Ameritas Selects Information Builders as Its Business Intelligence Standard

Insurance and Financial Services Company Standardizes on WebFOCUS Over Other BI Vendors for Superior Enterprise Reporting, Unmatched Integration Abilities, and Easy Internal and External Information Delivery

NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 14, 2003 -- Information Builders, the leader in enterprise business intelligence (BI) and real-time Web reporting, announced that the Ameritas Acacia Companies, diversified family of insurance and financial services businesses, recently standardized its business intelligence reporting activities on Information Builders' flagship WebFOCUS software. Ameritas chose Information Builders as its corporate standard based on the software's comprehensive capabilities, not only for data mining and analysis, but also for information delivery, back-end integration, and self-service presentation to internal and external users.

According to Paul Huebner, senior vice president and chief information officer at Ameritas, three primary criteria motivated the selection of Information Builders' WebFOCUS business intelligence software. "We wanted to obtain easier access to information about our operation, our products, and our customers and make that information accessible not only to IT professionals, but to business users," Huebner said. "We also wanted a tool that could extract vital business information from various data sources and either load it into data marts or present it to users in real time or near-real time. Thirdly, we wanted to create an efficient and secure information architecture to share information with partners and customers over the Web. WebFOCUS offered strong capabilities in all three of these areas. It is becoming a cost-effective way to set up applications for either real-time or staged access to production data."

Ameritas also considered business intelligence technology from Business Objects, Cognos, and Crystal Reports, but these reporting environments did not have the breadth of capabilities the company needed for data access and information delivery. "WebFOCUS appeared to be a great way to improve productivity for our reporting, data queries, and other business intelligence activities, especially given our multitude of data sources," Huebner added.

The broad integration capabilities of WebFOCUS allow Ameritas to work with its existing technology assets, dramatically speeding up business intelligence deployments. It supports more than 90 unique data types, providing the ability to pull data from multiple sources, either for real-time analysis or for loading into data marts. Ameritas runs the data integration component of WebFOCUS and iWay's database server on an IBM MVS mainframe system running CICS, with an interface to CA-Datacomm/DB, VSAM, and flat files. WebFOCUS is also installed on a Microsoft Windows 2000 platform, where it accesses data stored in Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 Universal Database systems.

Leveraging this broad, enterprise-scale architecture, Ameritas is using WebFOCUS to create several reporting applications for internal and external users, such as a self-service application that streamlines billing, enrollment, and reconciliation processes for Group insurance customers. According to Barry Ritter, who heads up information services for the Ameritas Acacia insurance companies and its broker/dealers, WebFOCUS makes it much easier to keep enrollment information up to date. "We are seeing a strong return on investment from the billing and enrollment application in our Group division," Ritter said. "Being able to efficiently deliver information to our customers and policyholders is saving a great deal of time for our customer service representatives and also simplifying enrollment procedures for our customers. We can reconcile accounts and make enrollment changes more quickly and obtain payments in a timely manner."

Ritter's team is also developing an internal intranet application for comparing monthly budgets with actual expenditures. About 250 business managers will use the browser-based system to replace a paper-based process. Thanks to the powerful ad hoc reporting capabilities of the WebFOCUS Managed Reporting Environment, these users will not only be able to obtain standard reports comparing budgeted and actual expenditures, but also drill down into the accounting ticket information that created these entries.

Ameritas has many other WebFOCUS applications on the drawing board, such as a self-service application that will allow dental providers to view the claim histories associated with their patients, and a production reporting application that will provide ad hoc search and analysis capabilities to individual customers. More than a dozen developers have been trained to use the business intelligence software.

About The Ameritas Acacia Companies

The Ameritas Acacia Companies -- Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., Acacia Life Insurance Company and affiliated companies -- are a diversified family of insurance and financial services businesses. Together, the companies offer life insurance, annuities, financial planning, group dental and eye care insurance, mutual funds and other investments, retirement plans, 401(k) plans, banking, worksite benefits, and public financing.

About Information Builders

Information Builders is the leader in enterprise business intelligence and real-time Web reporting. The company's WebFOCUS product -- the industry's most secure and flexible -- is able to meet all the reporting needs of the extended enterprise, ranging from analysts to power users to the widest deployments for hundreds of thousands of users.

Information Builders has provided quality software and superior services for 28 years to more than 11,000 customers, including most of the Fortune 100 and U.S. federal government agencies. Headquartered in New York City with 90 offices worldwide, the company employs 1,750 people, has more than 350 business partners, and generated revenues exceeding $300 million in 2002.

SOURCE Information Builders

Web Site: