MotioCI Manages Catlin’s Growing Cognos Implementation
BI in the Insurance Industry
Catlin Group Limited, which was acquired by XL Group in May 2015, is a global specialty and casualty insurer and re-insurer, writing over 30 lines of business. Catlin has six underwriting hubs located in the UK, Bermuda, the United States, Asia Pacific, Europe and Canada. Catlin has a worldwide team consisting of over 2,400 underwriters, actuaries, claims specialists, and support staff. The insurance industry centers on managing risk. Insurers are tasked with identifying and quantifying the “what ifs” associated with human and natural disasters and then making sound business decisions based on these many variables. The goal of insurers is not to eliminate risk, but to understand it and manage it effectively. The insurance industry deals with volumes of data from many different sources in order to make timely decisions, provide superior service to its clientele, and to stay competitive. In 2013 Catlin made the decision to overhaul its existing Management Information Systems implementation, which included Business Objects, and move to a more comprehensive platform with additional capabilities and transparency into their business. Catlin chose IBM Cognos.
Obstacles in BI Growth
The move to Cognos increased the capabilities of Catlin’s BI environment significantly, which allowed Catlin to better meet the demands of claims teams and business users. As with any industry, the business side wants and needs information fast, but IT needs to ensure what they deliver is accurate and reliable. In a highly regulated industry such as insurance, these standards cannot be compromised. Catlin’s BI team is geographically spread across the UK, India, and the United States. The development and testing work at Catlin is shared and dispersed among these three locations. The expanded size and scope of the new BI environment at Catlin, as well as increases in user adoption began to surface issues relating to the BI team’s ability to manage the implementation and still provide timely information across the organization. These issues began to negatively impact development, release time, and the ability to quickly transition new or updated BI content to production. Catlin recognized the need to implement more control over its disparate teams and to address the following life cycle management requirements:
- Control of BI assets and change/dev management
- Managed method of promoting content between environments
- Quality control over development work – ensuring accuracy, reliability, and consistency
- Ability to accurately predict performance and measure the impact of new development
Manual to Streamlined BI Promotions
One process at Catlin that had to be immediately addressed was the way in which BI content was promoted into new environments. Prior to MotioCI, only two people in the entire organization were authorized to promote BI content from development to testing (QA) and to production environments. This approach resulted in a significant bottleneck in getting new or updated BI content into the hands of end users in a timely fashion. Catlin’s stalled deployment issues were solved almost immediately through the self-service promotion and version control features of MotioCI. With version control enabled, every BI asset that gets promoted at Catlin can be traced back to who promoted it, when it was promoted, and what version was promoted. Version control and release management together have empowered more Cognos users at Catlin with the responsibility of ad-hoc and release-based deployments while still maintaining governance and control over the entire BI implementation.
Safeguard Accuracy with Testing & Version Control
In the insurance industry, data manipulation is common among end users such as actuaries, for the purpose of analyzing the impact of claims payouts. Confidence in accuracy is imperative for end users relying on the assets delivered by the BI team. Before MotioCI, the amount of time required to implement quality assurance checks on BI content developed oshore began impacting Catlin’s ability to develop, test, and release new BI content in an agile fashion. Catlin has implemented MotioCI testing to automate and control the quality of the development work, which has substantially reduced time spent on this task. Testing greatly reduces the amount of reports with errors that get delivered to end users, which in turn diminishes the time spent on support issues and improves the business user experience. Both the BI team and end users at Catlin can confidently access BI assets in their day-to-day, knowing the information they’re working with has been tested for accuracy but can safely be reverted back to previous versions without hesitation.
The Results Delivered by MotioCI
In the first year of implementing MotioCI, Catlin has benefitted from the following as a result of the version control, release management, and automated testing features:
- A clear-cut way to manage the dispersed BI teams and environments
- Reduced development time
- Increased amount of BI assets deployed to production
- Greater confidence in the accuracy of BI content
- Improved satisfaction among the end users