From disparate systems to a super-scale, super performance BI platform that opens up new markets
- Create a single data warehouse
- Introduce Kanban methodology to the business
- Achieve ROI <2 years
- Create a platform that would enable them to take the business into new markets
- Microsoft Analytics Platform System (APS)
- SQL Server
- SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)
- SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
A Dedicated Engineer deployed into Covéa Insurance for a number of days each month, across the course of a year to assist with strategic planning and technical road maps
- Time taken for month-end cube process reduced by 80%
- Time to produce analytics reports reduced from 10-30 minutes to 1-2 minutes
- Scalability to support Covéa Insurance’s expansion plans for >5 years
- Opportunity to test, and successfully introduce, agile Kanban methodology
- Improved master data services and consolidation of data across sites
Learning & understanding
Serving over 1 million policyholders, Business Intelligence forms a critical part of Covéa Insurance’s plans to grow an already successful business.
They were facing the challenge of having two sites running separate database platforms, which meant different languages, different ways of analysing data, significant delays in month end reporting and data that was difficult to use effectively for the business.
“The first thing we needed to do,” explains Andrew Tomlin, BI Systems Manager at Covéa Insurance, “was decide which platform we were going to place our data warehouse bets on. With a mixture of an older version of SQL Server and Oracle in use, and such a strategic project at stake, we decided to research the entire market.”
After nine months of research into BI solution vendors, the Covéa team decided to continue with SQL Server because of their existing skill set, the lower costs associated with SQL Server and the number of successful implementations already in the market.
Microsoft recommended Coeo as an ideal partner to work with them on this project.“As soon as we met the team at Coeo we were impressed,” says Andrew. “We liked the fact that they had worked with other organisations in our industry and were clearly committed to the Microsoft platform.”
In The Know
It became clear that Covéa Insurance wanted more than a simple consolidation of data platforms. Their vision was for a highly scalable platform capable of dealing with massive amounts of data queries. We recommended the Microsoft Analytics Client: Covéa Insurance Platform System (Microsoft APS) as it would offer immediate efficiencies as well as providing enterprise-grade scalability for the future.
We worked with Microsoft to organise a Proof of Concept that would showcase the APS capabilities and demonstrate the full potential of the platform for Covéa Insurance and their particular needs.
“Microsoft APS delivers a pre-built appliance solution that reduces both time and complexity to deliver BI projects,” explains Matt Simpson, Principal BI Consultant at Coeo. “This meant we could make sure Covéa Insurance would begin to realise ROI within the first phase of the project.”
Once the way forward had been agreed, Coeo worked with Covéa Insurance to migrate existing data to the new appliance.
“Coeo’s close relationship with Microsoft really worked for us,” says Andrew. “It meant that we got great access to information that I’m not sure we would have got with another partner.”
- Andrew Tomlin, BI Systems Manager at Covéa Insurance
A new approach
Doing things differently
Alongside the change in technology, Covéa Insurance wanted to approach Business Intelligence in a new way.
Andrew picks up the story: “We wanted to demonstrate value to the business immediately and thought that using Agile principles would achieve this. However we were unsure what methodology would work best, so we asked Coeo what their experiences were.”
“Working like this was a real bonus as it meant we didn’t need to engage a third party or spend time bringing anyone new up to speed.”
Joined up business
The new Kanban approach has meant that the IT team at Covéa Insurance are working much more closely with the business on a day-to-day basis. There is no longer a lag between project scoping and delivery.
The performance improvements achieved in phase 1 have meant that month end reporting cubes have been cut back from up to 24 hours to a manageable 4-5 hours. Analytics reports have been cut from half an hour to a couple of minutes.
There are also fantastic benefits for the consolidation of data across locations resulting in faster query speeds, the introduction of Master Data Services, common language and shared methodologies which has made the data more useful to the business.
We will be working with Covéa Insurance to create a consolidated data warehouse that runs up to 100x faster than their previous solution, providing near real-time reporting and a centralised, secure, super-performing platform to take their business forward.
Thanks to the scale and coverage that is inherent with Microsoft APS, the solution will last Covéa Insurance more than five years with no extra hardware needed. The business will also continue to benefit from using the Kanban methodology seeing regular results for the business by working on fixed project components that take weeks, rather than months.
“I can see that what we’re building today means that the large volumes of data we’re expecting will be easy to manage and users are already benefiting from vastly improved query performance times,” Andrew concludes. “Coeo really have made our lives easier.”
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