Cincom VisualWorks Application
Founded in 1828, MMA is a French mutual insurance group with a client base of more than 3 million individuals, professionals, businesses, communities and associations. Because of its dedicationto provide the very best service to its clients, in the 1990’s, MMA sought to develop two systems for handling sales and claims thatcould be easily upgraded as needed with new or improved functions.
In order to do so, MMA required a development platform thatallowed them to incorporate system parameterisation and an easy-to-use GUI. The previous system used a rules-based engine, but it didnot perform well, nor did it allow for the construction of a complexindustry model.
After studying Uniface, NS-DK/2 and PAQ CS, MMA chose a solution to be built with Cincom Smalltalk. Jér me Bruneau, Head of Architecture and Technologies for MMA, was responsible for developing the concept of the new technology. He explained that the most important criteria in the search was that the chosen environment be a stable platform well-established in the market. He felt that Smalltalk was an equally mature and flexible development environment that allowed them to attain their key goals. Smalltalk also appealed to Jér me Bruneau because of its abstraction level and its ability to build a meta model that permits the construction of a complex industry model. Compared to other technologies, Smalltalk was also more accessible allowing developers new to the language to get a quick start. The reuse of objects plus the ease andcomfort the developers felt when using Smalltalk were very beneficial. In tests, Smalltalk also proved to be the best-performing development environment.
SIGMMA and PAVS currently handle MMA’s over 3 millioncustomers and 690 products that are all parameterised inthe Smalltalk systems. All different interfaces – includingto varied MMA-internal groups and external agencies –are parameterised, too. Over 11,300 users from aroundthe world are supported simultaneously on any given day,accessing more than 120 different applications. Forexample, one of the monthly batch processes treats120,000 contracts per hour.Applications developed are constantly being updated.System modifications have allowed for increased speed,and a special tool was developed to quickly implementnew products.