Financial Services Firm Saves $17 Million, Speeds Development 50

By Aaron Duncan,2014-05-13 19:55
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Financial Services Firm Saves $17 Million, Speeds Development 50

     Financial Services Firm Saves $1.7 Million,

    Speeds Development 50 Percent

    ―The reduction in TCO by choosing Windows Server Overview over AS/400both the initial savings and the ongoing Country: United States

    Industry: Financial Services reduction in maintenanceis tremendous, freeing

     resources that we can deploy strategically.‖ Customer Profile

    Headquartered in Calabasas, California, Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax Services Countrywide Financial Corporation is a leading provider of consumer and The Tax Services subsidiary of Countrywide Financial Corporation business-to-business financial services.

     was adding more than 100,000 new mortgage-customer tax Business Situation records to its database every monthand stressing its AS/400 The company needed to replace its

    AS/400-based tax services solution with an system capacity. A new AS/400 would be a prohibitive expense and alternative that offered greater flexibility still leave the unit without the flexibility and reliability it wanted. The and reliability at lower cost.

     company chose a solution based on Microsoft? Windows Server Solution

    SystemTM, including the Microsoft .NET Framework. The company Countrywide migrated its tax applications

    to Microsoftachieved first-year savings of U.S.$1.7 millionmore than 50 ? Windows Server SystemTM,

    including the Microsoft .NET Framework. percentand expects annual savings on maintenance of $500,000. The development team got up to speed in one-third the Benefits

    ? Cuts costs 50 percent, by U.S.$1.7 time it would have taken on competitor systems, and continuing million development is up to 50 percent faster. As the company takes ? Speeds development up to 50 percent

    ? Enables disaster-recovery site increasing advantage of Microsoft technologiesfor example, ? Increases productivity by 43 percent adopting Microsoft SQL ServerTM 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit)? Increases transaction speeds up to

    1,600 percent the solution’s performance continues to climb.

    Situation next few years, or whether it would quickly ―With Windows Server Since its founding in 1969, Countrywide outgrow the additional system. Buying exactly System and .NET, our Financial Corporation has become a leading the right amount of computing power and, provider of consumer and business-to-thus, maximizing the return on its investment, lead developers were up business financial services, including seemed difficult to project on the AS/400 to speed in three to four mortgage banking and diversified financial platform. services in domestic and international months and training the markets. Headquartered in Calabasas, ―I wanted a solution that could scale with the

    rest of our team.‖ California, Countrywide is a member of the increase in Countrywide’s portfolio growth S&P 500, Forbes 2000, and Fortune 500. Its and maximize the ROI on my investment at Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and loan servicing portfolio in 2004 was a record the same time,‖ said Paramjit Chumber, Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax U.S.$838 billion. Senior Vice President and Chief Information Services Officer, Countrywide Tax Services. These

     As rewarding as that growth is, it brings with it issues were also complicating CTSC’s interest new challenges. Take the company’s in building a remote mirror site to be used in Countrywide Tax Services Corporation (CTSC), disaster recovery. which is responsible for tracking real-estate

    tax payments for all of Countrywide’s six Similarly, the use of the AS/400which the

    million domestic mortgage loansa portfolio Tax Services subsidiary shared with other that’s growing by approximately 100,000 Countrywide unitsrestricted all the units to loans every month. ―Tracking‖ tax payments an eight-hour nightly window for batch jobs. means establishing and maintaining During peak seasons, jobs that could not be relationships with every real-estate taxing run in that time had to be delayed until the authority in the country, obtaining real-estate following day or night, thus creating tax bills for every property for which operational risk. Countrywide holds the mortgage, confirming

    the correct property address and owner for all Another problem stemmed from the unit’s tax those bills, setting up ―tax lines‖ that record applications, which were engineered based tax escrow payments for the mortgages, and on physical loan files. Several departments ensuring that the taxes are paid, either out of needed these files to service a loan, creating the escrow payments or directly by the logistical difficulties and bottlenecks, as well property owners. as requiring four staff members to manage

     the documents. The green screens customary The company had been managing these with the AS/400 permit the type of graphical functions on an AS/400 system. One of user interface that CTSC’s employees were CTSC’s key concerns was the centralized accustomed to with other applications

