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Desjardins Modernizes With BluePhoenix

BluePhoenix will help Quebec-based insurer migrate 80 percent of its applications and data onto a modern Oracle/Unix platform by 2008.

Motivated by lower cost and risk, as well as the prospect of greater systems flexibility, Desjardins General Insurance Group (DGIG, Québec; CAD$1.5 billion in revenue) has chosen BluePhoenix Solutions (Cary, N.C.) to execute a multi-million dollar legacy extension project involving migration of data and applications to a new technology platform.

The Canadian P&C insurer had decided that continuing to run on its COBOL/IDMS and MVS platform was risky and costly, according to Pierre Deschênes, senior executive vice president, IT, DGIG. The carrier then drafted a technology transformation roadmap that projected an eight- to 10-year modernization effort.

"We decided to move more quickly and arrived at a plan to move about 80 percent of our applications by the end of 2008," Deschênes says. The remaining 20 percent will be migrated to the new Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.) and Unix platform between 2009 and 2011, he adds.

DGIG turned to BluePhoenix to perform the migration of the insurer's current COBOL/IDMS applications to a Windows/COBOL (Fujitsu NetCOBOL, Sunnyvale, Calif.) and Unix/Oracle platform environment. The vendor will deliver the migration using its BluePhoenix IT Discovery and PlatformMigrator tools.

Deschênes explains DGIG's choice of legacy extension rather than replacement as more suitable to performing a migration that was transparent to agents and end-customers. "We have built applications in house that are very close to our processes," he explains. "They are very good systems, and we didn't want to change the processes because they work well for us as a direct writer of insurance."

Greater Flexibility

DGIG is currently in pilot to test the feasibility of all the connections needed to support the migration, according to Deschênes. The carrier expects to see a full return on its investment by the project's completion in 2011. Of the initiative's results, Deschênes says, "the new infrastructure will give us greater flexibility at lower cost. We expect to be able to move much more quickly when we have to implement new e-commerce applications."




Fujitsu NetCOBOL

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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