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Insurance Survey: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights
Insurance Survey: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights 1024 683 Anthony Peake

The team here at Software Solved love problem solving. We’re pleased to share some of our useful resources and insights with you. These have been selected based on the areas we’ve helped our clients with. We hope you find them useful and if there’s anything we can do to help you, we’d love to talk to you.

We love solving technical problems. We’re pleased to share some of our useful resources and insights from our work developing bespoke software for clients.
Insurance: Unlocking the Power of Data to Produce Actionable Insights
Data has been called the new oil, the lifeblood and a valuable currency. So, insurers are fortunate in that most have vast amounts of this most precious commodity. But, are they maximising its potential or is it too often an untapped resource?

There’s no doubt some insurers are starting to leverage the value in their data, even if an elite group is starting to pull away from the rest of the pack. However, as the rise of InsurTech shows, size is no barrier since smaller providers can prove highly effective through using with the right technology and, not least, having a forward-thinking mind-set when it comes to sharing data.

Whether or not insurance is playing a big enough role in the data revolution is a moot point. The technology now exists to connect legacy systems, while machine learning and analytics allow for transformational work to take place, with the goal for many insurers being to turn their data into actionable insights. The question is, will this remain a goal or become a reality?

Software Solved, who work with a range of large and small insurers to deliver Risk & Claims Management Systems as well as data rich Customer Portals, are seeking to better understand this crucial area and so we conducted a research project, in conjunction with Insurance Post. This involved speaking to around 60 providers, covering commercial and personal lines, and with those providing opinions including directors and professionals from various disciplines including underwriting, claims, risk management and IT.

Download this report from an in-depth analysis of the research findings.

Five Major Benefits of Data Visualisation for Charities and Non-Profits
Five Major Benefits of Data Visualisation for Charities and Non-Profits 1000 667 Jon Hogg

Huge amounts of data are being generated every minute of every day. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. When you factor in the global proliferation of internet connected devices, this isn’t surprising. But, how do you extract the value from this data?

Data isn’t worth a great deal unless it can be interrogated, analysed and used for decision-making. And it’s worth even less if people don’t understand it.

Data visualisation, the presentation of information in a graphical or pictorial way, is a great method of making data easy to view and understand. Tools like Microsoft’s Power BI mean this is no longer an incredibly complex task – its quick and easy to set up, and start getting insights from your data.

The five major benefits for charities and non-profits are:

1) Increased transparency with stakeholders

Charities and non-profits must be transparent with donors, supporters, service recipients, and members of the public about how much they are spending on what and why. Presenting this information in a graphical way helps people understand the data quickly and easily.

2) Removing the complexity

People can digest images and graphs more easily than reading through rows and rows of numbers. If you are dealing with large and complex datasets, visualising this data makes it much easier for other people to understand, particularly if they are not subject matter experts.

3) Deeper insight

Data visualisation makes large and complex datasets easy to read. This means that you can identify trends, anomalies, and insights with ease. Comprehensive data visualization tools will enable you to drill down deeper into specific data segments as well. This allows you to glean more insight from your data and identify areas that need further interrogation.

4) Improved internal communication

No matter how hard you try to avoid silos, they often exist within organisations, especially those with several large departments. Sharing insights and information in a graphical way can be a great way of informing other departments what’s happening in the organisation. These can be presented as dashboards on intranets or internal applications, enabling self-service, and saving you even more time.

5) Improved organisational performance

When you are actively using insights from your data, you will be making better strategic decisions, thus improving the perception and performance of your organization, both with potential donators and volunteers, and your current team.

As a non-profit, you’re highly likely to be collecting your own data, whether it’s as simple as user behaviour on your website using Google Analytics, or more detailed information on how stakeholders are interacting with your applications or services. Are you confident that everyone within the organisation can understand the information? Is it being used to inform decision-making to improve the effectiveness of your organisation? If the answer to these questions is no, then talk to us today to see how data visualization could benefit you.

If you’re interested in a great visualisation on just how much data is generated every minute, then take a look at this infographic

Power BI Webinar: How to build dashboards for any budget
Power BI Webinar: How to build dashboards for any budget 150 150 dan.macduff

Power BI Webinar: How to build dashboards for any budget

Power BI: is it worth the cost?

