Five companies with standout information management implementations have been chosen by a group of information experts.
This award was created to recognize solutions that are groundbreaking and provide quantifiable business value. Innovation is partly about adapting to changing environments, and these solutions demonstrated the ability to respond to dynamic business goals or introduce a new approach or idea to a company or an industry. The winning projects involved new technologies or the adaptation of existing technology in a new use or different domain or in combination to create new value. The judges considered innovation to also include "contemporary," as in embracing modern computing strategies like mobility or cloud. Innovation was also established when a solution was used in ways that the implementer never originally intended, yet delivered new benefits.
A judging panel of the Information Management editorial team led by Editorial Director Jim Ericson chose these submissions for their demonstrated creativity, their establishment of competitive advantage or their positive impact on the bottom line.
Implementation Site: State of Michigan
Money can be hard to come by for government projects these days, particularly in Michigan, which has been slammed harder than most by unemployment and the recent recession.
Steeped in that cost crunch, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget put out bids for BI solution that updated and extended the state's data warehousing capabilities and came up with a solution that has accounted for $1 million per business day in financial benefits to the state in the form of fraud identification, operational efficiencies, and cost and sanction avoidance. The new architecture called on Teradata to join 474 data sets and 18,000 tables in Michigan's data warehouse environment, which has been in place since the mid-1990s. Even with an 8-terabyte data source, the new solution enables access and answers to questions "not even contemplated" a couple of years ago, says Carol Sherman, data director for the State of Michigan Sherman.
"It certainly [got] people's attention," Sherman said. "There are private companies looking at what Michigan was doing because of how we've been able to share data."
For example, the Department of Health and Human Services can access school and health agency data to place children in emergency need of foster care, even in the middle of the night.
In another use, workload management in Teradata kept health care records reform moving forward after losing 800 case workers to cutbacks.
Ten thousand day-to-day users in state government access reports and analytics, and post information for statewide use at no incremental cost. Sharing widely-accessible data is like compounded interest, Sherman says.
"In the beginning it was kind of tough to get agencies to share data. Everyone kept their information pretty close at hand," she said. "But once they found the value in it and saw that there was no harm in sharing their data, that barrier went down."
Category: Business Process Management
Implementation Site: Farmers Insurance
Stuart MacLean, director of claims IT at Farmers Insurance, says Pegasytems' BPM agility came aboard at just the right time.
Farmers, growing through acquisitions such as AIG's US Personal Auto Group and 21st Century Insurance ran into consolidation challenges that called for a unified claims system.
"Customer service at its core had become almost impossible. When hiring someone, we had to train them in five different systems across five disciplines," says MacLean. The solution involved Pegasystems BPM software, in which customer representatives would use a single application to train and complete their claims across multiple legacy systems. MacLean says this took the required training process from six weeks to a single day.
Using the technology, Farmers was able to quickly speed up its first notice of loss system for claims, a high-volume point of contact for customers when claims suddenly ramped. "This gave us a true advantage in incidents of catastrophe," says MacLean. "When we bring in temporary help for emergencies, they need to hit the ground running. Our goal was to make it so anybody could take a first notice of loss."
Based on Pegasystems BPM technology, Farmer's customized system, internally called Hero, triggers the relevant questions, gathers the answers and integrates into the claim system for specific loss types, which engage with the proper process workflows.
"Innovation comes from our internal secret sauce," says MacLean. But in terms of enablement, he adds, "Pega gave us the framework and the ability to transform how we do business via an agnostic front end, which positions us for growth and stability."
Category: Data Integration
Implementation Site: Station Casinos
From the pit boss to sophisticated cameras, casinos have long been innovators in watching over activities on their gaming floors, and Station Casinos' 18 properties in Nevada are no different. While those eyes and lenses kept ceaseless guard of physical assets, Station wasn't able to look at and connect the massive amounts of data produced underneath by customers for a deeper, diverse marketing and sales perspective.
"All of this information was out there, but it was in silos. Our people would come to meetings and have different numbers on the same topic," said Jeffry Martin said, Station Casinos director of BI.
Connecting the new, fuller view of information is an Informatica Platform, which integrates data from customers, gaming and financial metrics, based on a Teradata data warehouse and reporting from Cognos. The Informatica solution pulls information from as many as 500 heterogeneous legacy sources, without developing new data access programs or impacting mission-critical systems at Station.