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Posted: 3/6/2012
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Sancor Seguros Insurer Improves Service and Facilitates Expansion with High-Availability Solution

Sancor Seguros needed to implement a high-availability and disaster-recovery plan for its mission-critical customer relationship management databases. In addition, the company wanted to accelerate insight into client information. To achieve its goals, Sancor Seguros upgraded its CRM databases to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. By doing so, the company achieves high availability, speeds data access, improves service, and facilitates growth.

Business Needs

Sancor Seguros provides personal, property, agricultural, and labor risk insurance to more than 3 million customers, including individuals and businesses. A leading company in Argentina for more than 65 years, Sancor Seguros began to expand its operations into other countries in 2006 including Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil.

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* With SQL Server 2012, we were able to use AlwaysOn to rapidly implement a high-availability and disaster-recovery plan. Today, we provide consistent access to core services, which translates into faster productivity. *

Alejandro Kuriger
Database Manager
Sancor Seguros

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To support customers, about 300 employees use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to manage the entire customer care cycle including analyzing policy options, issuing policies, and helping customers who call for assistance. Before 2012, the solution ran on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system. About 80 gigabytes (GB) of data and 10 million customer records resided in three databases that ran on one instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software.

Although Sancor Seguros did not have availability issues with its customer relationship management (CRM) solution, the company wanted to implement a high-availability and disaster-recovery plan as a preventative measure. “If the CRM solution went down, the impact on productivity would be enormous,” says Alejandro Kuriger, Database Manager at Sancor Seguros. “Employees could support customers in only a limited way, and they would be unable to record valuable information in the system.” Such gaps in data could undermine future client interactions because representatives could be unaware of previous issues or they might have to ask for information twice. And because the CRM system feeds into other mission-critical systems including an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and a data warehouse, any downtime could jeopardize the accuracy and efficiency of other business processes.

To boost service levels and competitiveness, Sancor Seguros also wanted to speed data insight. Every day, about 80 employees access 6,500 standardized reports that are generated by SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services and include CRM data. At peak times, the CRM system’s performance slowed because the CRM databases processed client transactions and data requests from SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services, the ERP system, and the data warehouse.

In April 2011, Sancor Seguros decided to implement high-availability and disaster-recovery capabilities and modify its infrastructure to speed performance.

Solution

Sancor Seguros knew that it would keep its core databases on the Microsoft platform. Kuriger says, “We are confident in Microsoft technologies. We decided to upgrade our CRM databases to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise because it is the next step in the evolution of our platform. In addition, we wanted to take advantage of SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn so that we could maintain multiple replicas of systems for high availability and faster performance.”

In August 2011, IT employees deployed SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on two virtual systems with four virtual CPUs and 8 GB of RAM. The systems run on two physical server computers that reside in separate data centers several kilometers apart in Sunchales, Argentina. Each system currently contains 80 GB of information, and Sancor Seguros expects data to quickly grow to 300 GB as it expands its services.

IT personnel configured the servers in one availability group with SQL Server AlwaysOn: one server is the primary database that facilitates all CRM transactions; the other database is a read-only replica that manages requests from Reporting Services, the ERP application, and the data warehouse. All database changes are written to both copies using synchronous commit mode. By choosing this mode, the company always has an exact copy of its database. Commenting on the implementation, Kuriger says, “Upgrading our CRM databases to SQL Server 2012 and configuring an AlwaysOn availability group was very easy.”

By January 2011, 300 employees began to use the new solution. Engineers will soon upgrade other systems to SQL Server 2012, including the ERP system and the data warehouse, which run on SQL Server 2008 R2. Engineers plan to use features in SQL Server 2012 such as custom reporting, database compression, and server-level roles. IT staff will also deploy Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 so that by May 2013, users will have a single point of access to applications and data.

Benefits

By deploying SQL Server 2012, Sancor Seguros improves availability, boosts customer service, speeds efficiency, simplifies scalability, and facilitates growth.

Provides High Availability and Disaster Recovery for Databases

Sancor Seguros has greatly minimized the risk of downtime so that employees can access CRM information around the clock. “With SQL Server 2012, we were able to use AlwaysOn to rapidly implement a high-availability and disaster-recovery plan,” explains Kuriger. “Today, we provide consistent access to core services, which translates into faster productivity.”

Improves Service and Efficiency

Employees now enjoy quicker responses from the CRM system, even during peak times, so it takes less time to answer questions, explore policy options, and process transactions. “By maintaining a secondary replica of databases with SQL Server AlwaysOn, we have accelerated CRM system performance by offloading tasks—such as queries, backups, data extraction processes, and the rendering of standardized reports—from primary databases to secondaries,” says Kuriger. “As a result, we can deliver continuous and more efficient customer care.”

Eases Scalability and Facilitates Growth

Today, Sancor Seguros has the flexible and highly available database platform it needs to rapidly scale its operations to support more customers, new regions, and an increasing number of transactions and data requests. Kuriger explains, “By deploying SQL Server 2012 on our CRM databases, we gained the experience we wanted before moving other business-critical applications to this platform. As we expand our use of SQL Server 2012 and the high-availability and disaster-recovery solution, we can be confident that our employees can always access the information they need to provide outstanding value and service.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview




Organization Profile
Based in Sante Fe, Argentina, Sancor Seguros is a leading insurance company with 50 offices in four countries. The organization is a subsidiary of Grupo Sancor Seguros, which sold ARS5.2 billion (U.S.$1.2 billion) in services in 2011.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Services

Vertical Industries
Insurance

Business Need
  • Business Critical
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
  • Data Warehousing
  • High Availability

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Microsoft Services

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