Summary:By producing more accurate reports faster, Dipak Nair, VP-IT, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, made the insurer a smarter organization.Highlights:ICICI Prudential Life Insurance's quest for a single version of the truth gives it plenty of agility.The Organization: In the tough regulatory environment that the Indian insurance industry has to face, it has become very difficult for companies to differentiate themselves. One way ICICI Prudential Life Insurance could hope to achieve competitiveness is by looking at newer capabilities. And doing this took them more than just having the right systems and processes.It was a challenge to find a platform where analytics and reporting could co-exist with active data feeds into the central database without hampering performance of either data load or extractionThe Business Case: ICICI Prudential Life Insurance could do that was by taking business analytics to the next level and enhancing its ability to capture data from a wide spectrum of business areas and correlate it accurately. "To enable business teams with greater control on business initiatives and increase returns from it, the right kind of data needs to be provided at the right time," says Dipak Nair, VP-IT, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. At the same time, the insurer was experiencing an ever-growing demand for reports that was overloading its transaction systems and was grappling with an assortment of information systems that led to constraints in data analytics.The Project: To address the challenge, the insurer defined an information architecture framework. It developed an active data warehouse that would cater to the enterprise's information needs. This platform would gather information from various transactional sources and correlate with various business entities.But to consolidate all reporting requirements through a single platform, the IT team needed a strong technology platform. "The platform not only needed to cater to the information needs of each business unit in parallel, but it also needed to meet performance objectives" says Nair.The new information architecture pushed ICICI Prudential to build an Active Enterprise Data Warehouse on which functional data marts were formed for targeted business units. This, the company realized, would provide focused data analytics by the function including sales, finance, operations, customer service, strategy and BI units.First Steps: In a three-step approach, ICICI Prudential did a comprehensive need analysis with usage projections, defined a 'to-be architecture' and implemented it to realize the benefits. "One of the technology challenges was to find a platform where analytics and reporting could co-exist with active data feeds into the central database without hampering performance of either data load or extraction," says Nair.The answer was found in Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), a relational database management system and Sybase IQ, an analytics server. Here data flows from the source systems into the data warehouse through the real-time transaction processing on an operational data store (ODS). "This new information architecture allows users to generate reports while the data transformations and load happen in parallel," says Nair. It was a challenge to find a platform where analytics and reporting could co-exist with active data feeds into the central database without hampering performance of either data load or extractionThe Benefits: The solution provides information and analytics capabilities across business functions. "The new 'single version of the truth' pertaining to each business entity allows us to aggregate data across various dimensions so that we can see how the company as a whole is performing and make accurate decisions," says Nair. The solution also lowered the TCO of the database transaction and reporting system by about 50 percent. Report publishing has also seen a surge. "Earlier batches of multiple reports would run well into the afternoon. But now we are able to deliver them at the beginning of the day by 8:30 a.m."