Product Company Adopts Cloud Services, Saves Customers 20 Percent in Costs

iNube Software Solutions

“As the solution is offered on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, we estimate that customers will save 20 percent in costs by avoiding investments in large, complex IT infrastructures. We offer an agile infrastructure, and pass on the efficiencies and advantages to our customers.”

Vinod Iyer, CEO, iNube Software Solutions

Founded in 2010, iNube is a caterpillar in the IT solutions and services industry, focused on the insurance domain. The company wanted to help its customers by plugging in loopholes in the RSBY (Rashtriya Swathya Bima Yojana) enrolment process. Keen on obtaining the benefits of cloud computing, it built its new solution―EnroLive―on the Windows Azure platform. The company now benefits from increased business opportunities, interoperable technology, increased revenues, and familiar development tools. Its customers avoid costly capital expenditures along with the hassle of maintaining an on-premises infrastructure.

Overview
Country or Region: India
Industry: Insurance

Customer Profile
iNube is a product company based in Bangalore, India. It was founded in August 2010, with a vision of simplifying business application services in the insurance domain.

Business Situation
iNube needed a scalable, cost-effective IT infrastructure to create a solution that would address the fundamental problems of the RSBY enrolment process.

Solution
iNube used the Windows Azure cloud computing platform to develop its new solution named EnroLive while making use of the high-performance computing and highly scalable database capabilities available.

Benefits

  • Reduces costs for customers
    Speeds data consolidation
    Removes data duplication
    Generates automated reports

Situation
iNube Software Solutions is a product company that aims to simplify business application services in the insurance domain through the adoption of cloud-based products and custom applications. The company focuses on creating innovative, futuristic, and trend-setting solutions, using advanced and cutting edge technology that add value to its customers’ enterprises.

iNube recognizes that a key ingredient to attaining success in the competitive insurance industry is to plug in the loopholes in the RSBY (Rashtriya Swathya Bima Yojana) enrolment process. RSBY, one of the largest public welfare projects in India, offers a health insurance cover program for BPL (Below Poverty Level) families in India.

Currently, the enrolment activity is outsourced by insurance companies to Third Party Agents (TPAs). TPAs in turn outsource to enrolment vendors. The data captured by these vendors is critical, as it is a prerequisite for processing claims emanating from the RSBY scheme. TPAs face multiple challenges both during and after the enrolment period.

The data captured is stored on individual laptops, then copied on to multiple external storage devices, and handed over to the TPA at the end of the enrolment period. Copying and consolidating this voluminous data on to a single server is a laborious and tedious activity for the TPA. Storage devices in which the enrolment data is provided might also be virus infected, which may result in loss of data. This could also happen due to any physical damage to these devices, and data once lost cannot be recovered.

Further, revenue for all three parties ― insurance company, TPA, and enrolment vendor ― is based on the number of enrolments done. “Enrolment vendor(s) can issue duplicate cards in order to increase their revenue,” explains Ramprasad S, Director – Industry Practice, iNube. “There is no means the TPA can check whether duplicate cards are issued.”

iNube realized that its customers needed a solution that could help them overcome all these loopholes.

Solution

Until now, the enrolment vendors were using the desktop application provided by RSBY to capture data. iNube then decided to create a wrapper application to take care of all the above loopholes. As the company was already aware of the potential of cloud technology, it was drawn to the capabilities of the Windows Azure platform. This provides an agile infrastructure that reduces the administrative and maintenance work involved in managing solutions. “We chose the Windows Azure platform because we had used cloud technology for some of our other products and experienced its benefits,” says Sadishkumar V, Director – Technology, iNube. “Past experiences, expertise in the technology, plus the knowledge that the infrastructure was backed by Microsoft, were reasons enough for us to make the decision.”

The solution, called ‘EnroLive’, comprises a pre-enrolment data splitting software, a native, thick client application, a data download and upload component, reporting services, and a thin client application hosted on cloud.

The pre-enrolment data splitting software automatically splits pre-enrolment data compatible with iNube realized that its customers needed a solution that could help them overcome all these loopholes.

Solution
Until now, the enrolment vendors were using the desktop application provided by RSBY to capture data. iNube then decided to create a wrapper application to take care of all the above loopholes. As the company was already aware of the potential of cloud technology, it was drawn to the capabilities of the Windows Azure platform. This provides an agile infrastructure that reduces the administrative and maintenance work involved in managing solutions. “We chose the Windows Azure platform because we had used cloud technology for some of our other products and experienced its benefits,” says Sadishkumar V, Director – Technology, iNube. “Past experiences, expertise in the technology, plus the knowledge that the infrastructure was backed by Microsoft, were reasons enough for us to make the decision.”

The solution, called ‘EnroLive’, comprises a pre-enrolment data splitting software, a native, thick client application, a data download and upload component, reporting services, and a thin client application hosted on cloud.

The pre-enrolment data splitting software automatically splits pre-enrolment data compatible with RSBY certified enrolment software to be used by the vendors. Ramprasad S briefly explains this process: “The pre-enrolment data provided by the government is originally in Microsoft Access/Excel format. Our in house splitting utility software converts the data in Microsoft SQL Server 2005, which is the only format accepted by the RSBY certified enrolment software.”

