Financial Services

Cloud Analytics

Universal Insurer Looks at Speed and Flexibility of Cloud BI Platform

Clients prize a global insurance giant for its custom coverage, product diversity and worldwide presence. Specialized offerings in multiple markets have cemented the company’s foothold as an industry trailblazer. When leaders here wanted to increase service speed and agility, they explored the possibility of expanding their business intelligence platform to the cloud.

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Collaborating with BlueGranite, the company explored a cloud computing proof-of-concept project to enhance the capabilities of its robust, internally implemented data platform. The company wanted to find the best way to give employees, whether in London or Los Angeles, access to data on demand, to empower them to make informed decisions in moments.

For many companies, a cloud-based BI platform can offer a cost-effective and secure way to quickly capture and analyze massive quantities of unstructured data coming from multiple sources. Making sense of this constant stream of information can deepen customer engagement and drive revenue.

The insurer was at the tail end of a multiyear effort to develop its data warehouse and self-service BI system – one that integrates a large number of different data points from across the entire organization. But as the system had grown, so has its complexity. Interdependent parts can make adding new data to the process difficult and slow. The company’s platform was designed to load data overnight to be available to users in the morning, but it often took longer. Determined to get ahead of potential performance issues and delays, the company partnered with BlueGranite to explore ways to increase system speed and flexibility.

The BI platform was built on sound decisions, with the right combination of technologies, but the data wasn’t always available quickly, and user demand was coming close to outpacing server performance. Users wanted the system to show information from more sources. And the company wanted to keep the entire data history of multiple source systems. The architecture made these desires difficult and costly. But by moving some of the workload to the cloud, the company had the opportunity to gain a secure platform, with massive processing power for potentially unlimited amounts of data, without the investment or upkeep costs of onsite hardware.

Our collaboration revealed that many of the company’s system processes were designed to run in a serial fashion, much like a one-lane road. We identified ways to increase parallel processing of data, opening more lanes to speed things up. We proposed changes to simplify system code development, to make adding additional data sources easier and faster. We also quantitatively measured the insurer’s SQL Server performance and storage, identifying storage bottlenecks and resolutions. We showcased solutions complementary to the enterprise data warehouse that were effective for archiving and performing sandbox analytics –  a space for data experimentation separate from the production environment.  

The system discoveries and technology additions offered one way to free up the company’s BI platform – to give users access to data when needed, cut out unexpected delays, and, most important, allow analysis of data in different ways to answer new questions.

If your organization is interested in exploring a cloud data initiative, let BlueGranite help. Contact us today!