Quality Business Intelligence (BI) drives effective decision making. Today’s BI techniques and tools allow you to transform raw data into meaningful and useful information at the touch of a button. Watch the live recording of our latest webinar to learn more about the different tools available and their costs, features and limitations.

Catch up on the webinar now to see:

  • Demos of Power BI and SQL Server Mobile Reports
  • Key considerations for selecting the right tool for your business
  • How to manage your data from disparate sources to fuel your dashboards

This webinar was first broadcast on 20th October. To register for future Software Solved events or webinars email marketing@softwaresolved.com or call 020 7127 4558 for further information about your business’ data analytics.

Why Insurers Should Be Thinking About Business Intelligence
Why Insurers Should Be Thinking About Business Intelligence 150 150 Jon Hogg

When we think of Business Intelligence (BI) it is very easy to think of product focused business models. Dashboards and reports based on production figures, supply chains and sales numbers. But the benefits of BI are not limited to product-centric industries, the insurance industry is perfectly placed to gain huge advantages from implementing BI. After all, insurance companies are businesses like any other and at their core are seeking to reduce costs, increase revenue and boost profitability.

Becoming More Efficient With Business Intelligence

Using BI tools to get better insights and get ahead of competitors, can be critical in such a hotly contested industry. BI tools allow your staff to make better decisions, with the right data, driving efficiency improvements and therefore, boosting profitability.

If you think about it in terms of risk management – a concept central to the industry – the benefits are obvious. A Risk Management department that has access to up-to-date, detailed and accurate 360-degree risk profiles are far better placed to make better decisions regarding levels of risk.

It is also important to consider the value of BI in terms of regulation and compliance. Insurance has a significant level of regulation and compliance becomes much easier to monitor when you have the right tools for the job. Giving your staff the right data, in the right format at the right time means they can make decisions to keep you above board and in business.

Using Business Intelligence to Improve Customer Experience

Just as BI can make a real difference to how your company manages risk profiles, it can do the same for your clients. Customer portals are nothing new in the insurance industry, and the era of self-service is going nowhere. What insurance companies are not doing though, is allowing clients to access BI around their own risk profiles.

Putting yourself in the shoes of the user (good practice, by the way), it’s very easy to see just how useful this would be for clients. Being able to log into a client portal and see your risk profile, in real-time, means they are better placed to manage their own risk. This is good news for them, they’re at lower risk now, and great news for the insurance company as the chances of a pay-out are reduced significantly.

In an industry so hotly contested, improving customer experience and inspiring brand loyalty can be the difference you need, and BI could be the answer.

If you’d like to know more about how BI could improve your business, talk to us today. We’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like to know more about our Business Intelligence services, click here.

Free Power BI Interactive Demo Available Now
Free Power BI Interactive Demo Available Now 150 150 Jon Hogg

Experience the interactive power of data visualisation – see the full picture in one pane.

We’ve been pushing the value of data visualisation tools for a little while now – and that’s because we mean it, there are huge benefits to be gained from them. We’ve done blogs on what ‘Business Intelligence’ software actually is, and how data visualisation enables organisations to get the full view – transforming the way they work. But now it’s your turn to see the value for yourselves – first hand.

Why you should try Microsoft Power BI

You can access the free demo here.

Microsoft Power BI can connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify that data, and present it in meaningful and insightful ways. No more collating spreadsheets from different departments that don’t quite match up. Use Power BI instead to produce visually engaging reports and share them with your organisation, whether that’s other staff members or even customers.

Once published you can share these reports on the web and they can be accessed from mobile devices. Give everyone who needs it a better view of your organisation. Empower your users, colleagues and customers with relevant data.

Experience the power of data visualisation

Getting up close and personal with Microsoft Power BI really is the best way to experience it. Our free demo comes pre-loaded with real company data so you don’t have to worry about that. This means you can jump straight into the digital dashboards.

Play around with the different visualisation options available, zoom into maps to pinpoint geographical data, click on charts to drill deeper into specific data sets, and look at different ways of analysing data trends. There are so many options in Power BI and our free demo gives you the chance to see the value for yourself.

