Credit Guarantee Insurance, one of the largest and oldest South African credit insurance underwriting companies, has boosted its customer service, enhanced its business practices and gained a competitive-edge through implementing a data warehouse.
Credit Guarantee is owned by leading insurers, banks and financial institutions. Its major business is the insurance of domestic and export credit risks and the acceptance as re-insurer of credit, bond and guarantee risks underwritten by South African and foreign insurance companies.
Its strength lies in its ability to secure a vast store of information and market intelligence from a network of contacts and to interpret data to support its clients' business in local and international markets. It has deployed the Sagent Solution from Sagent South Africa as the core technology in its data warehouse.
Margaret Redelinghuys, senior analyst programmer at Credit Guarantee, says the company needed a solution to support strategic planning and trending across various business areas. "Since we didn't have a relational database, it was difficult to extract and report data when needed.
"Delivering the right information to our users and customers often meant cobbling together data from various systems." This was a costly and time-consuming effort.
"We chose Sagent because of its integrated functionality, its depth of features and the capability of its front- and back-end processes. It was also fully compatible with the SQL Server database selected for the data warehouse."
Redelinghuys says Credit Guarantee has developed three business increments – buyers' analysis, underwriting analysis and management information – using Sagent. "With Sagent we can recognise and understand patterns and trends based on the integration of complex customer transaction data.
"The definitions and processes used to load the information can be used in the reporting phase, so the exercise doesn't have to be repeated. We define it once and use the definitions for load and reporting."
Credit Guarantee has found with experience that its users prefer not to extract data themselves from the data warehouse owing to time constraints, so information is provided to them from a centralised point, and this has been hugely successful.
"Sagent's administration function allows our system administrator to manage the entire Sagent platform from a single location.
"Also, by providing information from a central point, controlled by one person, our users don't have to worry about the security of their data.
"With Sagent's event-driven scheduler, Automation Studio module, the entire load, from extraction of data to the completion of the loading of the data warehouse, is completed without manual intervention. E-mail and SMS messages are sent to notify us of the successful completion of the various steps. Should a step fail to complete successfully, an SMS message notifies us and we can immediately address the problem.
"We can give our users what they want and immediately. We have saved time in creating meaningful information and accessing it, and we can fulfil requests effortlessly."
Redelinghuys says users tend to have generalised requests such as wanting to identify trends, and they are impressed with the speed at which they receive information.
"With Sagent we use the graphical design tools to schedule required runs, develop data flow plans and for analysis and reporting. We also have the ability to create, publish and view presentations for corporate information in graphical form. In addition, an event-driven scheduler delivers automation, troubleshooting, and messaging capabilities.
"We can rapidly develop and deploy analytic applications using internal and external content from numerous information sources through one technology platform. Our managers, customers and partners get the information they need in a relevant, easy-to-read layout.
"Finally, being scalable and flexible, the platform can be tailored to meet our growing business needs," Redelinghuys adds.