PCS performed an evaluation of hardware platforms, databases, user interface tools and reporting tools. PCS also performed a high level function point analysis utilizing its recommended hardware/software infrastructure and provided the customer with what would become an accurate budget for the overall project. After reviewing the systems proposal and proposed budget, the customer’s executive management decided to award PCS a turnkey contract for the replacement for the Decision Support System.
The new Enterprise Wide Decision Support System (EWDSS) was the first web based internal application at the PBM. PCS architected the platform on n-Tier architecture principles. The new platform was designed to run on a Windows desk-top or lap-top utilizing a standard browser such as Internet Explorer. The web based Java client integrated with an IBM WebSphere application server that used an IBM DB2 UDB (Universal Data Base) that contained many matrix queries and database table routines and was written in server side Java/Perl. The database server was written to run on the RS6000-SP (parallel processor AIX hardware). PCS also converted all the data from the old Sybase database to DB2 UDB and trained all the users and IT staff in systems use and operation. The system was cutover successful on schedule and on budget.
One of the largest U.S. property & casualty and life insurers based in downtown Chicago launched a database server consolidation / migration initiative. The primary business driver was the non-Y2K compliant status of the installed application systems. Of secondary but equal significance was the realization of savings that would be achieved as a result of the consolidation.
The effort encompassed two critical business systems running on forty-one (41) Sybase database servers, each replicated to a single master Sybase database server. The individual database servers were installed on forty-one (41) separate NCR UNIX hardware servers, and the master Sybase database was housed on a very large NCR UNIX hardware server. Approximately 5,500 users in the field accessed the business systems in the normal course of conducting daily business. The master database audit tables consisted of 46 and 66 million rows, respectively, which were partitioned for all the remote servers. All remote database server transactions were replicated to the master database server. In the event of remote server failure, processing was immediately routed to the master, which was then updated directly. Upon restoration of the failed remote server, the master database server was used to restore the remote server to current status. Replication was performed on a transaction-by-transaction basis.
The customer elected to partner with Professional Consulting Services, Inc. for the conversion / migration effort. PCS’s best practices and migration methodology incorporated all aspects of migration / conversion activities and the customer felt it was readily applicable to the project at hand.
The approach consisted of replacing all the hardware and database servers and migrating the applications to a new hardware. A new infrastructure was architected with major changes. The 41 remote NCR hardware servers as well as the master NCR server were replaced with 6 large regional HP servers and a very large HP master server. Sybase replication functionality and the applications were then migrated to the new platforms in a controlled manner. More specifically, the effort consisted of:
- Updating and migrating the applications
- Migrating the databases including checksum verification for integrity
- Duplicating the replication infrastructure in the new environment
- Migrating the 41 sets of user constituent groups
- Business process changes were identified and implemented
All issues that were identified were resolved with the same level of urgency as all business issues.
A phased migration was effected with actual production transferred only after extensive testing and training. Production cutovers were accomplished without consequence and the project was completed within acceptable time frames and within budget.
InsuranceNoodle, a licensed insurance agency (46 states and Washington DC), decided to implement its business model to provide internet access to all customer related aspects of its insurance business. The intent was twofold: expand market share while simultaneously increasing the productivity and efficiency of the normal insurance agency model; and establish itself as a technology company leveraging the electronic insurance platform investment. Specific objectives were to utilize technology to streamline small business property and liability insurance placements for approximately 800 SIC codes; obtain multiple quotations from a single-entry (SEMCI) application that is SIC and ZIP specific and electronically linked to national insurers’ rating systems and to MGA/insurer underwriters through data mapping and/or XML linkage; bind policies and service accounts.
InsuranceNoodle elected to partner with Professional Consulting Services, Inc. (PCS) for the requirements definition, technical design, development and implementation of their comprehensive internet application. The scope of the effort included detail business requirements definition and use case analysis to derive the processes, capabilities, business rules and data necessary to drive the new business. PCS’s best practices and development methodology incorporated all aspects of web development and was readily applicable to the project.
