Customer Spotlight

To Help Its Customers Get Drivers Back on the Road Faster
CCC Information Services Inc. Turns to IBM WebSphere Data Stage TX


As a provider of software and technology to the automotive claims and collision repair industries, CCC Information Services Inc. (CCC) has one overriding goal:  getting people back in their cars faster after an accident.  To meet that challenge, CCC offers a variety of powerful analytical tools that insurance carriers can use to help them make sense of the data deluge generated by the more than 25 million motor vehicle accidents that occur in the United States every year.

As part of that ongoing effort, CCC has implemented IBM WebSphere's DataStage TX integration platform in conjunction with an upgrade to its data warehouse, allowing the company to bring new services to market faster and to provide its customers with greater amounts of actionable information.  In an industry where companies rely on this data to help them successfully manage their businesses, WebSphere DataStage TX is helping CCC meet expanding demand for readily available benchmark analytics.

Founded in 1980, Chicago-based CCC supplies its industry customers with advanced software, communications systems, and Internet and wireless-enabled technology.  For example, insurance carriers use one CCC application to assign consumer claims to a repair facility, while repair facilities use a similar CCC solution to automate the estimation process.

CCC also acts as an information hub between insurance carriers and repair shops and facilitates communication amongst more than 21,000 collision-repair businesses, 350 insurance companies, and a range of industry participants.  CCC handles an average of more than 1 million claims-related transactions each business day.

The company captures this transactional information in a 1.6-terabyte data warehouse that serves as a storehouse for nearly 10 years worth of claims information.  This allows CCC to offer its customers access to intelligence culled from more than 40 million claims - an invaluable benchmarking tool for analysis and internal management for the carriers - and a key differentiator for CCC.  "We believe that we have the best reporting and analytic capability available," says Debbie Day, vice president in the business intelligence product development group at the company.

The Challenge

In 2001, according to Day, the company reconsidered its traditional approach to data integration.  While CCC had long provided a high level of access to data, in 2000 and 2001 the addition of five new CCC products and product enhancements - covering such processes as estimates, valuations, audits and reinspections - complicated customer access to those transactional systems.

According to Day, the addition of each new product or product enhancement required CCC's development team to create custom-coded Perl scripts to connect new sources of data to the data warehouse - a time-consuming, labor-intensive process.

Additionally by mid-2001, CCC's clients were increasingly demanding access to more sophisticated analytical data in CCC's data warehouse and more intuitive "dashboard" reporting tools.  Clients wanted these improvements so they could more easily monitor, identify or respond to trends, across subscribers, repair facilities and other dimensions.  To meet this need, Day's team was constantly enhancing and expanding their Perl scripts to broaden the volume and sophistication of operational data and business tracking metrics available in the data warehouse.  "With the Perl scripts," Day says, "it was just taking too long to crease all of the needed custom coding and business logic."

In 2003, CCC was preparing to roll out an upgrade to its collision-estimating product, CCC Pathways Estimating Solution, software used by repair facilities and insurers to send and receive claims-related information.  To facilitate its communications with the repair facilities, CCC architected the application's back-end system to communicate to CCC's network using XML.  Day and her team needed to re-write hundreds of Perl scripts to match that new standard to connect CCC Pathways Estimating Solution with CCC's data warehouse.

The Requirements

Over time, CCC had significantly upgraded and redesigned its data warehouse; as part of that ongoing process, Day and her team began looking for an extract, transform and load (ETL) solution that they could use to pull data into the warehouse from the different transactional systems.  "We knew that we needed an ETL capability so we could stop this hard-coded Perl scripting," Day says.

Day's team had several strict requirements for their ETL solution.  In addition to providing a scalable platform that could accommodate new data sources as products were added to CCC's environment, the tool also had to have a proven track record of successful deployment in large production projects.

CCC ran a proof-of-concept with IBM WebSphere's DataStage TX integration platform and then moved to full implementation beginning in March 2002.

The Solution

With WebSphere DataStage TX in place, CCC has been able to continue expanding the business intelligence capabilities that the company offers to its customers.  For instance, the carriers can use CCC's ClaimScope Navigator® solution, a Web-based management information and reporting tool, to check trends by region, state or market, or compare their performance to industry averages year-over-year, and then drill down into the data to a level of granularity that allows them to see statistics on their specific claims.

Another of the company's newest products, CCC Autoverse Claim Services, facilitates the provision of claims information derived from estimates using established collision estimating systems that supports standards established by the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA).  Looking ahead, Day says that CCC will continue to mine its own data warehouse for new capabilities that will be used by its customers to help them better manage their businesses.

The Impact

Day says that the implementation went smoothly, and she offered praise for what she describes as the IBM WebSphere team's responsiveness as the deployment progressed.  In particular, she notes that as CCC was implementing a new XML import capability in WebSphere DataStage TX, the company turned to IBM for assistance in performance-tuning the solution to handle the immense volume of data that CCC wanted to push through this feature. "IBM proved very nimble," Day says. "We worked collaboratively in pushing [DataStage's] new capabilities forward."  In the end, the two companies were able to boost the performance by a factor of 30.

Reflecting on CCC's experience working with IBM WebSphere DataStage TX, Day says that a key factor in her company's decision to go with this solution provider was a philosophical affinity between the two firms.  "We had the engineers talking to each other very quickly, " she says. "That's where the match-up was."