Redmond, Wash.-The life insurance division of Pacific Life Insurance Co., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based provider of life insurance products and services, selected Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. to help standardize Pacific Life's data infrastructure, reducing overall costs and bringing improved business intelligence (BI) capabilities to more than 800 employees nationwide.The company's life insurance division was faced with a strong dependency between business and IT workers. Executives, business analysts, finance personnel and customer service groups that rely on corporate data found it difficult to access and analyze important business information due to Pacific Life's complex data schema.

"Our data systems are so dense and our reporting requirements so varied, we needed a robust, standardized solution that would enable our various business factions to be more self-sufficient and free our IT groups to focus on infrastructure improvement projects," says Cameron Cosgrove, vice president of information technology at Pacific Life.

After evaluating several options, Pacific Life chose a data warehousing solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, part of the Microsoft Windows Server System family. The organization deployed SQL Server 2005's BI features, such as SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), which helped connect its disparate data sources, ranging from legacy mainframe data to multiple clusters of database servers in locations across the country.

"Enabling our business users to access our data warehouse directly through dynamic reports and queries has been a true testament to the power, functionality and accessibility of Microsoft software," says Cosgrove. "Our business groups are now able to gather client and policy data and generate meaningful reports on their own. And we were able to significantly reduce costs, allowing us to invest in additional innovations to enhance the experience for our clients."

With the new solution in place, Pacific Life's life insurance division has a mechanism that allows the division's employees to easily manage, access and analyze data from an array of data sources. The SSIS data integration pipeline architecture allows SQL Server 2005 to consume data from multiple places, perform multiple complex transformations and distribute the data to multiple destinations. Pacific Life's data warehouse can be used for both large datasets and complex data flows.

As an example, in the new business development department alone, Pacific Life was able to distribute 20 self-administered reports that previously required a full-time IT person to administer. The company expects the new data infrastructure to reduce the IT staff's mainframe and custom report development time by nearly 80%.

Source: Microsoft Corp.

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