    nature of AS/400 processing. In addition, the especially applications based on the AS/400 was being shared by many units and MicrosoftCTSC’s portfolio was growing rapidly. ? Windows? operating system. Nor Countrywide was close to using all available did those AS/400 screens enable the resources on the AS/400, and CTSC’s only productivity possible with Windows-based choice in that environment was to purchase applications, for example rendering images. another AS/400 solution for an estimated cost of almost $2.3 million. Beyond the

    expense, CTSC couldn’t know whether it Solution would be buying much more computing Chumber and his colleagues knew they power and resources than it needed for the wanted a distributed computing solution to

    overcome the problems inherent in their

    AS/400 ―mini-mainframe‖ infrastructure.

    ―From both business

    and technology meantime, CTSC uses Microsoft ADO.NET They first considered and rejected several technology to pull data from those remaining standpoints, Windows software solutions on the basis of AS/400 applications into the Windows performance and the time it would take to Server System and .NET platform, as needed. TM integrated server Adopting the 64-bit Version of SQL develop the skills to implement them. Instead, software, including the Microsoft .NET Server have enabled us to add they chose to build their solution on Microsoft Framework, the foundation of the next After considering DB2/400 for its database, Windows Server Systemthis important level of generation of Windows-based applications Countrywide chose SQL Server 2000. ―We

    that are easier to build, deploy, and integrate tested the two databases and found reliability in the event of with other networked systems. The solution comparable performance,‖ says Chumber. a disaster.‖ begins replacing the AS/400 with four ―We chose SQL Server because it offered Hewlett-Packard DL740 computers, four lower TCO and greater integration with our Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and Hewlett-Packard DL580 computers, and two Windows Server System and .NET Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax Itanium II computers clustered in technology.‖ Services active/passive mode, with all computer servers running the Microsoft Windows Countrywide tested SQL Server 2000 ServerEnterprise Edition (32-bit) and found it scaled TM 2003 operating system. well to support more than 1 terabyte of data far more than the Tax Services unit needed To test the waters with .NET Framework for its database, which amounted to 500 development, Chumber asked his lead gigabytes. The company later tested and developer to create a ―tax line setup‖ migrated seamlessly to the 64-bit version of component to render images of tax bills SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition, boosting onscreen. The result was a Microsoft transaction speeds by up to 1,600 percent. ASP.NET application created in 10 days using the Microsoft Visual Studio? .NET 2003 Countrywide expects to continue to follow the development system and Microsoft Visual SQL Server roadmap when Microsoft releases Basic? .NET development language. the 64-bit version of Microsoft SQL Server

     2005 Enterprise Edition. With the software’s

    CTSC chose to start its development with increased scalability and performance, Visual Basic .NET because of its developers’ Countrywide expects that SQL Server 2005 familiarity with Visual Basic 6.0. It then Enterprise Edition will scale to support a adopted the Microsoft Visual C#database that will likely grow to 2 terabytes or ? .NET more over the next few years. When it adopts development language to exploit its inherent SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, XML integration features and to ensure that Countrywide will reconfigure the servers to its developers made the transition to the active/active mode in order to load balance object-oriented techniques offered by C#. In the throughput and maximize its 20 months, CTSC has developed more than infrastructure investment. 15 Tax Services applications for Windows Server System and the .NET Framework and

    plans to migrate the few remaining AS/400

    and Visual Basic 6.0 applications to the new Creating Web Services platform as well. This effort has included the CTSC has taken advantage of Visual C# .NET creation of an enterprise-class Data Model, and the .NET Framework to create two Web implemented in Microsoft SQL Serverservices that form the primary interactive link TM 2000

    to the Java hub in Countrywide’s lender Enterprise Edition, and a supporting Business

    services division. One Web service, used in Process Re-engineering (BPR) project. In the

