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Bridging the Gap to Big Data and Analytics

At a recent meeting of the Insurance 2023 Group, one of the members suggested that Analytics was going to create a divide between the “haves” (those insurers/brokers which have access to and understanding of data and analytic tools) and the “have-nots.” There seems to be a gap already forming. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to bridge that gap, using knowledge available at the 2013 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference.

Mind the Gap

A recent post on eMarketer indicates that Canadian companies are lagging behind the rest of the world in the use of Big Data. Based on IDC research done by SAS, 75% of survey respondents worldwide had analytic tools in use to interpret Big Data, but less than 50% of Canadian companies (primarily financial services, retail, telecom, and utilities) had begun to work with Big Data.

More significantly, according to eMarketer, 15% of executives had no plans for working with Big Data.  Further, while the rest of the world had senior executive leading data projects, the corresponding statistic in Canada was one-third, with 25% of Canadian companies relegating the project to IT (versus 4% worldwide).

There is Understanding at the Industry Leadership Level

There is no lack of interest or urgency from insurers.  We recently reviewed a white paper prepared by SMA – Strategy Meets Action and distributed by SAS on use of Big Data and Analytics by insurers.  The white paper noted that these data and the accompanying analytic skills would be the competitive advantage for insurers in future and recommended a disciplined approach to achieve competence in the use of these tools.  These recommendations were underscored  at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario Conference CEO panel.

If the rest of the world agrees that Big Data and Analytics are critical for business generally, and Canadian insurer CEOs concur for our industry, what is holding us back?  Perhaps it is fear of the unknown.

An Opportunity to Bridge the Gap

One of the key focus areas at the 2013 ICTC is the strategic and tactical use of data and analytics.  We’re privileged to have speakers  from the analyst, supplier, and practitioner communities offering solid knowledge of data, Big Data, and analytic tools presenting on strategic and tactical issues

For example, Stuart Rose, from SAS is preparing a session on “The Analytical Insurer: What Does Big Data really mean for Insurers?” which will examine how insurers are using analytics in various aspects of insurance, what competitive advantages can be gained, and how to overcome challenges in implementation of a beneficial analytics initiative.

TD Financial Group is facing the challenge of managing its rapidly expanding customer base.  Parin Kothari, Business Architecture Consultant, TD Bank Financial Group will be explaining how his group is facing the challenge of modelling the ecosystem and building a long term approach that adapts to the changing customer preferences, privacy & regulatory developments, and technology maturity in his presentation TD: Data Leads to the Future.

Insurance-Canada.ca is continuing to add content to the agenda as participation is confirmed.  You can stay up to date at the 2013 Conference: Topics and Speakers page.  Registration and information is available on-line.

Your Turn

We hope to see you March 18-19, 2013 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto (Downtown).  Meanwhile, we welcome your thoughts about Big Data.  Is it a big deal for you?  Have you worked your way over the gap, or have a strategy you’d like to share.  Leave your thoughts below.

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