IBM Cognos Now!

By Insurance.com Posted : 02/12/2009

INSURANCE.COM IMPROVES SALES CENTER RESULTS
WITH IBM COGNOS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

-- Real-time operational visibility helps leading online auto insurance agency meet
rigorous service-level agreements, strengthen customer care --

ARMONK, NY – February 12, 2009 – IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that Insurance.com is using IBM Cognos performance management software to provide staff with live up-to-the-second operational visibility required to deliver peak sales center performance for its customers.

In today's turbulent economy, growing attention is now being paid to IT solutions that can help organizations nurture customer relationships and stimulate revenue growth, despite limited budgets. For sales centers, in particular, the challenge lies not just in understanding the past, but reacting to what customers need in the present. Real-time, automated performance monitoring and analytics is key to helping sales centers adapt 'on the fly' to immediate conditions, such as sudden call service spikes. This is especially critical in today's world of online services where timeliness and service are critical to a competitive advantage.

As the leading online independent auto insurance agency in the United States, Insurance.com needed a solution that could continuously monitor both its workflow and IT systems to ensure its sales center was always running at top performance. Fundamentally, the company had to honor its commitment to round-the-clock system uptime for its online quoting platform, which supports more than one million car insurance quotes each year. The company was also interested in capitalizing on immediate performance insights that could help make the center more nimble and responsive to its customers.

Following a competitive review, Insurance.com chose IBM Cognos Now!, the industry's first BI solution with a continuous business monitoring appliance designed to help decision makers proactively track, monitor, and respond to updated operational metrics.

With the initial installation implemented in just three weeks, the IBM Cognos software today enables users across the enterprise – from executives to front-line sales center support staff – to monitor all of their critical applications in real-time. At-a-glance dashboards provide up-to-the-minute key performance indicators (KPIs) for Web traffic throughput, business throughput and general traffic data with stop-lighting capabilities, allowing management to quickly identify performance issues and bottlenecks before they escalate to customer service problems. For instance, when an insurance rate request goes without response from an insurance carrier, the problem can be quickly pinpointed, and Insurance.com staff can alert the insurance carrier to the issue before the carrier is even aware of it.

Beyond service level agreement monitoring, Insurance.com also capitalizes on greater visibility and clarity into operational performance. Dashboards, for instance, provide detailed views by agent, by states licensed, and by skill-set, as well as individual call statistics. Through this unified view of agent productivity, the company has eliminated multiple steps previously required for adjusting staffing levels to call volumes.

Building off this initial success, Insurance.com is now exploring more strategic use of their continuous monitoring solution, including better balancing the workflow of activities across the sales center, and more closely aligning online sales & marketing efforts, such as alerting the sales team every time there is an increase in activity.

"What began as a search for a bread-and-butter IT monitoring solution has opened our eyes to the possibilities that a continuous monitoring solution can offer to advancing our day-to-day performance and optimizing every facet of our business," said Scott Noerr, director of IT services at Insurance.com. "IBM has helped us set the stage for a more collaborative and responsive sales center environment that matches our corporate culture and our commitment to delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction."

"Customer service is the yardstick by which all sales centers are measured. What distinguishes one center from the rest is not just the ability to meet standard levels of service, but exceed," said Leah MacMillan, vice-president of IBM Cognos product marketing. "IBM provided Insurance.com with the low-latency, continuous monitoring capabilities they needed to be able to respond quickly to changing metrics, gain a holistic view of performance, and drive better decision making."

IBM is a recognized leader in delivering performance management solutions for the insurance industry. Specifically, over 1,000 financial services institutions worldwide use IBM Cognos solutions, including 9 of the top 10 insurance companies and 9 of the top 10 property and casualty companies. For more information about IBM Cognos solutions for the insurance industry, please visit http://www.cognos.com/solutions/industry/insurance/index.html

About Insurance.com:
Insurance.com is the leading online independent auto insurance agency in the United States. The company's innovative technology allows consumers to link directly to the rating systems of more than a dozen top insurance companies. Insurance.com streamlines the shopping process for consumers, empowering them to instantly compare rates and make the smartest decisions for their insurance needs. Since 2000, millions of drivers have benefited from using the Insurance.com online shopping experience or speaking with expert, licensed agents by phone. Headquartered in Solon, Ohio on the outskirts of Cleveland, Insurance.com also offers information for life, health and home insurance.

About IBM:
For more information about IBM Information Management, please visit http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/

Media Contacts:
David DeRosa
IBM
613-738-1338 ext. 3317
david.derosa@ca.ibm.com

Sari Martin
ICR (for Insurance.com)
203-682-8345
Sari.martin@icrinc.com

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