    ―BizTalk Server gives us

    than being continuously updated in real time, orchestration they will always miss Countrywide’s newest the Tax Service’s ―tax line setup‖ application, functionality. That customers, those who take loans with the moves account data for new Countrywide

    company after it receives a set of tax bills. mortgage customers between the lending enables us to add TM 2000 Enterprise Edition. The result CTSC’s ―procurement exception handling‖ services database and the tax services is that the customer’s account is matched to application is designed to identify these loans workflow considerations database, which is based on Microsoft SQL the proper tax line, ensuring that the correct so that the corresponding tax bills can be Serverto our integration.‖ amount of tax money is collected for escrow obtained separately and processed in time to during the contract closing on the property. In meet tax-payment deadlines. Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and its first few months, the Web service Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax processed more than one million transactions. Countrywide used BizTalk Server Services orchestration to provide the integration The second Web service that CTSC created is because the application must interact with a direct parsing service that accepts several other CTSC applications, including

    customer addresses from the loan servicing those for tax line setup and disbursement of solution, matches the address to the funds, and because the way it interacts with standard address in its property database, these other applications is dependent on and returns the confirmed or corrected workflow rules, which BizTalk Server address to the loan servicing solution. orchestration supports.

    ―BizTalk Server orchestration allows us to More Ways to Integrate prioritize the workload on a state-by-state Beyond SQL Server, Countrywide is also basis, depending on the tax cycles and taking advantage of other key members of deadlines in each state,‖ says Chumber. ―As Windows Server System, including Microsoft processing moves from tax line setup to BizTalk? Server 2004, Microsoft Office dispersal of funds, any accounts that were Project Server 2003 Reporting Services and not properly set up can be sent back Microsoft Office SharePoint? Portal Server automatically for exception handling and 2003. correct setup, freeing staff from having to

     handle them manually. When the correction BizTalk Server 2004 is the third Microsoft is handled by the application, the application technologyin addition to ADO.NET and .NET-then sends a message to dispersal connected Web servicesthat CTSC uses to authorizing the tax payment. We needed a integrate its .NET-connected and Framework-messaging tool with a workflow component to based solutions to solutions elsewhere at the manage all of that as it moves through our company. ―BizTalk Server gives us system—and BizTalk Server is that tool.‖

    orchestration functionality,‖ says Chumber. ―That enables us to add workflow Enabling Project Management, considerations to our integration.‖ Collaboration Project Server 2003 gives Countrywide’s Tax For example, Countrywide’s procurement Services unit a way to manage the work of its department acquires real-estate tax bills from 40 developers. They can report their time by local governments around the country for project and taskeach development project properties for which it holds a mortgage, and can have up to 500 taskswith all of those matches those tax bills to its customer reports rolling up into a comprehensive report accounts. But because those tax bills are that Chumber can access via the Microsoft acquired just several times per year, rather Office Project Web Access interface. The

Cuts Costs 50 Percent, Saves $1.7 ―In 10 months after we Million decided to go with By migrating to the Windows platform, Project Server 2003 solution replaces a Countrywide Tax Services estimates it Windows and .NET, our system based on Microsoft Office Excel 2003 achieved first-year savings of $1.7 millionspreadsheets that required manual entire team qualified as 50 percentover the cost of selecting an reconciliation. Custom reports have been AS/400 infrastructure to meet its growing Microsoft Certified added using Reporting Services to needs. That savings includes a one-time $1.2 supplement Chumber’s chief information Professionals million savings in hardware and software, officer (CIO) dashboard. plus continuing annual savings of $500,000 Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and in maintenance allocations. Countrywide is using SharePoint Portal Server Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax 2003 in two ways. First, it created an internal Services ―The reduction in TCO by choosing Windows portal across departments, which allows all Server over AS/400both the initial savings Tax Services employees to access employee and the ongoing reduction in maintenanceis manuals, procedures, CIO technology tremendous, freeing resources that we can messages, organizational charts, FAQs, and deploy strategically,‖ says Chumber. other content. The second stage, still in development, will add collaboration and The move to Windows Server also enables workflow functionality. For example, Countrywide to plan its infrastructure Countrywide plans to enable CTSC’s training investments more effectively, buying only as department to not only publish information much additional infrastructure as it needs on upcoming training classes to the over the short-term, and scaling out with SharePoint Portal Server 2003 intranet, but additional servers only as needs require. also to enable employees to register through an automated interface that then sends class

    roster information to the trainer as well as Speeds Development up to 50 sending advance class information, if any, to Percent the registrants. Another example, also in

    By adopting the Windows platform with development, will use the workflow and

    the .NET Framework, Countrywide migrated collaboration components in SharePoint

    its applications far faster than it could have Portal Server 2003 to track and report on all

    done with Java, according to Chumber. desktop and laptop assets within CTSC.

