BIAS knows how to take advantage of a good thing. The Oracle Platinum partner has built its business providing IT design, implementation, and maintenance services and solutions utilizing Oracle technology. In the last year, BIAS has parlayed its success into achieving 10 Oracle Specializations in the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized program, including Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Oracle Linux, and Oracle WebCenter. In fact, the company is one of the elite partners who can boast Specialized status in Oracle Exadata and Oracle GoldenGate. Now, BIAS is building on its expertise to expand business in these two high-demand areas.
John Ezzell, vice president at BIAS, says, “Becoming Oracle Specialized lets customers know what we do and what we’re good at. To have Oracle’s validation is really valuable.” He adds, “It tells customers that we’re certified by Oracle to implement, sell, and advise on best practices. It’s very important. It’s the best thing that Oracle PartnerNetwork has offered since we’ve been in the program.”
BIAS, which has offices in both Georgia and Virginia, promotes as one of its key differentiators in the marketplace the fact that, while it has become Specialized in Oracle foundation technologies like Oracle Database and Oracle Business Intelligence, the company readily embraces new technologies. More importantly, BIAS also has a strong track record of helping customers find business value in adopting the new technologies. Utilizing the real-time data replication solutions of GoldenGate is a good example of BIAS’s successful strategy. The replication tool has been the market leader in its sector for many years and was purchased by Oracle in 2009. Ezzell says, “As soon as Oracle acquired GoldenGate, we saw that it was a great technology and we jumped all over it. We saw that it was something we can use in almost every one of our accounts.”
The company sent staff to get training in working with GoldenGate technologies, and then they immediately began the process of achieving Oracle Specialized status. Ezzell says, “GoldenGate does the real-time replication between any kind of database: SQL Server to Oracle, DB2 to Sybase. We can use it anywhere.” Ezzell explains, “Exadata is one of the hottest things we’re talking about right now.” For customers upgrading to Exadata, GoldenGate provides a way to perform real-time upgrades without having to shut down and do a cold upgrade where everything is moved and then tested. Ezzell says, “You can transition slowly, making sure you don’t lose any transactions.” Data availability is critical for many customers. He adds, “If I’m spending money on Exadata to support an existing application, there’s no way I would do the implementation without GoldenGate.”
BIAS is already seeing interest in Exadata from a wide spectrum of companies. Both large and small high-transaction-volume customers are prime candidates because they need high performance, scalability, and cost reduction. Currently, BIAS is working with an insurance claims processing company that is considering Exadata, as well as a major retailer, to help provide better inventory management and logistics services to customers and employees.
Along with building its Exadata and GoldenGate business, BIAS continues to meet the needs of its customers in private industry and in the public sector. Ezzell says, “We’re tightly coupled with Oracle and have customers in almost every industry.” The company focuses on creating transferrable solutions that can be applied across industries. For example, BIAS developed a mobile healthcare portal using Oracle WebCenter for mobile healthcare professionals who work at patients’ homes, but the solution is equally useful for cable companies, public utilities, and anyone that has a mobile workforce that needs real-time information.
One satisfied BIAS customer is Direct General Insurance, based in Nashville, Tennessee. BIAS worked with the firm, which primarily focuses on auto insurance, but also offers home and life insurance products, to implement a new solution that takes advantage of Oracle Hyperion, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle OBIEE; to utilize business intelligence (BI) to improve claims management and fraud detection; and to provide a way to profile customers and offer them additional insurance products. Ezzell says, “The products they’re using aren’t unique, but the way they’re configured is unique and very clever. I think it has potential to be a game changer in the insurance industry and, at the very least, a key differentiator for them.”
Jay Barua, data warehouse and business intelligence leader at Direct General Insurance, says, “BIAS helped us select the software and get our environment up and running. I consider them as a partner in the project. They’re very good.”
Direct General Insurance is already achieving benefits with its new system because it allows the company to spend less time on data collection and more time on data analysis. Barua says, “Fraud is a concern for us as it is with any insurance company. The question is, “How do you use the techniques of business intelligence, not only to stop but to detect fraud?” BI also plays a role in company plans to look at market segmentation, and will provide the ability to track all customer touch points, migration behavior, purchasing patterns, and, finally, the lifetime value of a customer.
Barua says, “I feel we are quickly maturing our business intelligence competencies. Right now, we’re getting all the data together, then we’ll use OBIEE to create metrics, and, finally, we’ll find out how to derive lasting value from the metrics.”
BIAS, for its part, is looking to build on its Oracle Specialized successes in 2011 and beyond. According to Ezzell, “Our focus this year is to grow our federal business, as well as grow our Exadata and GoldenGate business, because we see so much promise there.”