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Integrated Quick Start services ensure a rapid route to analytics

Packaged professional services from a trusted source meant the fastest route to implementation, enabling this successful insurer to improve data access, analysis and business reporting.

Insurers depend on market knowledge, customer insight and effective pricing – with powerful analytics increasingly providing the key to success. This particular insurance company, part of a Fortune 100 US-based international group, was already a significant player in the Irish marketplace, providing individuals, businesses and brokers with car, home and other insurance products. Its continued business growth had resulted in a growing appetite for improved data access, manipulation, analysis and reporting capabilities.

"While the company does work through brokers and intermediaries, its direct business for both the UK and Ireland is headquartered in Ireland, and that includes its IT operations," says Ross Hammett, SAS® Professional Services. With plans in place to create a new centre of excellence for Actuarial Pricing, he says, "They already had our technology on the desktop, so we started a conversation about how they might enhance and extend their approach. In particular, they were interested in upgrading to a server to support growing user numbers, partly due to the new centre of excellence, to deal with the 'Big Data' volumes anticipated, and to benefit from all the other stuff a server approach brings, including data sharing, enhanced security and greater control."

To support growing requirements in pricing, underwriting and claims, the business opted to deploy SAS® Office Analytics, with SAS Professional Services providing a targeted Quick Start implementation. "This technology is an easy way to access and benefit from SAS analytics in a familiar Microsoft environment," Hammett says. "If you want to perform more powerful data manipulation and analysis, you don't have to settle for the more simplistic approach offered by Excel and other desktop tools."

Requirements gathering

Hammett continues, "Quick Start for Office Analytics is a package of services, a starting point, so we and our delivery partners can provide certain customers with an appropriately focused response to implement a specific solution. It aims to minimise implementation effort on the customer side, and people do find it's an effective way to implement on time, in scope and to the required level of quality." In this case, integrated services covered five days' consulting, including targeted Phase Zero activity and a requirements gathering workshop; analysis of those requirements; and creating an Architectural Plan, later reviewed on a conference call. The focused nature of Quick Start means installation and configuration is typically handled remotely, although in this case the delivery team worked on-site. The package also provides a base level of knowledge transfer to the primary individual tasked with running the software in-house.

Implementing quickly and effectively

"We ran into a few challenges, including delays on the customer side," says Paul Evans, Customer Services Manager. "For example, it was a struggle to get the internal IT team to prioritise this project. We also realised our project prerequisites and recommendations hadn't been acted on. In particular, the hardware was under-specified compared to what we'd recommended. Consequently, the customer recognised and agreed that we needed an additional two days to complete what they needed." A SAS delivery partner successfully installed the solution.

Hammett adds, "Our professional services clients expect us to deliver for them as quickly and effectively as possible, at the time they want us to. They view us as a trusted adviser, and our role as ensuring that the software is implemented in the right ways and can start delivering value fast. On behalf of the customer, we need to take all factors into consideration, including internal requirements, time scales, budget, and resources available to us. So this is about coming up with the right solution given the circumstances. In this case, it meant recognising the issues they'd run into, coming up with a revised plan, and then using the capacity and resources of a proven delivery partner to make it happen within the time scales they wanted."

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Business Issue:
Rapidly deploy a new analytics solution – gain value from the software in the shortest time frame
Integrated services via a cost-effective Quick Start package to implement a SAS Office Analytics solution: Consulting, Phase Zero/Requirements Gathering, Architectural Plan, remote Installation and Configuration
Fast and cost-effective installation of an analytics solution to underpin a growing business, and support a new centre of excellence for Actuarial Pricing: targeted expertise, resources and knowledge transfer via SAS® Professional Services and its delivery partner

"Our role is to ensure that the software is implemented in the right ways and can start delivering value fast. Quick Start for Office Analytics is an effective way to implement on time, in scope and to the required quality."

Ross Hammett

SAS Professional Services

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