―If we had tried to train our developers on In the longer term, Chumber envisions that

    Java, it would have taken at least a year for SharePoint Portal Server 2003 could be the

    our team to get the concepts and another basis for an external portal that allows taxing

    year to become proficient,‖ says Chumber. agencies and homeowners to conduct self-

    ―With Windows Server System and .NET, our service inquiries. Integrating the portal with

    lead developers were up to speed in three to BizTalk Server would also enable external

    four months and training the rest of our team. parties to kickoff workflow processes through

    In 10 months after we decided to go with the portal.

    Windows and .NET, our entire team qualified Benefits as Microsoft Certified Professionals, with The solution enables Countrywide Tax most earning either the Microsoft Certified Services to save $1.7 million over the cost of Application Developer (MCAD) or the an expanded AS/400 solution, to speed Microsoft Certified Solutions Designer (MCSD) development by up to 50 percent, and to certification.‖ save $2.5 million in increased productivity.

    ―With Windows Server

    1,600 percent, depending on the operation, System and .NET, we Chumber also estimates that his developers by moving from the 32-bit version of SQL have a platform that will can create applications using Visual Server 2000 Enterprise Edition to the 64-bit Studio .NET in 3050 percent less time than version. SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition deliver increased they could using their previous development 64-bit enables this increase because of its benefits to us for years tools. The ability to reuse code, and to buy advanced memory addressability, bus Web parts for less than the company would architecture and cache, 64-bit data pathway, to come.‖ spend to create them, drive down more-scalable symmetric multiprocessing, Enables Greater Reliability development costs even more. and optimal use of Itanium branch Paramjit Chumber, Senior Vice President and Beyond lower cost and faster development, architecture to reduce execution time. Chief Information Officer, Countrywide Tax Chumber says that Countrywide is Services

    experiencing greater reliability thanks to its ―We see our current solution as the beginning move to Windows Server System and of the story, not the end of it,‖ says Chumber. the .NET Framework. For example, the Tax ―With Windows Server System and .NET, we

    Services unit has created a remote disaster-have a platform that will deliver increased

    recovery site in Texas that is a one-to-one benefits to us for years to come.‖

    match of its production site and always up-to-

    date within 15 minutes.

―Until we moved to Windows Server System

    and .NET, we didn’t have the technical ability

    to manage all of our data electronically and

    we didn’t have financial ability to set up a complete mirror site,‖ says Chumber. ―From

    both business and technology standpoints,

    Windows Server System and .NET have

    enabled us to add this important level of

    reliability in the event of a disaster.‖

Boosts Productivity 43 Percent, Saves

    $2.5 Million

    Since moving to Windows Server System and

    the .NET Framework, CTSC has seen

    productivity increase 43 percent as

    measured by the number of loans it can

    process for tax purposes. That productivity

    gain has enabled Countrywide to avoid a 43

    percent increase in staffing to handle

    additional business, saving the company

    $2.5 million according to Christopher Stock,

    Operations Manager.

As Countrywide continues to make increasing

    use of Microsoft technologies, the benefits to

    the company increase. The company has

    increased transaction speeds by 400 to

For More Information Microsoft Windows Server System

    For more information about Microsoft Microsoft Windows Server System integrated

    products and services, call the Microsoft server infrastructure software is designed to

    Sales Information Center at (800) 426-support end-to-end solutions built on the

    9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Windows Server operating system. Windows

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     growth of your business.

    For more information about Countrywide

    Financial Services products and services, For more information about Windows Server

    visit the Web site at: System, go to:

     Software ? Visual Studio .NET 2003

    ? Microsoft Windows Server System ? Visual C# .NET

    ? Microsoft Windows Server 2003, ? Visual Basic.NET

    Enterprise Edition

    ? Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004 ? Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 ? Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Hardware

    ? Microsoft Office System ? Hewlett-Packard DL740 servers

    ? Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 ? Hewlett-Packard Itanium 2 servers

    ? Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal

    Server 2003 ? 2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Microsoft, BizTalk, SharePoint, Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual Studio, Windows, the Windows logo, Windows Server, and Windows Server System are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Document published February 2005

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