Has there ever been a better time to engage with your data?

Back in the day, the barriers to accessing all your rich company data to gain meaningful insights were too complex, the cost too great, and by the time you’d developed a solution, your business model could have changed so much that the solution was already showing signs of being outdated.

So, what’s an insurance broker to do? Like many, you rely on your spreadsheet ‘king’ or ‘queen’ to provide you with the info you need, as and when you need it. You look at the big picture and if it shows that things are up, all is good. If not, you ask why. Then rely on the feedback from others for answers. What more can you do?

As technology has advanced, it has enabled tools to be developed, such as the BROKER-i system, which allows you to quickly access factual information that can help you better understand your business.

As an insurance data expert, with over 20 years’ experience working with many tools & numerous datasets, I can tell you that you’ve never had it so good. Today you have access to tools that will not cost the earth (in fact some are free - more on that later). These can provide solutions that are easy to understand and offer real insight, whilst doing so in a timely fashion.

Let’s pop back in time for a moment… Back to a time not so long ago when to collate & process all that rich and insightful data, you may have needed to employ an expert data developer, who then had to try to understand your business before they could start to do their job. Or go the whole hog, and also hire a business analyst who would act as an interpreter between your employees, who understood how everything works, and the data developer.  You needed to spend big money on the software that would be used to process the data (to allow you to view the results of the employees’ work), and hopefully, at the end of this lengthy process, produce something that you could understand and use.  This was indeed painful.

Today, you now have access to various solutions that remove that pain. They’ve been developed to allow business users access to the wealth of data that businesses crave. One of the choices and my personal favourite is Microsoft’s Power BI. It has a free version, but should you need the pro version then there is a small monthly cost.

Data solutions like Power BI offer a complete and incredibly powerful package for managing data. If we take transactional data, for example, you can monitor sales from New Business, Transferred or Renewed; by branch, insurer, policy type, etc. and see how that changes over time. Options such as mapping the locations of your customers are excellent tools to utilise. You can drill down to the details you want to see – and how you want to see them.  There are a plethora of options to experiment with until you find what works for your business model. You can even access all of this from your phone.

In addition, Power BI also allows you to create workflow processes which once built can be reused repeatedly, saving you plenty of time. Through our BROKER-i system, we’ve helped our customers build processes for tasks that may have previously taken a couple of hours to complete, and which can now be run in a matter of seconds. Moreover, these new processes are robust as they will always follow the exact flow you need them to. So, no more doubt as to whether the information is correct.

And who manages this for you? It’s the very same people you have been using all along, the spreadsheet ‘kings and queens’. Power BI originates from Excel, so it has a familiarity about it that lends itself to Excel users. Microsoft provides extensive online training, and I mean extensive. There are also people like myself on hand to help you do the heavy lifting. With a little help, Power BI can be up and running in your business quickly, with staff trained to use it effectively.

Take it from me, there has never been a better time to engage with your data.

Mary Fealty
Founder, Broadtree Solutions Ltd 

For further information about how your business can benefit from better understanding your data through BROKER-i then please contact your RWA Business Manager and we can discuss the options with you.

About the author

Mary Fealty, Broadtree Solutions

Mary has worked for over 20 years in the field of data and innovation. Mary previously worked within insurance broking before branching out on her own, founding Broadtree Solutions in 2012.

In the past 5 years, she has worked closely with her customers to develop BROKER-i, a business intelligence solution specifically for Insurance Brokers. BROKER-i utilises many of the features of Power BI, enabling Insurance Brokers to see exactly how their businesses are performing. Mary’s mission is to help her customers get greater value from their data.

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