Recognizing that uniform budget processes and reporting capabilities are critical to its success as an underwriter, Philadelphia Insurance Companies (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; $1.8 billion in assets) decided to introduce some uniformity to the way that its regional offices handled financial tasks.
"Each of our offices acted independently, handling business in their own way," relates John Florio, assistant vice president of corporate reporting, Phil-adelphia Insurance. "We needed a tool that could be implemented consistently to handle real-time budgeting." In addition, the underwriter of commercial P&C, personal lines and professional liability insurance products wanted a solution with online visibility so that information could be viewed and transmitted quickly.
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After beginning its search for a solution in early 2003, the carrier encountered Satori Group (Philadelphia), a provider of business performance management solutions and business intelligence software. "Even though we didn't think that Satori's proCube product would be an appropriate fit for our company, they were insistent on showing us a demo," relates Florio, who was pleasantly surprised by the Microsoft Windows-based product's results. He says the vendor insisted its proCube business process management tool would allow Philadelphia Insurance to monitor performance, predict business outcomes and make more profitable decisions.
Florio was especially impressed with the fact that Satori Group was able to incorporate Philadelphia Insurance's data into the demonstration. "When you see a demonstration with generic data, you don't know how it will really work with your own data," Florio says. "Satori was able to demonstrate the product with our data sitting behind an Excel front-end. The vendor also used the same sheets that we were using for our budget processes. So we fell in love with proCube right away. Since the price was also right, we jumped on it."
In the first quarter of 2003, Phil-adelphia Insurance awarded its contract to Satori Group. The vendor agreed to provide the carrier with centralized access to financial and operational data while it automated corporate budgeting and the financial reporting process. Soon after, supported by Satori, Philadelphia Insurance began its data cleansing effort so that information could be organized into fact tables, which would eventually create cubes. Cubes are multidimensional databases that hold data more like a 3-D spreadsheet than a relational database. The implementation was completed in three months.
Although the carrier hasn't calculated an official return on the investment, Florio reports that the most notable improvement has been time savings. "The time that it previously took to complete the budget process was ridiculous," he concedes. "It used to take 17 members of upper management lengthy amounts of time to compile expense data and streamline it. That time has been cut in at least half, if not more. The tool is just invaluable."
Although the proCube solution did not offer Philadelphia Insurance the online functionality that it was after initially, the carrier has addressed that issue: it recently completed the first phase of implementing Satori Group's proCube Web product.
"In 2004, we decided to bring Satori Group back in so that it could introduce its Web product to all of the organization's corporate management reporting tasks," Florio says. "By October 1, our entire reporting system will be Web-based."
CASE STUDY CLOSEUP
Philadelphia Insurance Companies; Bala Cynwyd, Pa.; $1.8 billion in assets.
LINES OF BUSINESS:
Commercial P&C, personal lines and professional liability insurance products.
Satori Group's (Philadelphia) proCube and proCube Web BPM applications.
Find a tool that could add consistency to reporting and budget processes.