Reported by: banking|Updated: October 27, 2014
V. Ananthanarayanan, Vice President for Business Insights at HDFC Life Insurance shares the challenges and benefits of Business Intelligence solution in a conversation with Sairaj Iyer:
What has been the background and need for the implementation of a BI tool?
We were faced with few challenges which needed urgent attention. Some of them were the high cost of information and time to retrieve this information. There also was the risk of silos proliferating which was considered too risky and costly to maintain. Data/information always carries a redundancy risk, and inherently posed various versions of one truth. At the operational level, there was limited scope for perspective of big picture and to analyze data to impact business processes, thus hampering delivery of highest value information flow.
From the architectural or infrastructural challenge, our existing infrastructure could not respond fast enough, and the availability of too many sources and too much change overwhelmed the old model. Like the old adage says, the practice was similar to cooking when hungry. Users and analysts were not willing to wait any longer for data/information. Add to this the management expectations that they needed to know something which was unknown rather than simple facts which only confirmed the gut.
Why did the organization go with Qlikview?
We found QlikView as the most flexible business intelligence platform for turning data into knowledge. Our users could easily consolidate, search, and visually analyze all their data for unprecedented business insight using QlikView’s simplicity. Effective decision-making is based on having the right information available and easy accessible.
It takes minutes to learn, and the automatic associations of QlikView creates endless possibilities for making ad hoc queries without requiring tediously defined structures and hierarchies. QlikView breaks out of the gridlock of the traditional BI world, where business users and developers spend months documenting and coding these requirements into dashboards, analysis, and reports, using different products for each output. Pulling data into QlikView takes minutes because data is not required to be staged or stored in intermediary formats such as data warehouses or cubes although QlikView can source data from these systems.
The other tools that we checked such as Cognos, SAP, we were not satisfied with the ease of use. With this complete BI solution, developers have one place to build, instead of having to use separate BI tools for dashboards, analysis and reports. Finally, the resulting QlikView application provides powerful associative search and data visualization capabilities that allow business users to view their own slice of the underlying data. Often one QlikView application can replace hundreds of reports and the cubes used for them, reducing the need to IT support and time delays.
What have been the post implementation benefits?
It has firstly enabled strong performance management platform – not just a reporting tool but action based dashboards. The operations efficiency improvement leads to better customer experience. An intuitive interface, enables users to explore data without much training.
We saw enhancement in our customer retention by 18%. A big leap of our customer satisfaction score, drastic reduction in TATs thus ensuring service promises being delivered without much exception. Reduction in overall TATs for policy life cycle was also one of the crucial benefits. There has been a cost optimization in terms of human resources, and other modes of development within the organization.
What have been the features of the Qlikview interface?
The interface is seamless. Users spend more time analyzing data than collecting it-information is made available in a few clicks which helps us take informed decisions rather than gut feel. On the users-control types perspective, we have user types such as decision makers and power data users.
Qlikview also offers dashboards, this is a comprehensive dashboard for business heads to understand movement of their KPIs. The interface is quite easy for business users. The intuitive interface is extremely easy to navigate or filter to the desired level of detail. Multiple verticals were covered thus providing a bigger horizon of information – Qlikview caters to various verticals viz sales, human-resources, operations, customer-service and finance.
What were the challenges during the implementation and how were these addressed?
We approached the implementation differently. We proactively hedged ourselves against the possible challenges. As an outcome of our discussions with various organizations (who have completed such implementations), we enlisted the possible challenges and proactively took actions. Our best blessing was sponsorship and subscription to the program from our top management.
What insights have been uncovered post the implementation?
The response is straight and simple. We now take informed decisions. Reach out to right customers, predict the response to an action and forecast our business more accurately.
Though life insurance business continues to be a push business, we are able to leverage analytics and analysis to manufacture right products for right category/segment, and able to optimise our resources based on quite accurate predictions/forecasts. We moved from merely monitoring to a culture of constant and periodic review.
We managed to uncover flaws in our processes and reduced our reaction time. The best innovation is a indicator module which helps the organisation to predict probable misbehaviour in the selling process. This has help to bring down the misbehaviour like mis-sale, etc.
How does the BI tool impact data discovery and management of data?
Over the past several years, there has been growing recognition of the substantial advantages that organizations can enjoy by shifting the focus of their business intelligence efforts from IT-driven to user-driven business discovery. Gartner refers to this type of BI as Data Discovery. In this new user-driven model, IT still plays a critical role as they maintain responsibility for the hallmarks of well run enterprise IT including performance, scalability, security, and governance. However, in user-driven BI models, IT delivers an ecosystem for business discovery rather than specific, overly-defined business reports. This more flexible, open model for delivering BI encourages better IT-business partnership and fosters more collaboration and innovation. The flexibility and interactivity of business discovery applications can have a profoundly positive impact on an organization’s ability to drive value from their data investments. And, providing this capability within a managed and governed environment allows the organization to maintain control over their data and help ensure that they are able to make the most of the efforts through reuse.
How has integration of mobile BI helped decision making?
One of the key criteria for us selecting a BI solution was to have a mobility aspect. QlikView has a unique approach to delivering insight on the go. There is a fundamental difference between providing predefined reports with limited data on mobile devices, and enabling true business discovery for mobile workers. This key distinction is articulated, along with supporting information that highlights the value mobile business discovery can offer when leveraged as an integral component to decision making. Mobile users need answers, and they typically can’t wait until they are back in the office to ask colleagues or request new reports. Immediate response to new questions and follow-up questions can make or break a deal or decision for a mobile worker. With reporting, it is often too late to capture these critical opportunities in the field.
The opportunity to generate value in a mobile setting goes far beyond static information delivery. With the right capabilities, business users can unlock significant potential and bring the full power of their information to the time and place where decisions are made. Traditional BI architectures typically require new mobile reporting layers on top of already complex stacks. In contrast, QlikView offers a unified architecture for delivering cross-platform business discovery capabilities on mobile. QlikView delivers data exploration capabilities across platforms. QlikView Server recognizes mobile devices and delivers touch-enabled apps for those devices as needed. There are no additional stack layers, data transfers, report customizations, or duplicate security models required.
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