Suncorp leverages data visualisation to boost its bottom line

The financial group’s performance reporting expert reveals how Tableau enabled Suncorp to optimise its operational performance

Mark Nelson, Suncorp
Mark Nelson, Suncorp

The pressure on Suncorp to boost its productivity and maintain its competitive edge has triggered a significant re-think of its data analytics strategy.

Speaking at the Tableau conference in Sydney this week, the insurance giant’s statutory insurance performance reporting analyst, Mark Nelson, revealed how implementing a new internal data reporting system has helped boost performance, optimise internal capabilities and positively impact the organisation’s bottom line by $6 million across the board.

Suncorp Group is the largest general insurer in Australia and maintains general insurance, banking, life insurance and superannuation brands across Australia and New Zealand with 14,000 employees and 9 million customers. As a result, making what Nelson described as a ‘paradigm data shift’ was not without its challenges.

“Being a financial services company, Suncorp is focused on financial outcomes and an end-of-financial year goal, but the insurance sector is even more complex, and it is hard to gauge performance,” he told attendees. “Our claims business means we need to measure the performance of our claims handlers year-to-year, while not drawing it to a financial outcome, as they are not related directly to that end profit.”

The paradigm shift in internal reporting

One of the problems Suncorp faced was around settling drives, which tended to focus on older claims.

“We found that as a result, newer claims suffered,” he said. “Things were missed, not done well, and resulted in poor behaviour as the focus was too narrow.”

To combat this, Suncorp shifted from a yearly financial target to a weekly target.

“A yearly push means a lot of pressure on the business and staff can become unhappy,” Nelson explained. “But a weekly push kept accountability at the forefront. We also changed from a pure financial outcome focus to an action focus. This meant looking at what the claim handlers were doing week to week, to deliver outcomes against set metrics.

“We also implemented a reward and recognition system off the back of that, which allowed us to reward people quarter to quarter against these key actions. By creating this week to week accountability, we were further able to set up a system that was more agile to financial, policy and regulatory change.”

Shifting from financial to operational outcomes meant reconsidering both business and information viewpoints, Nelson said.

“Otherwise it makes it a very difficult process,” he said. “From a business point of view, you need to have a clear and defined expectation of operational performance and transparent accountability of results. So you need to have business leaders on-board who are prepared to be accountable. You also need to take action to improve but at the same time, trust in the process.”

Nelson said information also needs to be timely, reflect relevant and measurable metrics, accurate data quality and delivery and be easily accessible.

“As a result of our shift to WOW reporting, we found we had clarity of purpose at all levels, especially when it came to people being engaged,” he said. “Gamification was also a new concept we introduced in our reward and recognition system, and we could create cultural shifts within the company easily, given the dynamic nature of our new reporting system.”

Tackling emerging complexities

An emerging challenge as the group added elements to the new report was complexity. Nelson said there was also a risk of detracting from the key focus.

“We had to make sure we didn’t overcomplicate the report, otherwise our teams would be spending hours every week trying to understand it,” he said. “It had to be quick and easy to understand, and that’s where Tableau came into the equation.”

According to Nelson, Tableau’s data visualisation approach represented a big shift from the report’s beginnings in Microsoft Excel, and enabled Suncorp to leverage a better quality assurance delivery, better identify any team changes and spot error evaluation and visualisation notification.

“The new system was very intuitive and it also notified any errors really easily through visualisation data,” he added. “It’s really good for someone like me who can scan the report quickly and easily, and identify any gaps in the report by seeing something like a red error alert. This is unlike Excel, where you have to read through the formula, and ours was three or four lines long.”

As a result of implementing Tableau, Nelson claimed the first ever actuarial process impact was delivering profitability in valuation by $6 million. The group’s CTP business also rose from one tenth to one third of total profits in 2015.

“Tableau has now become the central information provider for Suncorp’s project uptake and initiatives,” he said. “On top of this, staff engagement, retention and leader productivity is now quite high. There has also been an FTE reduction as a result of using the new WOW system, and because we’re more productive and processing things quicker, we no longer have so many older claims sitting there.

“In fact, the success of our statutory reporting has now been recognised in other areas of the business, which are now also looking at implementing change in variant forms. This really is a testament to our story that it has worked.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011 www.arkaybeverages.com🤪🤟

Sylvie

How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it

kenzopoker1

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in