Download the free demo today

If you’d like more information on our data visualisation services, click here.

Alternatively, if you’re ready to realise the potential of data visualisation for your organisation, talk to us today, we’d love to hear from you.

5 Top Tips for Better Digital Dashboards
5 Top Tips for Better Digital Dashboards 150 150 Jon Hogg

Business Intelligence (BI) and the benefits it can bring to your business has been well covered. If you need to catch up, our last few blogs have been all about ‘BI’ and the things it can do for organisations. Now we’re turning our attention to the actual design of your dashboards. It’s all very well having them, but you want them to be engaging, and tell the right stories.

It can be easy when building a dashboard to get distracted and feel like you should have every type of graph showing every bit of data all on the same page. Unfortunately this can often have the opposite of the desired effect and make your data harder to read. The idea here is that your dashboard makes it clear, concise and easy to understand.

Lets see how you can best do that.

1 – Who’s your audience?

It’s important to ask yourself firstly who the dashboard is for. This may seem too simple to be worth mentioning, but it is often easy to forget. As with most aspects of business, to be the most effective you can, you need to target the right audience.

Some good examples to think about here; is this for the sales team looking at the sales pipeline, or is it actually for the leadership team checking top-level KPI’s? If you include the same information on both dashboards you’re wasting space and will end up confusing the picture. Keep it simple, keep it concise.

2 – Group data where you need it

One of the key elements of UI/UX design is that things are where people expect them to be. The same principle applies in dashboards. Put data where it makes sense for it to be – group it together logically. If you have a stack of financial data, don’t space it between graphs that monitor server down time for example. Again, you’re trying to make the picture clearer, not more muddy.

Worth considering here is that people’s eyes will naturally be drawn to the top-left hand corner. This makes it a good place to stick your most important piece of data. You can always move your logo somewhere else.

3 – Less is sometimes more

Cluttering your dashboards with every type of graph you can think of isn’t a good thing. Nor is including every single metric that may be of use. Decide what your most important (emphasis on most here) metrics are, and make room for them only.

In tools such as Power BI you can drill down further into these graphs anyway – so even if data isn’t immediately available on the first screen, you will be able to find it on subsequent screens.

Some other presentation tips for you:

  • Don’t go mad on the colour schemes – keep it simple
  • Red and green are obvious choices for positive and negative performance
  • Try to keep the number of metrics below 12 per dashboard
  • Choose the right charts – pie charts are god for comparing sections of a whole, and scatter charts are better for analysing performance and identifying outliers.

4 – Make it responsive to different devices

Making your dashboards easier for your users to access and make sense of is the recurring theme here. The point of BI is that you can access the full view of your data anywhere, anytime. So accessing it on any device is crucial. Your BI software should respond and resize to whichever size screen your users are logging on from.

Tools like Microsoft’s Power BI are HTML5 compliant and provide access on any device, adapting to the screen size and reordering your dashboard correctly. If people need data on the go, out in the field, then this is something you definitely need to consider.

5 – How up to date does it need to be?

Be honest with yourself here. The idea of having real-time data displayed is very attractive and initially you may think you want all your dashboards to be real-time or near real-time. However, getting hold of real-time data and processing it can be a lot of wasted effort if you only really need weekly or bi-weekly updates. Even daily updates would be a big drop. This could save you bags of time and money.

You may decide that some dashboards need to be real-time, and some only need weekly updates. This is perfectly achievable, and is the right approach to take. This is a good step to making your dashboards more relevant.

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits Power BI could bring to your organisation, explore our Business Intelligence Services.

Or for a free consultation, talk to us today.

Data Visualisation: Using Business Intelligence Software to get the full view
Data Visualisation: Using Business Intelligence Software to get the full view 150 150 Kindy Mann

We’ve all seen how popular infographics have become to convey data; newspapers and magazines are full of them, bar charts or geographic maps complete with beautiful imagery and colours to help us understand the most complex to the banal. This is a form of data visualisation. The presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format, enabling users to grasp difficult concepts or identify new patterns. In other words, it turns raw data into stories with few words.

