Pacific & Orient Insurance seeks competitive edge

At Pacific & Orient Insurance (POI), aging hardware and a proprietary software environment hampered expansion into new business opportunities. In order to gain a competitive edge, POI recognized the need to update its computer architecture. Like many other companies faced with outdated systems and software, POI needed an open computing environment that would support its legacy business applications and accommodate future growth.

At the root of the problem was the company's insurance application, in place for ten years and used by a network of more than 800 insurance agents, underwriters and adjusters throughout the country. As an integral part of POI's business operations, this standalone legacy application needed to be smoothly migrated to a new system and integrated, for the first time, into other business operations. Specifically, POI wanted to incorporate off-the-shelf software applications to support other business activities, such as statistical research, investment portfolio management and comprehensive back-office accounting. Because the existing system did not allow integration of these solutions, POI was unable to exploit packaged offerings.

Defining Critical Requirements
Severely constrained by its proprietary hardware and software platforms, POI started the overhaul process by identifying key requirements for the new system. The hardware and database software had to be robust, proven and stable. It would have to conform to open standards and offer seamless integration with third-party software solutions. The suppliers had to have a strong, dependable and experienced support team, especially in Malaysia. And, finally, the execution and implementation of the new solution could not interrupt POI's day-to-day business operations.

Worlds Of Choice, But Only One Universe
With key requirements in place, POI, working with its U.S.-based sister company Pacific Research & Development, began to evaluate database management systems that offered open capabilities. Following extensive research, they chose the Universe RDBMS from Ardent Software - the only solution to satisfy all of management's issues, concerns and expectations.

With Universe, POI could easily migrate and support its existing insurance application, integrate new business productivity applications, as well as gain the flexibility needed to support future development efforts. Additionally, its support for a wide range of hardware platforms eliminated the concern of being locked into one hardware vendor's proprietary solution. For the first time, POI would be able to take full advantage of modern hardware, database and software solutions from a wide variety of vendors.

"Universe has allowed us to make improvements to our IT system that hadn't been possible until now," said Mr. Chan Thye Seng, managing director of Pacific & Orient Berhad. "Now that our application is fully converted to Ardent's Universe, we will have no difficulty expanding our capabilities as new technologies evolve."

For POI, Universe represents the foundation of a very successful partnership that is opening the door to new business opportunities as the new millennium approaches.

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