Bull’s expertise, working at the heart of Uruguay’s social security system
Bull has been working with the Uruguayan social security system for many years, and in 2006 this successful collaboration continues.
Banco de Previsión Social del Uruguay (BPS) (main institute of the Uruguayan social security system) is the body responsible for planning, coordinating and managing social security for 90% of people in Uruguay. BPS has 4,300 employees, 84 branches and manages some 55% of the State’s entire budget and 14% of the GIP (Gross Interior Product).
The BPR project
Towards the end of the 1990s, Uruguay embarked on a program of social security reform that would involve updating BPS’ IT systems. So at the end of 1998, BPS itself put out invitations to tender for: the management and co-ordination of its internal processes (known as BPR or Business Process Reengineering); the development and implementation of the corresponding IT infrastructure (hardware and software); and outsourcing of the new IT installations.
Bull was chosen, from amongst other integrators including IBM and the SONDA-TILSOR consortium, to take on responsibility for this US$23 million, three-year program.
Thanks to its new information system, BPS was able to achieve significant savings each month.
After five years, BPS was carrying out 40 million transactions a month and managing ten different databases, representing a loading of some 900GB and 1,400 concurrent users.
BPS was so happy with the quality of the products and services supplied by Bull – not to mention the commitment and expertise demonstrated by the Bull teams both during the initial three-year IT renewal project and the following four years of outsourcing and support – that it decided to renew the contract for 2006. So the successful collaboration between BPS and Bull on this project is now in its eighth year and has totaled US$35 million to date.
Six NovaScale machines for data management
In 2004, BPS chose six NovaScale servers based on Intel® Itanium® 2 processors to manage its databases.
Initially, BPS replaced its production architecture managed by four 18-CPU PowerPC servers with two eight-CPU NovaScale 5080 Itanium 2 machines. These servers run under Windows 2003 EE, and form a two-node cluster served by a 10 Terabyte storage unity managed by Oracle 9i within a SAN configuration, as the two machines are located at different sites. This migration has been achieved by Bull’s engineers in cooperation with BPS teams early 2005.
This enabled BPS to considerably reduce its processor licensing costs, while at the same time improving its processing and administration capabilities and cutting processing times. The servers also offer high availability facilities.
Following on from the success of this migration, BPS decided to replace its development and data warehouse architecture, which consisted of one four-CPU PowerPC server and four EXPRESS5800 servers, with two NovaScale 4040 machines, each with four CPUs and running under Windows 2003 EE. These two additional clusters on the SAN are also installed at separate sites and benefit from high availability functions.
In parallel, BPS acquired an architecture proof-of-concept platform, managed by Bull, consisting of two two-CPU NovaScale 4020 machines, each with 8GB RAM.
The ‘Citizens minimum income’ project: development and outsourcing
Six months after the migration of the main ‘Social security provisions’ systems to NovaScale platforms, the new political authorities in Uruguay decided to launch a National Emergency Plan, including specific founding for the ‘Ingreso Ciudadano’ or ‘Citizens minimum income’ project, designed to help disadvantaged families.
With no existing public sector body in place to deliver the new initiative, BPS was chosen to deliver the program because of its reliable administrative management, well-established infrastructure, and the quality and flexibility of the application systems is uses (developed by Bull). This latest challenge involved putting in place a way of paying the new benefits, with a number of additional factors to take into account, in a matter of days.
Beyond its managing capabilities as well as its staff and executive commitment, two key strengths enabled BPS to meet the challenge: the flexibility of the applications developed by Bull in a multi-tier, component-based architecture; and Bull’s MOSIC methodology which was applied to the development, outsourcing and project management activities and helped reduce the risks associated with the change. Two months after the Emergency Plan was announced, BPS was providing this vital new financial support to almost 16,000 underprivileged Uruguayan families, without affecting its service quality or jeopardizing the payment of other benefits; 80 000 families are now included in the Plan.
“The National Emergency Plan was implemented extremely quickly, because it was responding to extremely tough requirements for success. The significant processing capacity of our systems, excellent teamwork and experience acquired on the earlier projects were major factors that contributed to this achievement. With this innovative solution, we have gained both in quality and service performance, as we have shown that we are able to meet unexpected requirements with greater agility and efficiency.” said BPS executives.