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Analytics in Context – How Insurers Can Thrive on Chaos

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European Industry Leader - Insurance, IBM

When was the last time that you looked at one thing? Just one thing, nothing else? We seldom look at just one thing, but rather look at ‘a thing’ in terms of its relationship with ourselves and with everything around us and it. Even in looking at a photograph, don’t we also think of the photograph in the context of where it was taken, and the relationship between the object captured and the photographer?

Similarly, in the world of art, the way the painter sees an object on the canvas, and our own interpretation is affected by our own viewpoint of taste, culture, value, genius and the like. A painting represents a moment in history, a moment which Cezanne described as "A minute in the world’s life passes. To become that minute…and give an image of what we see.

The insurance industry is in an analytics revolution. Technology provides the canvas, data provides the paint, and analytics provides the brush. But we must be careful not to simply paint static scenes of ‘minutes passed’ but rather to place our insights in context with what is happening in the wider environment.

The ability to align real-time analytic outcomes with ‘as it happens’ external news feeds allows us to understand why sales have dropped off, or the number of claims has increased. Advanced analytics helps us to predict the future and make corrections – but these decisions are not being made in a vacuum, but affected also by a relatively chaotic external environment. But doesn’t effective use of analytics help organisations thrive on chaos?

How we digest that information also becomes critical. Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak. Visualisation is important but represents only 10% of the power of analytics, where deep capability allows discovery of insight. When we look at analytics dashboards, we are not just looking but rather reading the language of analytics. It is a new language which the insurance industry will inevitably have to learn.

We invite you to join IBM insurance industry experts at IASA and take the next steps in implementing analytics solutions in your organization.

Follow Tony on Twitter at @tboobier