UTS eXpress

A Case Study in Value-Plus Software

Requisite: HOriginal purchase of UTS eXpress Plus, Version 1, calls for replacement.

Proposal: Upgrade to UTS eXpress Plus, Version 4.
Conclusion: Feature-rich yet affordable, easy migration with no user complaints, and built to last.

Infinity Insurance Company Profile

Infinity Insurance provides competitive products to those with a proven record of accident-free driving and also to those who have difficulty obtaining coverage because they have a record of accidents or violations, or because of their age, occupation or type of car. Regardless of the reason an individual chooses Infinity, Infinity Insurance says they always strive to provide their customers with excellent service and protection.

Infinity employs over 2000 people that are strategically located across the country from Connecticut to Florida and from Virginia to California. Infinity’s Administrative Offices are located in Birmingham, Alabama. Field offices handle marketing functions, agency relations and professional claims adjusting. They have approximately 120 people in the IT department.

We spoke with Hugh Wilson, Infinity Insurance’s Mainframe Database Administrator. He is responsible for creating new database files as needed and maintaining over 2,500 RDMS database files which hold all of their policy, claim and financial information. Most of their online and batch processing is done on a Unisys Dorado/290 and can currently process up to 1,000 MIPS. Most of the mainframe programs are written in COBOL, but some are written in HTML with JavaScript. All the screens used in their internet business are written in JAVA with XML using Oracle as the database.

Giving UTS eXpress Plus a try

Viking Electric Supply was founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in July, 1964, by James C. Schacker to distribute electric supplies to electrical contractors. In 1969, expansion moved eastward with the acquisition of our Eau Claire (Wisconsin) location. Associate headcount grew from three to nine.
Viking’s first computer was purchased in 1975. By the end of the ‘70s, Viking comprised five locations, staffed by around 100 associates. The ‘80s saw an additional 5 locations created or acquired, and the formation of the Industrial Division. In the ‘90s, associate headcount grew to over 400, the Training and Automation departments were created, and 8 more warehouses opened.
2000 was a year of great change. Another store, a relocation, and the creation of the DataCom division started things off. Then in June, Mr. Schacker sold Viking Electric to Sonepar Distribution of France. Sonepar Distribution, the world’s largest privately held electrical distributor has almost 1,000 branches in 26 countries. Viking Electric continues to operate under the same name and management team. Greg Hames, then a 26-year associate of Viking Electric, was named President of the company.
At present, Viking Electric Supply includes 21 locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, almost 500 associates, and annual sales over $200,000,000.

What is your job at Viking? Did you have any input as to which products to purchase?

Infinity has been using KMSYS Worldwide’s UTS eXpress product for many years. When they first began searching for an emulator software product, a consultant suggested they take a look at eXpress since other sites were using it as well.

When asked why they chose UTS eXpress over other products, Hugh told us, “We tried several different products but in the end we felt your product was the best product in relation to its features and price [and the best product] to do what we needed it to do” and “In relation to the other products on the market that perform as do your product, the price was very favorable.”

Considering the hundreds of copies with which Infinity started, the transition from their old software to UTS eXpress Plus went better than expected. Just like any new software, the people using it needed to have some time to evaluate and discover exactly what it would and would not do. But after quickly learning the new software, they were able to use the different settings and options provided in the software to make the rollout a success. “No complaints,” says Hugh. “It’s human nature for people to not want to change at first, but the users have adapted to the new software and are happy now that they realize the new software is much better than what they were using.”

Did UTS eXpress Plus meet Infinity’s demands?

Infinity has purchased and has been using hundreds of copies of UTS eXpress Plus for over eight years. Hugh says, “Even with the advances in technology and with the upgrading of our machines, the product [is] still being used by the majority of all of our programmers, customer service and claims employees on a daily basis.” That is a telling sign of a product that was built to last.

The benefits that Infinity has seen, since purchasing UTS eXpress Plus, “have more than paid for the product since purchasing the first copies.” As Hugh tells us, “the people are more productive now than ever. We were a ‘batch’ shop, until we installed your product, which gave us the ability to do more online and cut out redundant work and daily delays. Because of us deciding to go to your product, we are for the most part, an online real-time shop, and the batch work is mostly for reports and creating letters to be mailed.”

Have you worked with our technical support team?

“I had worked with your technical support team when we first implemented your product several years ago but because we had no problems with the product, I had not contacted them in a while. We recently upgraded to the 4.0 version of eXpress Plus. In the process of evaluating this new version I found a small problem which I reported. In a matter of days, the fix for the problem was already in place and in the version we purchased.”

“Nobody wants to have to contact a technical service department, and because your product was written so well, we have not had to contact them often but; the times we did, they were very helpful in providing us with solutions. Outstanding service.”

Can we assume you’re pleased with UTS eXpress Plus?

“The new version (4.0) that we just purchased for the programming staff has some new items not previously found in the old version, which we are still using in some of our departments. The new version is much faster and more stable. Some of the [Windows XP] machines now have the newest version installed and have had absolutely no problems. The programmers are very pleased with the new version. I would highly recommend [to] anyone who is considering purchasing your product, to try out your evaluation version and see for themselves.”
Have you worked with our technical support team?

Yes. We’ve had extensive tech support interaction.
Rather than simply telling us that this is how the product works, take it or leave it, the KMSYS technical support team took the time to understand our needs and desires, and how the emulator might be deployed to meet them. The end result is that we [Viking and KMSYS] either find a better way to do what we wanted, or a feature [enhancement] gets added to the emulator that not only makes it a better product in general, but makes my job much easier.
Most of our issues are resolved the same day, or the next. On occasion, it takes longer to address an issue, but we are kept abreast of any status changes, and that’s fine