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SAS® Visual Analytics plays pivotal role in new risk-aware analytics culture

When this specialist insurance service provider implemented an end-to-end platform to establish a data-driven analytics culture, packaged implementation services helped reduce costs and minimise internal effort

Working with leading retail banks and mobile network operators, this specialist provider of account services, security, backup and insurance helps around eight million UK consumers. "The business wanted to create a far stronger data-driven analytics culture across its operations to support its continued growth and, with a particular focus on its underwriting team, to help with claims and managing risk on the books," says Joshua Fisher, Client Manager, SAS.

However, the company faced various challenges in achieving this, including poor quality data, and data residing in multiple sources and different formats. With Microsoft SQL and Excel tools in use, too much time was spent on collating, preparing and issuing manual reports; the business recognised it needed far more powerful and in-depth analytics capabilities.

A competitive situation

"The opportunity was to develop a completely new self-service business intelligence platform, including integrated analytics and enabling easy reporting," says Fisher. This was also a competitive situation: a SAS consulting and implementation partner was already working with the customer, and was eventually able to propose and deliver the platform. This incorporates various SAS® technologies and solutions including data integration and data quality; statistical analyses ranging from 'traditional' analysis of variance and regressions to visualisation; forecasting; an easy-to-use interface in the form of SAS® Enterprise Guide®; and reports generated in SAS® Visual Analytics.

Prior to this, however, a competitive reporting tool was the customer's preferred choice following a proof of concept. It soon became clear this product offered only basic BI dashboards with no integrated analytics, and no road map for analytics maturity. Other shortcomings included the need to load data manually, and data manipulation requiring SQL-like commands. Yet another solution was in use at group level: while this offered more functionality, it was expensive and still lacked wide-ranging analytics functionality. By contrast, SAS Visual Analytics is specifically designed to provide deeper insights through more engaging exploratory analysis. Multiple users can explore "Big Data" volumes simultaneously, applying high-performance analytics rapidly. The software also enables information gleaned from data discovery to be more easily shared and understood through, for example, highly visual reports and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), via the web and mobile devices. And who better to help plan and oversee implementation than the company behind the technology?

Fast and focused implementation

"Quick Start for Visual Analytics is a cost-effective package of services," says Paul Evans, Customer Services Manager. "In this case, it meant providing the customer with a single server, a single non-distributed environment at their premises, with an implementation timeline of seven elapsed working days and for a fixed price.

"We were happy to proceed with implementation on the basis that we all understood the data volumes involved, the different types of data, number of users, and intended use of the software. That preliminary work, and putting together the prerequisites for the solution, was done by our partner, who then handled the actual implementation." Quick Start also provides a base level of knowledge transfer to the main individual tasked with running and maintaining the software in-house.

"This pre-packaged approach helped minimise implementation costs for the customer and greatly reduced the effort and input required from them, while ensuring the visual analytics software bundle was deployed on time, within scope and to a high degree of quality," says Ross Hammett, SAS Professional Services. "This is about flexibility and doing what it takes to give a customer what they need in a way that's wholly appropriate and mutually beneficial."

He adds, "For the customer, bringing all those disparate data sources together and gaining new analytics and reporting capabilities mean they've significantly streamlined and improved management information reporting and forecasting. They also have new insights to assess risk in multiple areas and so better protect their business. Visual analytics is playing a key role in enabling that new analytics culture to emerge and develop."

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Specialist insurance service provider

Business Issue:
Rapidly deploy a powerful data access, analytics and BI reporting solution as part of an end-to-end platform
Integrated implementation services via a cost-effective Quick Start package for SAS Visual Analytics: consulting, requirements gathering, installation, configuration and knowledge transfer
Fast, quality assured and cost-effective implementation of powerful new analytics capabilities to improve data sharing, analysis and reporting – better supporting the business by establishing a robust data-driven analytics culture and risk awareness across the organisation

"This pre-packaged approach helped minimise implementation costs for the customer while ensuring SAS® Visual Analytics was deployed on time, within scope and to a high degree of quality."

Ross Hammett

SAS Professional Services

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