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MicroStrategy analytics platform helps Medibank add value

An Australian insurance company recently migrated its data operations to the cloud and, using MicroStrategy and AWS, has reaped benefits including improved efficiency.

Using the MicroStrategy analytics platform, along with data warehousing technology from AWS, Medibank Private Limited was able to migrate to the cloud and reduce costs, while also giving more employees access to business intelligence.

Medibank, founded in 1997 and based in Docklands, Australia, is a private health insurance provider covering more than 3.7 million people.

As recently as three years ago, Medibank's data was spread across multiple data warehouses and the organization was using seven different BI platforms to analyze and interpret its data.

That often made it difficult to find the right data at the right time to do quick analysis, and difficult for any employee other than someone with a background in data analysis to work with the organization's data to inform decision-making.

Knowing Medibank needed to be more efficient, and that its actuaries and agents needed to be able to work with copious amounts of medical data more easily, the organization determined that it needed to move to the cloud and to implement a more streamlined analytics program.

Cloud migration

Following a period of exploration to decide which cloud data warehouse and analytics vendors to use, Medibank took six months to prepare for its migration to the cloud, and with the assistance of MicroStrategy executed the migration in three months. The insurance giant selected AWS for cloud data warehousing, and Medibank pared down to MicroStrategy and Tableau Software from seven BI providers.

We wanted a one-stop shop for Medibank. We could reduce costs by reducing the number of warehouses and reducing the number of visualization tools -- no one needs seven visualization tools.
Craig RowlandsSenior executive of information management, Medibank

"We wanted a one-stop shop for Medibank," said Craig Rowlands, Medibank's general manager of information management, on Aug. 11 during a webinar hosted by MicroStrategy. "We could reduce costs by reducing the number of warehouses and reducing the number of visualization tools -- no one needs seven visualization tools. Nobody needs four data mapping tools, and we had four."

If Rowlands has one regret, he added, it's that Medibank didn't migrate to the cloud and streamline its analytics program sooner.

In the three years since starting to whittle down the number of tools it was using, Medibank invested 6.2 million Australian dollars ($4.5 million). According to the organization's calculations, that investment has returned AU$12.3 million.

"We should have gone faster," Rowlands said. "We waited too long. If you're looking at MicroStrategy as an example, you want the latest functionality and capabilities."

Using MicroStrategy's cloud analytics platform, Medibank has, ultimately, improved its ability to service the needs of its customers.

It's done that by adding self-service reporting and analytics capabilities that enable agents to make timely decisions without having to first consult with data teams.

In addition, Medibank has developed a relationship-review model that leads to more personalization and added capabilities that boost the accuracy of its reports.

The organization has 90 different critical reports and, using MicroStrategy, it's able to confirm whether the source of the information is good and the data is accurate.

"It's not just about making the data accessible to people, but making sure it's accurate so people can use it to make informed decisions," Rowlands said.

He added that when going from seven analytics platforms down to two, Medibank chose MicroStrategy because of its automated reporting capabilities and ability to make information easily digestible, even by people without a background in data analysis.

"The users are finding it easy to use, particularly the new functionality," Rowlands said. "We looked at some of the other tools and I actually felt they were a little bit clunky. They weren't as easy to use or as intuitive."

Meanwhile, with AWS, Medibank has been able manage all its customers' medical information, including placing security measures on sensitive healthcare data and establishing a data governance framework that simultaneously enables employees to confidently work with data, while limiting who can use what data and when.

In addition, by using a cloud data warehouse, rather than a host of on-premises data warehouses, Medibank says it has been able to reduce costs. The organization only pays for the compute power it uses and can turn its system off completely on weekends and holidays when it's not using it.

"When you're moving away from legacy products and moving onto AWS, you're at the latest version, and once you've made the move, you force yourself to stay on top of it so you reduce risk," Rowlands said. "And from that point forward, utilizing the tools you've got and the applications that are available, you get to process optimization."

Future plans

Now that Medibank is managing its data with AWS and using the complementary capabilities of MicroStrategy and Tableau for its analytics, it wants to do more.

One analytics capability it wants to take better advantage of is HyperIntelligence, according to Rowlands.

A user's email exchange information is displayed on a HyperIntelligence for Office card.
A HyperIntelligence for Office card displays information pertinent to a user's email exchange.

HyperIntelligence is a zero-click embedded analytics tools built with augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities. First introduced in 2019, HyperIntelligence uses cards that pop up as users scroll over to text -- including names and email addresses -- to deliver pertinent information that enables data-driven decision-making.

"For each customer and each lifestyle stage that they're at, we want to make insurance products and care readily available and accessible to them," Rowlands said. "We believe there are some unique HyperIntelligence use cases for us. We feel these are the next areas we want to break into."

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