Reflections from the 2016 Insurance Analytics Conference

  • Posted on November 8, 2016


The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Steve Magennis.

Avanade was a track sponsor for this year’s Insurance Analytics conference in New Orleans.  Not only was I able to indulge in a beignet at the famed café du monde in the French quarter, but I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with many people about how they see analytics impacting their business.

By my highly non-scientific estimate, half of the attendees represented the business and half represented IT.  This was my first surprise of the show and a clear indication that analytics has moved from being primarily a topic of technical conversation to being a tangible business enabler Twitter [CLICK TO TWEET].

Very few people this year were talking about data being ‘big’ anymore.  Everyone accepts that the volume, types and sources of data have exploded beyond the confines of a company’s four walls, and everyone knows that the problems being addressed with data have gone well beyond compliance reports, monthly metrics and actuarial.  Mercifully, the term ‘big data’ seems to have faded from the industry vernacular, and we can all again just call it data.

The second (very pleasant) surprise for me was that the mention of ‘cloud’ no longer elicited an autonomic reflex.  It really felt like people were ready to have a purposeful conversation about how best to take advantage of the technology within their organization and live harmoniously within the constraints imposed by regulation.

Finally, we got a peek into the future, with a demonstration of how the cloud, data, AI and bots can all work together to enable personable omni-channel customer experience at scale.  We saw a system that communicates with customers in natural language – spoken and written, using data and analytics to establish context and relevance in the conversation.  The system attempts to balance the needs of the customer, the goals of the insurer and the propensity for the two to align.  The demonstration also showed how the system was also able to self-assess performance and recognize when it got in over its head, quickly routing the conversation and associated information over to a real person.

When I think about the new roles analytics can play in insurance due to unprecedented access to massive amounts of economical storage, compute power, connectivity and tooling, the list of use cases balloons, especially when it comes to creating more effective levels of engagement with customers and affiliated organizations. In my next blog post, I’ll go into this topic in more depth, as well as announce new Avanade research that will launch very soon.

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