Small analytics projects can deliver big benefits

Small analytics projects can deliver big benefits

Last week I wrote about attending the recent Prometheus user day and briefly recapped a presentation outlining how one company, Peoplecare, is making the change to a data-driven culture. Today I’d like to share one final case study from that day.

St. LukesHealth embraces automation

Once again, it’s about a private health insurance company but this time the aspects of the study that impress me are speed and simplicity. St. LukesHealth’s experiences with analytics and automation have reconfirmed to me that BI doesn’t have to be big and complex. Small and targeted projects can deliver equally impressive benefits.

St. LukesHealth is a Tasmanian-based, not-for-profit health insurer that looks after more than 62,000 people. In the last few years, it has won a number of customer satisfaction awards and membership is increasing. It’s great for the business but growth has also highlighted the opportunity to automate and improve some of the organisation’s manual processes.

Early this year, Matthew Ranson, Senior Analyst, and Luke Cameron, Head of Member Services at St. LukesHealth, decided to automate a process that was eating into the time of some of its most experienced staff – the reconciliation of payroll group remittances.

Payroll groups are created when employees sign up to health insurance and elect to pay their premiums via payroll deductions. The paymaster deducts money from the employees’ wages, deposits it in the Fund’s bank account and sends St. LukesHealth a remittance advice detailing payroll numbers,  member names, numbers, and contributions.

Once the money is received, St. LukesHealth Member Services team reconcile the employer-provided information and payments with the information contained in the organisation’s own insurance operating software system, HAMBS.

In the past, reconciliation was carried out manually, with staff visually confirming that data on the employer’s PDF file matched that on their screens. It was tedious stuff.

Redesigning the process with ETL and Yellowfin

Matthew, Luke, and the Member Services team redesigned the process using ETL tools from Prometheus and the Yellowfin platform for data manipulation and reporting.

Their solution is simple: instead of PDF files, St. LukesHealth now receives employer-generated CSV files. This makes it easier to manipulate the data and insert it into a source CSV file. The system then matches employer numbers, payroll numbers, and dollar values. New screen designs display the results to operators showing member data on the left-hand side, filtered by group ID, and uploaded employer data on the right-hand side. Yellowfin’s conditional formatting helps to identify and highlight payments that do not reconcile.

It’s a simple but effective solution that has decreased payroll group processing time and increased efficiency by more than 25 percent. And it took just under two months to get up and running.

Even small projects can deliver big rewards

We hear so much about large BI deployments that sometimes it’s easy to forget that small analytics projects can also deliver big rewards. St. LukesHealth’s project of targeted process automation is enabling the organisation to better serve its growing membership. It has sped up and simplified a previously time-consuming and tedious task, thus improving staff morale. It has delivered quantifiable efficiencies and confirmed the value of analytics to the business.

 Not bad for a sixty-day project.

See what automation and analytics achieved for St. LukesHealth >