The pre-enrolment data splitting software automatically:
Splits data from five to 13 tables as required and accepted in the RSBY certified enrolment software
Updates insurance policy number in the tables, based on the district
Updates kit ID in the pre-enrolment database, which is again a prerequisite for RSBY certified enrolment software.

The native desktop component is provided to the authorized enrolment vendor(s) and installed on the laptop carried for enrolment. The application ensures that enrolment is carried out in the district(s) allocated to the vendor(s) by the TPA. It comes with anti-virus check services to protect enrolment data captured and stored. At the end of the day, the application automatically takes a backup of the post-enrolment data captured.

This data is then programmatically stored in a specific location on the laptop, from where the application will pull all the data required for upload. As and when the internet connection is available, the data uploads to a central location.

It is stored on Microsoft SQL Azure, a cloud-based relational and self-managed database service. The cloud component ensures that the data from various enrolment vendors is consolidated into a single database.

The consolidated data is used to generate various automated reports required to track and control the complete enrolment process. The reports are then sent to various stakeholders every day.

The company began working on EnroLive in August 2011 and launched the software in November 2011. Till date, it has rolled it out to one customer. As the market expands, it will benefit the increasing customer base.

Summing up the results, Vinod Iyer, Chief Executive Officer, iNube, says, “We have a completely innovative solution, which addresses some of the fundamental challenges in the RSBY enrolment process and is offered on a SaaS model to TPAs and insurance companies.”

Benefits
iNube and its customers benefit from the increased business opportunities available with the Windows Azure platform, opportunities that are further expanded by the interoperability of connection is available, the data uploads to a central location.

It is stored on Microsoft SQL Azure, a cloud-based relational and self-managed database service. The cloud component ensures that the data from various enrolment vendors is consolidated into a single database.

The consolidated data is used to generate various automated reports required to track and control the complete enrolment process. The reports are then sent to various stakeholders every day.

The company began working on EnroLive in August 2011 and launched the software in November 2011. Till date, it has rolled it out to one customer. As the market expands, it will benefit the increasing customer base.

Summing up the results, Vinod Iyer, Chief Executive Officer, iNube, says, “We have a completely innovative solution, which addresses some of the fundamental challenges in the RSBY enrolment process and is offered on a SaaS model to TPAs and insurance companies.”

Benefits
iNube and its customers benefit from the increased business opportunities available with the Windows Azure platform, opportunities that are further expanded by the interoperability of the platform’s technology. The company is able to meet growing customer demand for cloud computing while dramatically improving its leading position in the market.

Reduces Costs for Customers
Instead of making huge investments in on-premises infrastructure, iNube customers can deploy the solution in the cloud and take advantage of a pay-as-you-go pricing model or predictable monthly payments. “As the solution is offered on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, we estimate that customers will save 20 percent in costs by avoiding investments in large, complex IT infrastructures,” says Vinod Iyer. “We offer an agile infrastructure, and pass on the efficiencies and advantages to our customers.”

Speeds Data Consolidation
Earlier data backup was taken on external storage devices and TPAs had to deal with multiple files while consolidating it. “The TPAs used to take approximately two to three months to consolidate post-enrolment data into a single database file,” explains Sadishkumar V. “Now, as the central database is hosted on the cloud, the activity takes place every day.”

Removes Data Duplication
Earlier the data was not consolidated/de-duped on real-time basis. Due to this, there was a good chance for beneficiaries to obtain an additional card and double their benefits. The new solution comes with built-in de-duplication logic to identify duplicate enrolments. Once identified, entries are marked and blacklisted and a report is sent to the TPA.

Sadishkumar V explains, “EnroLive automatically de-dupes data as and when it is uploaded on to the cloud database. Through this de-dupe logic, the solution ensures that data of families who have been enrolled previously are hot listed and given to the respective TPA/insurance company. This would save the insurance company a potential liability of INR 30,000 for each duplicate entry identified and reported from the solution.”

Generates Automated Reports
The solution allows for comparison of post-enrolment data with pre-enrolment data to measure progress of enrolment activity. Generating defined and custom reports enables TPAs to effectively track and manage the enrolment data. For example, the Enrolment Conversion Report provides percentage of conversion (i.e., number of BPL families as per the census data vs. number of BPL families actually enrolled). This report is provided village-wise, taluk-wise, district-wise, and state-wise. It helps TPAs track the conversion and decide on mop-up rounds of enrolment.

Windows Azure Platform
The Windows Azure platform provides an excellent foundation for expanding online product and service offerings. The main components include:

Windows Azure. Windows Azure is the development, service hosting, and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft data centers.

Microsoft SQL Azure. Microsoft SQL Azure offers the first cloud-based relational and self-managed database service built on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 technologies.

Windows Azure platform AppFabric. With Windows Azure platform AppFabric, developers can build and manage applications more easily both on-premises and in the cloud.
AppFabric Service Bus connects services and applications across network boundaries to help developers build distributed applications.

AppFabric Access Control provides federated, claims-based access control for REST Web services.
Microsoft Codename “Dallas.” Developers and information workers can use the new service code-named Dallas to easily discover, purchase, and manage premium data subscriptions in the Windows Azure platform.

To learn more about the Windows Azure platform, visit: www.windowsazure.com

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