Norway's Vital Forsikring licenses AmberPoint SOA software for pensions management

Source: AmberPoint

Leading service oriented architecture (SOA) management software specialist, AmberPoint, today announced that Vital Forsikring ASA, Norway's largest life and pensions insurance company, has selected its award-winning policy-based runtime governance software for their new core pension system.

The project is one of the world's first production SOA deployments based on Microsoft .NET 2.0, and includes 64-Bit Windows, BizTalk Server and Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 (MOM).

Vital Forsikring serves the life and pension insurance needs of more than 6,800 corporate clients and 700,000 individual customers and has annual revenues of NOK 182 billion (US$27 million). Vital is a subsidiary of DnB NOR, whose total assets of more than NOK 1,400 billion (US$213 million) make it Norway's largest financial services group. The Group has more than 2.1 million retail customers, 38 percent of lending to the retail market, more than 900,000 insurance customers, handles the payment flow for more than half of Norway's foreign trade, acts as the principal bankers for 60 percent of Norway's 300 largest customers, and also owns Norway's largest asset management operations.

Although all Norwegians employed in the public sector are covered by pension plans, many individuals in the private commercial sector are not covered by such plans. Vital fills the gap by offering a range of plans and products. The company made the strategic decision to develop its new core pension system into an SOA environment as a result of new pension legislation, which is expected to increase the number of new pension subscribers through a new collective pension offered to companies and employees. Vital expects to capture a large part of this market. New products, increased requests for self-service and greater interest in being able to select among a variety of products and services have created the need for more rapid, affordable services and the ability to scale.

"Time to market is extremely important to us," said Rolf Nergaard, Enterprise Architect for Vital Forsikring ASA. "With our existing mainframe-based IT environment, it was proving too costly every time we wanted to change, update or integrate our systems. This made bringing new services to market extremely difficult. We have had a couple of mergers and acquisitions in the past and also needed to rationalise our systems. We have experimented with Web Services since 2001, mainly for supporting applications, and decided to develop our core pension systems into a full production SOA environment in order to achieve greater flexibility and cost reduction."

Following a thorough market evaluation, Vital adopted AmberPoint as its enterprise SOA management system.

"AmberPoint is the industry market leader," added Nergaard. "Its policy-based runtime governance gives us the ability to manage complexity, which is ever increasing in the pensions market. They also had extremely good integration with Microsoft, which is important to us, as we made the decision to standardise on Microsoft internally including Microsoft .NET 2.0. Using AmberPoint, we are able to extend our SOA monitoring and management capabilities to MOM. Our project is one of the world's first production SOA deployments based on Microsoft .NET 2.0 so the close working relationship at the engineering level between AmberPoint and Microsoft was extremely important to us. AmberPoint is now a strategic part of our Microsoft roadmap."

"Microsoft Operations Manager is a leading solution for performance and availability management of a distributed Windows environment," said Eric Berg, director of product management, Windows and Enterprise Management Division at Microsoft Corporation. "Working with partners like AmberPoint who extend MOM to help customers achieve greater business agility with .NET-based SOA applications is a critical part of our overall strategy."

AmberPoint's software is based on the industry's first fully distributed architecture for SOA governance. Key components include agents, analytical servers and management consoles - all Web Services based and built from the ground up to operate in a distributed fashion. AmberPoint's SOA Management System uses a ground-breaking policy-based management approach that helps organisations achieve better, more adaptive end-to-end control of evolving services-based applications. This is achieved by dynamically implementing policies in the runtime environment.

"Vital is a great example of how market-leading companies in the European financial services sector are embracing service oriented architecture to establish a sustainable competitive advantage," said John Hubinger, CEO of AmberPoint. "Our policy-based runtime governance software is playing a strategic role in enabling organizations like Vital to gain business value from SOA. We're delighted to be Vital's solution of choice for management of its complex services-based applications."

Vital is using AmberPoint's exception handling, service level management, security and service network monitoring capabilities as part of the overall SOA management solution. The company is also currently reviewing AmberPoint's SOA Validation System, which recreates the interactions of the production SOA environment by capturing requests and responses from actual usage and replaying this traffic in a staging environment.

"AmberPoint complements Microsoft Operations Manager perfectly," added Nergaard. "Between the two, we are able to manage and monitor across all of our enterprise systems and reduce the complexity of our distributed environment. The ease of change and increased flexibility will make a significant commercial impact on our operations and our ability to reliably deliver new services to the market."

Vital will be deploying the new core business applications in AmberPoint over the next month. The Norwegian Postal Services, which includes 20,000 employees, is the first pensions customer administered in the new system, with more customers to follow over the next few months.

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