Data visualisation is important to the business world too because of the way the human brain processes information. Using charts or graphs to see large amounts of complex data is easier than poring over spreadsheets or reports. Data visualisation is a quick, easy way to convey concepts in a universal manner through interactive dashboards.

Interactive dashboards in data visualisation tools

Patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data can be exposed and recognised easier with data visualisation software.

Today’s data visualisation tools go beyond the standard charts and graphs used in Excel spreadsheets; displaying data in more sophisticated ways such as dashboards, dials and gauges, geographic maps, sparklines, heat maps, and detailed bar, pie and fever charts. Taking the concept further, the dashboards include interactive capabilities, enabling users to manipulate them or drill into the data for querying and analysis, quickly changing what data is presented and how it’s processed. Indicators can also be included, which are designed to alert users when data has been updated or predefined conditions occur.

The benefits of data visualisation

Whether you need to predict sales volumes, understand which factors influence customer behaviour or identify areas of the business that need attention – data visualisation will assist.

The key benefits are:

  • Understand information quickly; its much faster to analyse information in graphical format
  • Competitive advantage; discovering trends within the business and the market will help give you the edge on the competition
  • Improve strategy and forecasting; because data can be combined from a variety of sources that previously existed in silos, you can identify new relationships of strategic importance
  • Communicate the story to others; once your dashboards are set up, you can easily share them or embed them within your applications
  • Any time, any device; Since data visualisation tools like Power BI are cloud based, you will always have the latest information at your fingertips

Unlock insights and actions

The important thing to remember, is that the data is just the working tool – the main object of data visualistion is to enable users to form an understanding quickly so that they can move on and take action that will benefit the company, and ultimately the bottom line, based on those insights.

If you’d like to find out more about our data visualisation software options and how your company will benefit from using Power BI explore our Business Intelligence Services.

Alternatively get in touch for a free consultation.

What is Business Intelligence Software?
What is Business Intelligence Software? 150 150 Kindy Mann

According to Gartner Inc, the global revenue in the business intelligence and analytics software market is forecast to reach $18.3 billion in 2017, an increase of 7.3{7465c2450dcd042996416963879c72771606ba211532680daeb6e67dd6282842} from 2016. The market is forecast to grow to $22.8 billion by the end of 2020.

This is no surprise as the impact of investing in business intelligence (BI) software is huge. Business Intelligence software is designed to help companies make strategic, informed decisions. With a suite of data analysis and reporting tools, this software helps you interpret raw data and draw meaningful insights from it. Tools such as Microsoft Power BI enable you to consolidate a diverse set of data sources into one pane, creating far more valuable insights than ever before.

The tools make it faster, easier and more efficient to visualise and analyse data. All data is combined in one place, so with one click, users can explore and interrogate data from anywhere and at anytime.

Business intelligence software: Democratising data

What was once kept within the confines of the tech team, the accessibility to data enables other roles within the company to utilise it for their own means. It’s growth in use has ‘democratised data’ – nowadays, the marketing team, the financial Team and the HR team are all just as likely to be analytics experts. In turn, enabling the company to benefit further from increased knowledge of key metrics and performance.

Bringing data together from across the organisation is great, but what makes BI even more powerful is that external sources such as Salesforce or Sage can be synced to enable this data to be integrated as well. With this wealth of data information, the company benefits from increased insights – from the boardroom down to the shopfloor and subsequently, the customer.

Mobile Applications: BI when you need it

Recently, Business Intelligence software providers have created mobile specific applications to make it possible for companies to benefit from their software without being constricted to the office and a desktop monitor.

Key Features of BI software

• Ability to pull data together from any source and slice and dice data as required
• Data presented visually in one pane for better understanding and the full picture
• Real time data is refreshed so key metrics are always up to date
• as Available on all devices and platforms (Android, iOS and Windows) for reports on the go
• With multiple connectors pre-built it’s easy to pull in data from external apps such as Saleforce or Sage.
• Providers such as Microsoft have made BI self-service so you don’t need to be a data analyst to use it

If you’d like to find out more about our business intelligence software options and how your company will benefit from its use, please click here.

