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Summary Database System (SDS)

SDS upgrades actuarial spreadsheets to be production solutions. SDS empowers actuaries yet is IT friendly.


What is SDS?

SDS is a desktop client application integrated with SQL server databases. Its architecture has evolved by solving real actuarial problems for the past 20 years. The system consists of multiple databases containing tables with optimized relationships. It has an intuitive user interface that requires minimal staff training. Once installed, actuaries can import data, run calculations, and create ad hoc reports without SQL knowledge. Business logic is stored in a central location and can be integrated with source code control, which stores revisions. The role-based access control restricts access to authorized users. User roles are configurable, giving actuaries the keys to a powerful system without IT intervention (see roles chart).

Dave Kester, FSA MAAA, President of Coaching Actuaries.

SDS Roles

SDS Advantages

  • Enables immediate focus on the actuarial business problem
  • Flexible framework for data management with trending and controls
  • Tightly integrated system
  • Customizable user roles

Case Study

Read an example of how SDS streamlined a modeling process for a large international insurance company.

The Problem
The initial system was an overwhelming complexity of spreadsheets and macros. Most spreadsheets were duplicates of a master copy, documentation was lacking, and controls were poor. Spreadsheets were independent with different formulas and business rules. Management wanted a strategy to 1) give actuaries control of the business logic with minimal internal IT dependence, 2) satisfy auditors, 3) minimize mistakes from manual processes, and 4) manage IT and actuarial staff turnover.

The Solution
To create the optimal solution, we install SDS customized to your company’s environment. This enables you to create and support multiple environments, such as development, staging, and production, if desired.  These environments allow you to deploy changes systematically and reliably. Business rules are visible and centrally located. Revisions of business logic are kept in source code control and transferred between environments using the client application. You can create new calculation databases without IT.

SDS Workflow

Converting to SDS produced major improvements. Importing and calculating data is fast. Ad hoc reports are understandable. Actuaries without programming or query skills can modify formulas. A variable audit report documents formula relationships from a top-down view. Output is stored in a secure database but is easy to retrieve and trend.

That’s the power of SDS. If you are not satisfied with your actuarial spreadsheets, contact us. We can make them better.

Call us to learn how SDS can solve your actuarial problems.