This story is part of Analytics Heroes, a series of profiles on leaders transforming the future of business analytics.

Max Jaiswal is the enterprise data team lead at AIA Australia, a pan-Asian life insurance company with presence in 18 markets across the Asia-Pacific region. The 100-year-old firm is the largest life insurer in the world, and the largest company on the Hong Kong stock exchange, with assets of USD $230 billion. The company’s brand promise is simple: to help people live healthier, longer, better lives.

Max and his team play a critical role in the company’s adoption of data and analytics as the gate keepers to any and all data within AIA. “Any data coming in or out of AIA goes through my team,” says Max. “We provide the approved source of truth.” As a subject matter expert for IBM Cognos Analytics and IBM Watson, he helps people get the answers they need for data flows, reporting, and dashboarding. “I combine the power of our analytics tools and the capabilities of our people to get the best results for AIA,” says Max. Being able to quickly and accurately find the answers his company needs is his goal post, once reached, “That’s how I define success,” says Max.

Delivering better visualizations and faster insights

At AIA, Max relies on a broad portfolio of IBM solutions including IBM Db2 DatabaseIBM Cognos AnalyticsIBM Planning Analytics powered by TM1, IBM Controller, IBM SPSS Statistics and IBM Decision Optimization, and IBM Watson Explorer, Watson Studio and Machine Learning. “We provide more than 1,000 reports and dashboards for enterprise reporting to more than 500 users, and it’s growing,” says Max. With the combination of pulling data in from multiple sources, funneling it into a digestible format to hundreds of users is no easy task. However, with the most recent Cognos upgrade, the team has been able to move perform those same tasks in a fraction of the time. Max says, “The release of IBM Cognos Analytics 11.1 last year helped us immensely…We built a new business dashboard in record time, because of the ease of development in this version.”

For users who aren’t data scientists, Max says “The new dashboard helps our sales team visualize data in a way that’s easy to use and understand.” By using the latest augmented intelligence-based features, AIA users benefit from built in insights that present the user with context related suggestions, in natural language, for more informed decisions

The ease and portability of IBM Cognos Analytics also helps AIA not just make better decisions, but faster decisions. “Because we can implement the software on desktop or on [a tablet], the sales team can now make more informed decisions when traveling,” says Max. By doing so, the sales team can take advantage of their mobility and quickly see potential shortfalls or opportunities, which would have taken far longer to articulate using the old methods.

Being an Analytics Hero

“Being recognized as an analytics hero has been very motivating…I’ve been championing the capabilities of Cognos, and I look forward to each new version, with new ways to showcase what the data is telling us. You can’t really imagine what it will do for your business until you’ve seen it in person.” – Max Jaiswal

To Max, being an Analytics Hero means facilitating understanding, even for non-experts. “What I find most rewarding is the smiles on the faces of my users when they actually see what they want to visualize,” says Max. Hearing and understanding their needs as non-experts, Max provides and invaluable service, Max simplifies it as, “I help them listen to their data, help the data talk to them, even if they’re not data-savvy.”

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