Software Solved at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference
Software Solved at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference 150 150 Jon Hogg

Software Solved at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference

On Friday 12th May Software Solved will be exhibiting, and speaking, at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference at the America Square Conference Centre in London. The conference is an opportunity for people in the charity sector to see the ways in which technology can transform their fundraising efforts. We are extremely excited to sponsor this conference, and for our Managing Director Anthony Peake, to be speaking.

The importance of digital strategy & transformation

A robust digital strategy has the potential to transform the way the charity sector works – including the ways in which they raise funds. From working with our charity partners we know that tight budgets mean that any digital projects have to really be worth it. That’s exactly why we’re so excited about digital transformation. Done well, with a software partner who understands your organisation, the results can be dramatic.

Digital transformation is more than just technology

A thorough digital strategy will encompass all aspects of your organisation. From people and processes, through to data and, yes, technology. This transformation process should involve your users and your people at every stage of the process to make sure you are continually refining and redefining the final outcome. Not only will this make the final result more effective, but you’ll have excited and inspired your users too.

System integration is key

A lack of system integration can cause all sorts of problems, prime amongst them is that the quality of your data is inevitably compromised through repeated manual entry. Besides this, it also makes processes a lot more drawn out and unnecessarily complex for you and your users. Ultimately, a high level of system integration will help to eliminate inefficiency and duplication from your workflows.

Visualise the bigger data picture

With only one year left until GDPR the onus is on organisations, charities especially, to link up, clean up and look after their data better. This doesn’t mean locking it away so no one can see it and make use of it though. Gaining meaningful insights from your data is central to any digital strategy – after all, most charities rely on it for some form of fundraising at the very least. Effective data visualisation has the power give you the right information at the right time and in the right format.

We’ll be at the Institute of Fundraising Technology Conference this week talking to charities about their digital strategies. If you want more insights on digital transformation in the charity sector, come and see us, or even better, go to the seminar Anthony will be speaking at. It starts at 12:50pm – don’t be late!

If you won’t be at the conference but you’d still like to find out more about what digital transformation can do for you, talk to us today.

Alternatively, you can download our white paper on digital transformation in the charity sector here.

Different types of data analytics
Different types of data analytics 150 150 Andrew Page

The human brain processes pictures far easier than large quantities of numerical data, therefore, raw and unprocessed data doesn’t offer real value to businesses. When your data is visualised with the right analytics, powerful insights can be unlocked, allowing business leaders to make reliable data-driven decisions.

Organisations often don’t know where to begin when it comes to analytics, with most remaining at the bottom of the curve. Realising what kinds of tools break data down to cultivate business growth and what the different types of analytics all mean, can be a complicated process.

The value of business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is not a one size fits all process. There are three different types of analytics, each offering a different insight to help companies make the most of the data they have. The value the data brings to the business increases as you provide more complex analytics.

Understanding data analytics

Descriptive analytics – ‘What happened?’

A retrospective view, descriptive analytics gives an insight into historical data to help organisations understand past behaviours and performance. This is the most basic form of analytics and pulls data into condensed and manageable information, think social media analytics.

Predictive analytics – ‘What’s probable?’

Predictive analytics is the next step in refining data. It helps organisations to understand what will happen in the future. By using data mining and machine learning algorithms to analyse past data patterns and trends, predictive analytics can help with goal setting and financial planning.

Prescriptive analytics – ‘Best course of action?’

This refers to the simulation and optimisation of data that goes beyond predictive analytics. Prescriptive analytics not only attempts to predict the future, but predict multiple outcomes based on implications of different decisions. This results in insights and recommendations on the best course of action.

Although many companies are at the descriptive stage, there’s no doubt that predictive and prescriptive analytics gives the best insight for informed decision making. However, as the volume of your data increases so does the complexity. This is where you could benefit from the expertise of a Data Analyst.

How can a data analyst help?

A data analyst can help you unlock the potential of your data, saving you a lot of time and headache. Working with a partner who has the expertise in data consultancy and understanding data and analytics can help you:

  • Get data into the right format for analysis
  • Consolidate data sources into a central depository or data warehouse
  • Integrate different systems to enable the smooth transfer of data
  • Advise on data cleansing and database optimisation
  • Automate manual data processing and re-keying

If you want to get the most value from you data, talk to us today.

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