The project was successfully completed on budget. An iterative design and development process was followed, enabling progress to be measured throughout the project from a content, context and completeness perspective. A n-Tier application architecture was used to build and power the customer facing Internet functionality and the internal Intranet applications provide flexibility and obsolescence avoidance.
The majority of the application contains database-driven content based on an intelligent engine. The application tailors a set of questions for Business Owners Policy, Automotive Fleet, and Worker’s Compensation insurance quotations based on the prospective clients industry and zip code. In addition to serving the direct small business customer base, the service is also increasingly provided in an private label arrangement to associate agencies and brokers.
MIATCO (Mid America International Agri-Trade Council), a non-profit co-operative organization positioned between the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service and twelve mid-western states, provides a wide range of services designed to facilitate trade between local food companies and importers throughout the world. The organization determined that its existing applications that were developed over the years, were non-cohesive and inefficient from a process and data perspective. Key business drivers indicated a need for development and deployment of web-based application functionality including the provision of enhancements and greater internal productivity efficiencies.
MIATCO elected to partner with Professional Consulting Services, Inc. (PCS) for the design, construction and implementation of the Web-based version of its Branded Program primary application system. The scope of the effort included business process analysis with the methodology employed focused on detail functional requirements definition and analysis to describe the processes, capabilities, business rules and data necessary to drive the business. Other application system upgrades and consolidation efforts were tentatively planned as well. PCS’ best practices and development methodology incorporates all aspects of web development and was readily applicable to the project.
Timeline and budget were both extremely tight and effective management of both was crucial to the success of the project. All programs administered under the application were funded and controlled by individual fiscal year. Mid-year implementation was not possible from a cost standpoint.
The project was successfully completed in the required timeframe providing sufficient time for implementation within the desired fiscal year. An iterative design and development process was followed enabling progress to be measured and evaluated throughout the project from a content, context and completeness perspective. An n-Tier application architecture was used to build and power the customer facing Internet functionality and the internal Intranet applications to provide flexibility and enable obsolescence avoidance.
Proper client participation was maintained throughout the entire development process to enable a complete and uneventful transition at the completion of the project
One of the world’s largest financial derivatives service organizations possessed a significant number of years of archived historical data stored in a transactional format. Additionally, a major rewrite of the core business critical application systems was nearing completion. Due to the extremely large volumes of transactional data processed, the production applications, including the rewritten version, archive detail transactions once control aggregations and summary transformations have been completed. The detail information is not readily available for subsequent analysis or for use. Custom one of a kind query extracts and data loads typically required four to six weeks lead time.
The company elected to partner with Professional Consulting Services, Inc. (PCS) for the purpose of conducting a data warehouse analysis and evaluation study culminating with the preparation of a business case. More specifically, the following were included in the scope of the study:
- Involve all management levels and functional areas of the organization in the study and solicit their input, needs, concerns and recommendations
- Evaluate the validity and completeness of the archived historical data
- Define data warehouse data content, time and other dimension requirements
- Identify and document business processes subject to enhancement from the construction and availability of a data warehouse
- Quantify the estimated value of the data warehouse to both internal and external customers
- Model estimated costs to develop and implement the data warehouse, as well as support on-going production
- Prepare the business case presenting the findings and projecting the benefits to be derived from the customer’s unique data warehouse. Include technical environment specifications and the tools to be employed in the construction and utilization of the warehouse
- Design and develop a “Proof of Concept” data warehouse with sufficient representative complexity for demonstration purposes supporting the business case
PCS’ best practices and methodologies incorporate all aspects of data warehouse design, development and deployment, and was readily applicable to the project. The project was successfully completed within time and budgetary constraints. Presentations and demonstrations were conducted with appropriate company executives to ensure awareness and understanding of both data warehousing concepts and context as they apply to the customer.