Financial clarity, faster, at a large Swedish firm

Länsförsäkringar AB embraces the IBM® Cognos® suite
by Karen Boush
4-minute read
Länsförsäkringar headquarters

Banking or insurance. Most financial institutions choose to engage in one or the other rather than in banking and insurance, which have different business models, risks and regulations. Yet exceptions to the rule exist. In Sweden, the exception is Länsförsäkringar AB.

“We have during the last 25 years made banking and insurance work together,” says Peter Ivert, Head of Group Business Control at Länsförsäkringar AB.

Länsförsäkringar AB conducts central banking and insurance administration, among other joint functions, for the 23 regional mutual insurance companies that make up the Länsförsäkringar Alliance. Each alliance company operates independently under the shared brand name Länsförsäkringar (county insurance), offering local banking, insurance, pension and real estate brokerage services through branch offices.

To carry out its work for the alliance, the company had quickly expanded to encompass several subsidiaries. These included Länsförsäkringar Bank, one of the country’s largest banks, and Länsförsäkringar Liv, one of the larger life insurance companies.

Long-term financial success in an organization of this size and diversity required all division and branch managers to take greater ownership of their respective business costs. Yet, given rapid growth at Länsförsäkringar AB, its financial planning and reporting solutions no longer supported enterprisewide data accuracy and visibility.

“We lacked a common way to see costs and results, both on a group level and across fundamentally different businesses,” explains Ivert.

The company also needed more flexible tools with user-friendly interfaces that enabled managers to visualize and analyze data pertinent to their own operations. Ivert continues, “Managers needed to be able to draw their own conclusions about ‘Why am I costing this much?’ and ‘What can I do to reduce my cost?’”

Meeting at a table, with a person holding a Länsförsäkringar pen

Drives precision in long-term forecasts by increasing planning cycles to

10

annually

Contains costs and creates customer value with

greater

managerial involvement

We built an easy-to-understand and transparent [Planning Analytics] interface and have received very positive feedback.
Peter Ivert
Head of Group Business Control, Länsförsäkringar AB
Farmer wearing a Länsförsäkringar coat
[Cognos Analytics’] ease of use scored very high in our evaluation. It’s also a more packaged, full-scale enterprise reporting platform.
Christoffer Zielfelt
Group Business Controller, Länsförsäkringar AB
Real-time, transparent financials
[Cognos Analytics’] ease of use scored very high in our evaluation. It’s also a more packaged, full-scale enterprise reporting platform.
Christoffer Zielfelt
Group Business Controller, Länsförsäkringar AB

To help the alliance companies more efficiently drive customer value, Länsförsäkringar AB sought a new generation of enterprise-ready, AI-infused financial tools. Having benefited from Cognos business intelligence and performance management solutions for several years, executives decided to upgrade to a modern Cognos platform.

Working with IBM Business Partner Attollo AB, Länsförsäkringar AB first deployed an IBM Planning Analytics with Watson solution for companywide planning, budgeting and forecasting. The organization uses the on-premises system to maintain a single source of high-quality performance data pulled from general ledger and human resources applications and accessed through user-friendly dashboards. It also capitalized on solution automation and intelligence to build robust, driver-based models and transform its financial processes to more fully involve managers.

Attollo is also helping design a new IBM Cognos Analytics solution for data preparation, analysis and visualization. “As our implementation partner, Attollo is an important part of our journey,” says Ivert. “They helped us build the Planning Analytics system and adapt it to our needs, and they are now applying that development work to speed deployment of Cognos Analytics.”

Länsförsäkringar AB selected the Cognos Analytics solution over a competitor’s offering based on several factors. “Its ease of use scored very high in our evaluation,” says Christoffer Zielfelt, Group Business Controller. “It’s also a more packaged, full-scale enterprise reporting platform.”

Once the solution is rolled out, managers and other decision makers can use self-service dashboarding features to quickly create interactive charts, graphs and tables. They can also drill down or up for more insights; generate customized reports; and ask an AI-powered chatbot for recommendations.

These new Cognos solutions complement the company’s long-standing IBM Cognos Controller software for closing, consolidation and reporting. With it, the organization can not only better meet its complex internal business demands, it can more efficiently comply with multiple government and industry regulations.

Länsförsäkringar headquarters
Shorter planning cycles

Across the company, managers have embraced the new Planning Analytics tools. “We built an easy-to-understand and transparent interface and have received very positive feedback,” comments Ivert.

Zielfelt adds that gathering user input during solution design and development phases helps ensure user satisfaction. “It’s much easier to get acceptance as you build a system, rather than when you release it,” he explains. “So we involve people in these projects and gain their acceptance all the way.”

Empowered with new tools and processes, managers can generate more granular, accurate budget forecasts faster than ever. As a result, Länsförsäkringar AB increased the frequency of its planning cycles from two to 10 times annually, helping enable more informed decision-making at group and business levels. Ultimately, it can drive quality long-term forecasts, maintain a more competitive cost structure and redirect the monies toward developing new products for Länsförsäkringar customers.

Länsförsäkringar AB leaders anticipate reaping additional potential benefits by establishing tighter connections across its IBM deployments. “It’s a great advantage to be in the same suite of tools,” says Zielfelt.

Länsförsäkringar AB logo
About Länsförsäkringar AB

Located in Stockholm, Sweden, Länsförsäkringar ABExternal Link conducts banking, life assurance, pension insurance and some non-life insurance business for the Länsförsäkringar Alliance of mutual insurance companies. It also manages strategic development and other activities that generate economies of scale. Founded in 1917, the alliance serves a combined 3.9 million customers through 128 branches in Sweden.

About Attollo AB
IBM Business Partner AttolloExternal Link specializes in business intelligence, corporate performance management, advanced analytics and data warehouse solutions in Sweden. It fosters long-term relationships with customers and helps their businesses achieve maximum value. Founded in 2007, Attollo employs approximately 70 people at its headquarters in Stockholm.
Solution components
Länsförsäkringar AB logo
About Länsförsäkringar AB

Located in Stockholm, Sweden, Länsförsäkringar ABExternal Link conducts banking, life assurance, pension insurance and some non-life insurance business for the Länsförsäkringar Alliance of mutual insurance companies. It also manages strategic development and other activities that generate economies of scale. Founded in 1917, the alliance serves a combined 3.9 million customers through 128 branches in Sweden.

About Attollo AB
IBM Business Partner AttolloExternal Link specializes in business intelligence, corporate performance management, advanced analytics and data warehouse solutions in Sweden. It fosters long-term relationships with customers and helps their businesses achieve maximum value. Founded in 2007, Attollo employs approximately 70 people at its headquarters in Stockholm.
Solution components