Six Ways to Make Your Business Intelligence Smarter
Aug., 2012 – To gain more insight and value from their BI investments, insurers will need to go further toward the holistic view by taking six key actions.
1. Establish a core set of data most relevant to the entire enterprise. Establishing this core set of data is critical for several reasons. It prioritizes the data requirements of the BI solution, provides direction on where to focus any data remediation activities, and provides a focus for where to start to implement end-to-end data management solutions. Such solutions include the use of tools and governance to ensure that the enterprise produces a consistent set of high quality, standards-conformed data for ongoing analysis and consumption. It also makes certain that the BI focus is enterprise-wide rather than being slanted toward a single information user, such as actuary or finance. This action is complex given the array of systems and diversity of information users that insurers typically employ; still, it is critical to the usability of the data for BI solutions.
2. Establish core governance to manage values and definitions. The right governance, with common language and terms, provides for higher data integrity and useful insights. Most carriers recognize the importance of an enterprise Data Dictionary, Data Stewards and Data Governance Council initiatives to support data governance, however only 27 percent have these in place and more than 40 percent have no plans to introduce such initiatives over the next 12 months. 6 Controlled data management goes beyond just governance, however. It includes the active, ongoing quality evaluation and management of critical data to ensure that governed information remains of the highest quality, aligned to consistently conformed standards.
According to Brian Pagano, Chief IT Architect at Guardian Life, the fourth largest mutual life insurance company in the United States, governance extends beyond a decision-making process, and must be at the core of every corporate process. Guardian Life implemented an enterprise level unit that is charged with evaluating and acquiring new technologies, and has admitted to fielding an increasing number of technology requests from the marketing department. This central team drives technology evaluations based on the needs, strategies and requirements of the business, essentially eliminating the scenario where one department invests in a point solution that cannot integrate into the corporate infrastructure.
3. Start controlled clean-up efforts. While insurers are often data rich, they also have a lot of data quality issues. Insurers need to do some clean-up of existing and historical data in parallel with instituting data management solutions to improve data quality. This type of clean-up should be driven by the importance of the data and the ROI of the clean-up. For example, a clean-up effort to improve customer data and, perhaps, years of customer history, could be very valuable. Fixing old underwriter information, on the other hand, might be less useful and warrant less of an investment (if any).
4. Rapidly develop tools for business use. Analytics-based tools can help insurers more easily conduct data analysis and mining to identify metrics, trends, interrelationships and anomalies. Internet-enabled scorecards, dashboards, reporting and interactive analytics tools are being incorporated into many insurance processes, such as the front office, claims or customer relationship management. Advanced tools that can analyze both structured and unstructured data in real time help insurers better predict behavior and take action ahead of an incident, such as in the detection and identification of insurance fraud. One analytics tool that can improve agent performance is the Accenture High-Performance Sales Force Analyzer, which can give insurers a detailed profile of the specific characteristics of their best agents on a territory-specific basis. Insurers can use this profile to hire and retain high-potential agents who match the profile, as well as establish training and performance management programs that encourage and enable all agents to emulate the behaviors, attitudes, and attributes of high performers within their organization.
5. Embed intelligence into reports. Rather than simply displaying information, reports need to be intelligent enough to highlight areas that need executive attention. This action requires insurers to first explore with a fresh and open perspective how best to use information to improve their business performance. What information do you need to know; what does the business care about? What metrics and benchmarks will tell you whether your business is running at high or low performance? How will you interpret, for example, if the number of claim occurrences is higher than the actuary predicted? Insurers also need to establish parameters to identify issues and trends, employ intelligent graphics for multi-dimensional analysis, and train managers to interpret the reports to determine the right action to take in response to the insight.
6. Build solutions that offer broad and granular insight. Insurance executives need to be able to look at the enterprise-level picture and then drill down to lower tiers of granularity as needed. The big value of BI is gaining access to information that highlight business issues that need attention with enough detail to better understand and resolve them. In essence, holistic BI gets managers closer to the business problem in need of a solution. For example, business leaders with only submission information may see that business is down from the previous year, but not understand why. With advanced reporting tools that analyze and evaluate the information across regions, products, brokers, and underwriters in a dynamic fashion, executives can discover that the root cause of problem is tied to a single broker where the underwriter handling the relationship recently left the company. This insight would then help point to a strategy to resolve the issue.
Make your business intelligence smarter
With business taking the helm, insurance companies have a significant opportunity and somewhat of an obligation to tap the untapped last mile of business intelligence. There, insurers’ huge amounts of data can be filtered through sophisticated analytics to enable faster decisions, concrete actions, better business operations, and growth.
To help insurers move toward high performance, Accenture Information Management Services developed the Accenture Business Intelligence (BI) Solution for Insurance-an integrated suite of applications that meets insurers’ need for business intelligence, from raw data metrics to detailed what-if analytics. The solution integrates fully with industry-standard systems; it is built on the Business Objects platform, and will be made available for other platforms such as SAS, Cognos and Microsoft. The Accenture BI Solution for Insurance consists of four core components:
- Enterprise Metrics Management (EMM)-a unique offering encompassing the strategy, process, and technology components needed to ensure quick access to appropriate and consistent performance metrics via tailored, rules-based executive dashboards.
- Reporting-providing insurers with comprehensive reporting capabilities based on Web intelligence reports that drill down to the enterprise metrics and provide detailed, flexible real-time intelligence on the company’s performance against any chosen indicators.
- What-If Analytics and Scenario Planning-sophisticated modeling capabilities that enable performance data drawn from the EMM and reporting modules to be tested and trailed against changes in any chosen combination of variables. This allows executives to model, in advance, the impact and interdependencies that would arise from any given management action.
- Insurance Data Migration Factory-this unique facility specializes in doing one thing effectively; transfering data from aging systems to new BI systems. Once converted and cleansed, insurers can then analyze information across multiple platforms and tools. The Factory has conducted more than 80 conversions and migrated more than 45 million policies and accounts.
Putting Business Analysis to work
The Accenture BI Solution for Insurance operates through an accessible, userfriendly graphical interface, with clear and consistent use of dashboards, charts, and colors. All three of the core elements-EMM, reporting and analytics-are integrated in a single solution, with seamless and interlinked use of the same performance data across each application.
By combining Enterprise Metrics Management, reporting, and what-if analytics, insurance companies have a cost-effective and easy-to-implement solution encompassing all the elements needed to support better decision-making and achieve high performance.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 249,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. Its home page is www.accenture.com.