An International Insurance Underwriter Pilots a Unified Financial Management System


A globally unified finance function helps firms to meet the challenges of maintaining alignment with priorities, allocating resources optimally, responding quickly to change and managing complexity and risk. Our client used a proof of concept and then a pilot to develop a global consensus on a unified financial management information system – one that would meet the full range of needs across the global organisation.


The Vision


The company is a diversified insurance company with operations around the globe. The finance function is unified with global reach and wanted a similarly unified and global management information system.


A unified solution had to meet a demanding set of criteria; it had to provide the performance monitoring capabilities required in each part of the organisation and at each level. It had to provide not just the highest level of reporting, but also the ability to drill down to detail, even to claim detail. The shared information had to be accessible from anywhere in the world with complete security. People at all levels needed the ability to analyze, interpret and respond to changes in the market, customers and competitors.


The solution had to meet the aspirations of a demanding set of users; the senior finance executives and their reports from units around the world and particularly the aspiration to be independent of IS support, with the freedom to explore information widely and intuitively – the desire to self-serve. Performance had to be fast.
The solution also had to comply with the company’s technology standards; specifically use of the Microsoft BI stack.


Delivering the Vision


Thorogood’s experience in the insurance industry, along with our deep knowledge of the Microsoft tools, allowed our consultants to take a proactive approach. We were able to help business users make the most of the self-serve capabilities offered by the technology.


Thorogood developed a proof of concept that demonstrated what could be achieved with the latest Microsoft technologies. The subsequent pilot phase proved it could work with data from the head office, and helped the finance heads representing globally-dispersed operations to achieve consensus on the system requirements and a shared commitment to create it.

The proof of concept featured two models, an Analysis Services Multidimensional cube and an Analysis Services Tabular Model. Users were able to analyze in Excel against more than 1.9 billion records with a response time in seconds.


Both models were surfaced in SharePoint and accessed through Excel, Excel Services, Reporting Services, and PerformancePoint Services. Because the users were familiar with Excel, connecting the Analysis Services models through Excel Pivot Tables gave the user unprecedented access to the rich data within their organization. The business now had the ability to drill from high levels to individual claims. Prior to the new application, the finance function was dependent on IS experts to retrieve detailed information on transactions and removing this bottleneck was a priority for the new application.


After careful consideration between the two models, Thorogood advised the client to proceed to the Pilot phase by focusing on the Analysis Services Multidimensional model. We achieved sophisticated reporting options in addition to optimizing a drill-through process to policy and claim details, giving the company a robust and flexible business intelligence system.


A small Thorogood team consisting of 3 US and one Bangalore based consultant worked closely with the client’s head office Finance team and Information Management Services to establish an environment, pull in the data from disparate systems and align it, and develop models that met the needs of Finance. The ability of a small but global team to work across time zones reduced the project’s elapsed time. The whole Proof of Concept, from start to presentation to 40 finance people was achieved in four weeks. The Pilot that followed took six months, had a focus on head office and delivered a global set of data.

 


Next Steps


Having achieved a global consensus on the unified system and a shared commitment from finance managers to participate, the company is proceeding with a global rollout of the application. The next phase will also include information on consolidations, allowing the many subsidiaries of the company to accurately report their data across the financial organization.

 


Want to Know More?


If you would like to know more about what can be achieved with Business Intelligence & Analytics and would like to discuss your options with an independent specialist, please get in touch with Evelyn Heyes in the UK (evelyn.heyes@thorogood.com) or Trevor Jones in the US (trevor.jones@thorogood.com)