"Databridge was a strategic investment that is enabling us to meet our long term objectives of improving efficiency and decreasing costs by reducing our resource requirements and minimizing usage costs on the Unisys platform."
IT Technical Services Manager
Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
The Norwich & Peterborough Building Society offers a full range of financial services, including mortgages, savings accounts, personal loans, general insurance brokering, independent financial advice, and commercial lending. N&P employs about 1,000 people and has about 470,000 customers. Its assets are valued at approximately £4.9 billion.
Like every financial institution, N&P must keep information secure and up to day, without any downtime. After reviewing its business recovery plans, the company wanted to revise the way it secured data on the Unisys host. Rather than relying on tape transport, N&P wanted to replicate mainframe data in real-time on another system. The IT team, headed by Nigel Warnes, IT technical services manager at the Peterborough head office, picked Databridge for the job.
“Whichever solution was chosen we knew it also had to work as more than a business-recovery solution,” said Warnes. “From the outset we wanted this to be a strategic investment that would help us offload expensive management-information queries by replicating data away from the live mainframe.” Warnes also wanted to reduce the risk involved with open-database access.
The IT team chose Databridge to improve the business recovery processes. Databridge is a comprehensive extract, transform and load (ETL) solution that integrates critical information for business intelligence analysis. It can extract and transform master control program (MCP) host data or replicate data to a secondary system to improve decision support and real-time data analysis.
The successful Databridge deployment had an immediate impact on the company’s ability to secure data for business recovery and also to replicate data for other uses. “There are two immediate benefits from our ability to replicate data from the mainframe to SQL: minimizing our costs and overheads, and improving our ability to access cash flow and business monitoring in real-time,” said Warnes.
As data is updated on the host, Databridge keeps the secondary database synchronized by replicating only changed data. This limited replication allows for more frequent updates, with minimal host system overhead. N&P can then report on, query, or analyse the data to assist with decision-making.
Because most of N&P’s data access is for enquiry purposes, this is an efficient solution. “There’s no reason why we can’t enquire on a copy of the data—it’s a far more efficient way of accessing data and simplifies the development process, reducing the need for more complex mainframe data access,” Warnes said.
Implementation was straightforward. We supported N&P as the company expanded its use from business recovery to monitoring management information and cash flow. “Databridge’s capabilities were known to us from a business recovery standpoint. We then moved to testing its capabilities for additional business requirements,” said Warnes. “This way we can continuously build the scope of its use."
Databridge has helped to improve decision making by integrating critical information for BI analysis. “In the present economic climate, it’s particularly important that we have open access to live, real-time data so that we can react to events that may impact on our services,” said Warnes. “The alternative way of accessing up-to-date information would be to run the overnight reports multiple times a day, which would be costly and less effective.”
In addition to business recovery and information monitoring, Databridge is also helping to detect fraud. “Using real-time replication of data, we now detect potential fraudulent activity even more quickly, saving many thousands of pounds of potential loss,” said Warnes. N&P also expects Databridge-enabled real-time feeds from the DMSII environment via SQL to help reduce fraud and money-laundering risks in the future.
N&P plans to extend their use of Databridge in other ways, too. The IT team is in the process of replacing further daily extracts with real-time replication of data to a SQL data warehouse system, which will provide further significant processing efficiencies and MIPS savings. N&P will also use Databridge to link to its CRM system, currently being developed in-house.
“Databridge was a strategic investment that is enabling us to meet our long-term objectives of improving efficiency and decreasing costs—by reducing our resource requirements and minimizing usage costs on the Unisys platform,” said Warnes.