Agile BI Implementation

Centric delivered an extensible data warehouse based on the Centric BI Architecture Framework to flexibly analyze data and streamline operations

The Business Need

As a notable insurance carrier specializing in P&C commercial and personal lines, Centric’s client always had analytics and reporting functions within the organization. What they needed, however, was a coherent BI strategy to integrate analytics into everyday business functions. Analysts needed easy access to dissect information other than by using static-structure reporting developed by IT. Furthermore, the company needed a central repository for enterprise data that could be extended and easily accessed.

At the time, many departments lacked the ability to manage by metrics and relied on business experience to make decisions. While this approach had served the company well over the years, executives recognized the need to move toward verifiable information-backed management of the company.

Two significant barriers existed to achieving this goal:

  1. Sufficient support from the business for prior initiatives had been lacking. Previous efforts were championed by IT but lacked momentum to penetrate into daily operations.
  2. Data was spread across multiple systems and had never been integrated in an extensible enterprise data warehouse (EDW).

Centric’s High-Impact Approach

The company partnered with Centric to establish enterprise BI in their organization to resolve these barriers. The first phase of work focused on developing sponsorship from stakeholders on the business side of the company.

Centric worked with VPs from multiple departments to capture User Stories. These use cases targeted existing pain points around decision making and planning. Over a period of several months, the executive team boiled down a large backlog into three high-priority User Stories.

From there, the executive team – now functioning as a BI Steering Committee – selected Workers Compensation Analytics as a focus for the initial EDW build. This subject matter was selected for its alignment with corporate business strategy as well as the commitment of Workers Comp business resources to guide development.

Over a period of 11 weeks, a Centric development team established the BI technical foundation and delivered Workers Comp Analytics. The solution leveraged the Microsoft BI stack including Integration Services, Analysis Services, Excel and Reporting Services. The project was run as a true Agile Business Intelligence project, an area of expertise for Centric.

At the conclusion of this effort, Centric delivered an extensible data warehouse based on the Centric BI Architecture Framework. Data was integrated across policy and claims administration systems, exposing a consolidated view of commercial lines business. Analysts were now able to flexibly analyze the entire Workers Comp data space, including 48 attributes and 15 metrics spanning policies, claims, elements and payments.

The Results

The company can now analyze Workers Comp data, answering questions that were previously unanswerable without extensive manual data manipulation. For example, the company now has the ability to manage adjuster workloads, better understand relationships between claim experience and risk, make better decisions regarding settlements and identify opportunities for loss prevention (by industry and for individual customers).

The deployed solution exactly met the expectations of business users. This was due to continuous communication between the product owner and the development team throughout the project.

One of the most profound outcomes of this project was the widespread expressed desire by executives (outside of claims) to have similar analytic capability in their departments.

Through this partnership with Centric, the company achieved several important goals in their organization:

  • Established grass-roots excitement for BI that is being driven by business executives rather than by IT.
  • Advanced Workers Comp Analytics capability in a platform that is ready for integration with other operational systems and subject areas.
  • Implemented a governance framework for expanding and penetrating BI into the organization.