Business challenge

Analytics plays a vital role in helping this insurer optimize operations and customer service. With demand for insight growing all the time, how could it meet users’ needs without IT becoming a bottleneck?


The insurance company is putting new self-service analytics and reporting capabilities into the hands of business users with an upgrade to the latest version of IBM® Cognos® Analytics.



faster insight into information, supporting timely decision-making


business users to take greater control of their data with self-service capabilities

Frees up

the core business intelligence team to focus on more strategic analytics work

Business challenge story

Soaring demand for insight

For insurers that serve millions of plan members across the United States, it is vital to maintain a clear view and tight control over operations to keep the business in good health. That’s precisely why one major US insurance company has counted on IBM Cognos solutions to meet its analytics and business intelligence (BI) needs for over two decades.

During this time, the insurer—and the industry as a whole—has weathered many changes: new business strategies, regulatory reforms and customer demands. In this ever-evolving environment, the ability to adapt is vital to success.

A spokesperson elaborates: “Analytics touches nearly every area of our business. We have around 100 report authors across the company, and the analyses that they produce are used by thousands of our employees, from claims adjustors and sales teams to senior executives. We also have tens of thousands of external employer groups and brokers who consume the reports that we build in Cognos. It truly is a pervasive solution, both internally and externally.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen the appetite for reporting skyrocket as the business has become more focused on monitoring performance and metrics. It was becoming increasingly difficult for our BI team to keep up with this demand. There was clearly a need to offer users greater self-service capabilities—but at the same time, we didn’t want to compromise the strong data governance, quality and security standards that we had worked so hard to establish over many years.”

Cognos Analytics could be a game-changer for us. It gives us the opportunity to empower a whole new set of users to look deeper into their data and solve new kinds of business problems.

Spokesperson, US health insurance company

Transformation story

Compelling new capabilities

An upgrade to the latest version of IBM Cognos Analytics provided the insurance company with the perfect opportunity to address these new requirements.

“It’s important for us to keep our enterprise technology current, and give users access to the latest and greatest capabilities,” explains the spokesperson. “Making the leap from our existing BI platform to Cognos Analytics was a big step for us, and we wanted to make sure it all went smoothly. As Cognos is such a critical platform for our company, we could not afford any disruption to our content and users.”

To help make the move to Cognos Analytics as seamless as possible, the insurer enlisted the support of IBM. The IBM Analytics Services team worked on site over the course of two weeks, running workshops and training sessions to showcase new functionality and get a core group of users up to speed with the latest solution. The engagement also included several hands-on sessions, where IBM worked with the insurer to explore new features and create prototypes based on the company’s own data, helping to explore the art of the possible.

A spokesperson notes: “Our experience of working with IBM Analytics Services has been very positive—they provided useful training and expertise to help familiarize us with the new version of Cognos Analytics. We also really appreciated having that face-to-face contact: having someone from IBM working right alongside our team made a real difference.”

The insurer adopted a measured approach to its Cognos Analytics migration, gradually moving models, data and reports to the new platform while keeping its existing BI environment running in parallel. The BI team has also paid close attention to user training and testing, making sure its users were comfortable with the new solution before bringing it into full production.

“We’re big fans of Cognos Analytics,” says a spokesperson. “The interface is very clean and modern, and the enhanced self-service capabilities deliver exactly what we were looking for. Users can easily pull in data from multiple sources and put together their own data modules themselves.

“Moreover, on the back-end, we haven’t had to sacrifice any of the stability or security that we’ve come to expect from Cognos. The data governance and administrative features are really solid. It all comes together to provide a very well-controlled, easy-to-use environment for analytics and reporting.”  

Teams at the insurance company are particularly keen to adopt the richer visualization and dashboarding tools offered by Cognos Analytics, which help them bring data to life in new ways.

A spokesperson gives an example, “Our HR department recently came to us with a request: they were experiencing an unusually high turnover rate for a specific type of remote worker, and they wanted to find out why.

“We decided to work with the IBM Analytics Services team to look at how those workers were interacting with our helpdesk: what issues they might be raising and whether they received an adequate response. We gathered data from service desk tickets, analyzed it and put together a report for HR. The analysis helped to rule out a number of possible concerns, so the HR team was able to move on and focus on other factors.

“Previously, to do this kind of analysis, we would have had to pull together all the data manually and then crunch the numbers in a spreadsheet – which might have taken an analyst a couple of weeks. The IBM Analytics Services team helped us explore how we could use the new features of Cognos Analytics to complete the entire process in a much more seamless way, and get back to the business with quick answers.”

He adds: “Another new feature that we are looking forward to is map-based visualizations. Maps can be a very useful format for presenting data, but in the past we had to build them ourselves from scratch. Now Cognos Analytics comes with advanced mapping capabilities built in, so we’re really excited to start making these types of visualizations more available to the business.”

The interface of Cognos Analytics is very clean and modern, and the enhanced self-service capabilities deliver exactly what we were looking for. Users can easily pull in data from multiple sources and put together their own data modules themselves.

Spokesperson, US health insurance company

Results story

Empowering users with fast, self-service analytics

With its next-level analytics capabilities, the insurance company is unlocking faster insight into enterprise data, and giving business users more ownership and accountability for the reports they generate and use.

“Cognos Analytics is helping us to shape a much more flexible and efficient approach to analytics,” notes a spokesperson. “We are giving the business faster answers to questions, and enabling our people to explore information in new ways.

“We are also putting powerful self-service capabilities into the hands of business users, allowing them to perform more of the heavy up-front data modeling and manipulation that used to occupy so much of the BI team’s time. Once a user has built a report that they are happy with, we can then industrialize it into a very effective, high-quality source of insight for the business. This new approach has really helped to streamline reporting cycles, meeting demand for insight while reducing workload for the BI team.”

He concludes: “Making the move to Cognos Analytics could be a game-changer for us. It gives us the opportunity to empower a whole new set of users to look deeper into their data and solve new kinds of business problems—capabilities that will help our organization continue to deliver exceptional service to all our members.”

US health insurance company

This health insurance company serves millions of members.

Solution components

  • Cognos Analytics

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