For many years, Manhattan Life Group has driven its core business processes—including life and health insurance policy management—on IBM i on IBM Power Systems servers, supported by IBM DB2 for i databases. These databases also support the company’s web applications, which run on x86 systems.
Les Turner, Data Warehouse Architect at Manhattan Life Group, picks up the story: “To achieve our analytics goals and transform the Manhattan Life Group business, we decided to use IBM DB2 Web Query to create a system of insight built on our existing IBM i infrastructure. In doing so, we realized that we could gain the benefits of an enterprise-class analytics solution while avoiding the cost, complexity and re-training requirements associated with deploying a new platform.”
With guidance and support from an expert team from IBM Systems Lab Services, Manhattan Life Group designed, tested and deployed a new data warehouse on its IBM i platform—enabling the company to leverage DB2 Web Query to extract, transform and load (ETL) data directly from its production environment for analysis by the business using DB2 Web Query’s Business Intelligence software.
Throughout the process, the IBM team provided on-site assistance in data design and report creation, as well as skills transfer around Web Query, data modeling, and IBM DB2 for i SQL.
“The DB2 for i team in IBM’s Lab Services group has been critical to our project,” continues Les Turner. “They helped us design and build our enterprise-class analytics capabilities without an enterprise-size investment, and keep our costs lean.”
IBM DB2 Web Query for i provides Manhattan Life Group with an end-to-end IBM i solution that can take advantage of the many DB2 for i query acceleration technologies, such as IBM patented encoded vector indexing, autonomic indexes, in memory processing, and the advanced DB2 for i query optimizer.
Keinya Trice, ACS, FLMI, Director of Life Acquisition SBU and Analysts at Manhattan Life Group, notes: “The features of Web Query extend the capabilities of our business analysts by allowing them to run accurately detailed drill down reports on demand. It is also very easy now to tweak those reports for additional analysis.”
Turning insight into action
With IBM DB2 Web Query for i at the heart of its new analytics process, Manhattan Life Group is now achieving its goal of delivering deep insights to the business at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated enterprise-class analytics environment.
David Parsons, Senior Vice President Information Technology at Manhattan Life Group, comments: “Running IBM i on POWER8 delivers the high performance we need to perform big data analytics on a small budget.”
Using advanced business intelligence tools, Manhattan Life Group is unearthing concealed trends and patterns and turning them into value for the business. Les Turner describes: “By drilling down into our policy data, we’re already uncovering hidden insights that enable the business to model regional variances in our product portfolio.”
Additionally, in the past each of Manhattan Life Group’s business units relied on similar but distinct definitions of similar key performance indicators—which made top-level reporting a tough challenge.
With the data warehouse, Manhattan Life Group's executives are benefitting from the "single version of truth" built into the design of warehouse itself. Previously, critical measurements coming in from various analysts and departments were inconsistent, leading to more work to sort through that and discover the truth. Now there is trust in the numbers across the business—whether that data shows up in an analyst's spreadsheet, or in an executive dashboard.
Les Turner concludes: “Today, our centralized approach to reporting has enabled us to create a standardized set of data definitions across the business, facilitating comparisons between different areas of the organization. As a result, we can discover which areas of the business are generating the expected value, and identify new cost-efficiencies, helping us look to the future with greater confidence.”