How AOK Niedersachsen leverages IBM’s Cognos BI reporting and PureData System for Analytics for improving policyholder service
AOK Niedersachsen, a German health insurance provider, was facing increased competition, a stricter regulatory environment, and the need for more transparency. With members numbering 2.4 million in 2013 and over 40,000 health care provider partners, AOK Niedersachsen realized they had both a Big Data problem and an opportunity to improve service. Their realization was that corporate data has to be accurate, delivered more quickly, and easily accessible to a wider range of corporate decision makers.
How AOK changed their business practices
AOK Niedersachsen aligned with an IBM business partner, novem business applications GmbH (novem), to reorganize AOK Niedersachsen’s data infrastructure to build a one-version-of-the truth data repository. The requirements included utilizing the existing corporate performance metrics for continuity, while extending graphical and visualization capabilities for the reporting system. The analytics and reporting also needed to be rolled out to more than 700 AOK Niedersachsen decision makers. To implement these requirements, the designers decided that IBM Cognos for Business Intelligence reporting, and IBM’s PureData System for Analytics for the advanced analytical data warehouse were the right combination.
Technology Solution Description
Before sorting through the solution details, it is interesting to note that AOK Niedersachsen utilized a video podcast to educate its user base on the new applications. This enablement tactic promoted a high degree of user acceptance for the new system. The 750 decision-making users (up to and including the CEO) query a database of over 500 data tables and roughly 1.5 billion records. IBM Cognos manufactures the dashboards that transform the raw numbers into effective visualizations. These graphical representations reflect high level aggregations which can then be drilled into for lower level, component data by the inquisitive business person. Simulation algorithms show possible outcomes prior to a manager’s decision choice. IBM Cognos Mobile is another platform option via an employee’s Apple iPad.
The resulting installation delivered these business benefits: queries 100 times faster than from the previous system, significantly decreased operational costs, and more informed, fact based decisions. And the best part is optimized treatment services for AOK Niedersachsen’s policyholders.
Much faster performance delivered by the PureData appliance, helps in many ways, including acceptance by the line-of-business user. There’s nothing like dropping one query from 25 hours down to three minutes elapsed time (500X faster) to get buy-in. Adding more details is AOK Niedersachsen’s Elke Stump, “With the IBM PureData System for Analytics, we finally have the right degree of performance for our IBM Cognos Business Intelligence system. We have even been able to reduce the time taken for administration tasks significantly. Performance optimization is no longer an issue.” 1
Reducing risk and playing the odds are sound business practices in the insurance industry. Keeping customers satisfied with good products and thoughtful services works well in any industry. AOK Niedersachsen contracted with IT partner novem, to design and install a Business Intelligence (Cognos) and Data Warehouse (PureData System for Analytics) based on IBM technology. The resulting installation delivered these business benefits: queries 100 times faster than from the previous system, significantly decreased operational costs, and more informed, fact based decisions. And the best part is optimized treatment services for AOK Niedersachsen’s policyholders.
Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments.
Rich Hughes is an IBM Marketing Program Manager for Data Warehousing. Hughes has worked in a variety of Information Technology, Data Warehousing, and Big Data jobs, and has been with IBM since 2004. Hughes earned a Bachelor’s degree from Kansas University, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Kansas State University. Writing about the original Dream Team, Hughes authored a book on the 1936 US Olympic basketball team, a squad composed of oil refinery laborers and film industry stage hands.
1 “AOK Niedersachsen significantly improves policyholder service” by IBM Staff, April, 2015.