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Medmarc ’AutoMates’ Processes

Medmarc eliminates manual IT interventions enterprisewide with Network Automation's AutoMate process automation solution.

The departure of an employee in early 2005 uncovered significant process inefficiencies at Medmarc ($352 million in total assets). "We had just adopted a new reinsurance system when the IT person administrating our month-end closing tasks left the company," recalls Medmarc developer Chris Prime. "And we quickly realized we were babysitting far too many manual processes."

Since Medmarc's reinsurance treaty software, Fiserv's (Brookfield, Wis.) Freedom, stood at the center of the month-end closing tasks, Prime asked his reinsurance team for a scripting routine in July 2005. But that approach proved too complex, he explains. "Instead the team suggested we investigate AutoMate by Network Automation," Prime says. According to the Los Angeles-based vendor, AutoMate includes job scheduling, event-based conditions and application development tools, enabling firms to automate processes without writing code.

At the time, Medmarc (Chantilly, Va.) also was adopting paperless technologies. "For example, instead of scanning documents ourselves, we began receiving images on CDs," Prime relates. "However, a person still had to open each document [and] export it into our imaging system."

To streamline enterprise processes, including month-end batch jobs, Prime reviewed potential solutions and downloaded an evaluation copy of AutoMate. "Our primary criterion was integration with Freedom, and Fiserv guaranteed us AutoMate would work," he says. "Given our lean six-person IT staff, we also required a tool that solved complexity issues rather than creating more."

In August 2005 Prime began creating a test scenario with the AutoMate evaluation copy using the software's point-and-click interface. "I decided it was the solution for us," he says. Using the month-end batch processes as a pilot, Prime concurrently started surveying his organization for additional automation prospects.

After purchasing a desktop version of AutoMate a month later and loading it onto a Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) XP machine, Prime built an automation routine orchestrating the 13 interdependent month-end IT tasks. Testing during the balance of 2005 came up clean, and AutoMate went into production in January 2006, though the carrier eventually upgraded to a server-based version, loading it onto an existing Microsoft box.

By early 2007 Prime had created automation routines for nearly a dozen business and IT processes, he reports. "Previously, month-end closing required overtime hours and could take more than a day," Prime states. "Now all the information our executives need is in our data warehouse when they arrive the next morning, without overtime or working into the wee hours. If there's an issue, AutoMate sends an e-mail alert to my cell phone."

Altogether the various IT deployments save nearly five employee-days per month, according to Prime, and other departments are achieving similar efficiencies. "By automating the invoicing process required by [SAP's] Crystal Reports, our finance department estimates they recover an hour a day," Prime reports. "Error rates and associated risks are also reduced."

AutoMate has delivered far more than Medmarc expected, Prime says. "We purchased the product to solve one problem," he emphasizes. "But we literally ended up developing 10 solutions for 10 problems. There's not a single piece of functionality that I would need in an automation tool that's not already there."

Case Study Profile

company: Medmarc (Chantilly, Va.; $352 million in total assets).

lines of business: Medical technology and life sciences products liability.

vendor/technology: Network Automation's (Los Angeles) AutoMate process automation solution.

challenge: Automate manual processes enterprisewide.

Anne Rawland Gabriel is a technology writer and marketing communications consultant based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. Among other projects, she's a regular contributor to UBM Tech's Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology ... View Full Bio

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