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Business intelligence fuels Momentum innovation

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Leading financial services and credit provider Momentum, when faced with the
task of consolidating its book of insurers four years ago, required a
business tool that could automate the process, provide a clear view of
exactly what was in the business, and check run offs.

It is against this backdrop that Momentum, which is the insurance operating
and fund management subsidiary of the FirstRand Group, initially turned to
SAS Enterprise Miner, Base SAS and the Enterprise Guide tools to assist it
in collating the necessary data.
Four years down the line, Momentum has turned the simple use of a few tools
of the SAS portfolio into a fully supportive part of the business.  The
Business Intelligence team now extends a range of divisions within the
Momentum portfolio, providing critical information to the management of the
company, for use when exploring the launch and release of new financial
products.

The first step
Says Wesley Weidemann, Head of the Business Intelligence Unit at Momentum:
"At the end of the day it is all about the business of getting things done.
We are picky in the selection of the tools we use, only because they need to
be able to get the job done.  When we started this journey we had a data
tool which just didn¹t meet all of our requirements, this is when we turned
to SAS."
With its first use the SAS tools enabled Momentum to decrease run off in its
portfolios by 1%. While not seemingly a big figure, it saved the company
close to R100 million in the first instance. Armed with concrete results the
real work began, and the business intelligence team began tweaking and
perfecting the system to the point where it was able to also focus on
increasing retention, which gave it a further saving of R283-million.
These savings were achieved by building models by which to score Momentum's
brokers. As the company does not sell directly, but rather exclusively
through its broker base, this formed a critical component of the project and
also enabled the organisation to take advantage of a tangible scorecard for
the future.  Some immediate benefits included being able to measure the
lifetime value of the client, client segmentation and the "health" of the
broker base.
"It was an important milestone for us to be able to look at a segmentation
model that could allow us to better act when conducting business with our
brokers and also ensure that they didn¹t lapse unnecessarily. We used
techniques such as cluster analysis, that enabled us to identify gaps,
manage niche brokers and create talking points which the brokers could use
to better sell and promote the Momentum basket," adds Weidemann.

Further down the line
With the initial use of the SAS BI tools the BI team and its offering became
more invasive across the business, with new needs being identified
throughout the business.  One of these presented itself through the merging
of a number of the product lines into Momentum Retail. Another was marrying
the information it could now extract about each customer and segment and
providing this to the call centre, which in turn could use this to better
service customers.
Within the retail segment of the business, the SAS tools are now used as a
component within the marketing efforts. Seeing the success of the tools
elsewhere in the business, the marketing department requested a data
warehouse coupled with SAS analytics.
"The most appropriate place for a data warehouse in our business is in the
marketing department, they use it to its full potential," says Weidemann.
"The marketing team are now able to spur on the development of products
based on ideas for new services.  As an example they had an idea to sell
risk products off the back of retirement annuities, but needed to find the
appropriate customers in the database.
"Using the BI tools the team managed to find the nuggets in the data that
were the clients who would qualify, or be interested in this. The end result
was positive and it spun into a positive return on new business."

Projects on the go
Earning its dues, the BI team now assists right across the business. One
project includes the Retirement Booster Campaign where out of 93 000
customers the team was able to whittle down the potential list to 8 000
appropriate customers. Armed with this information the campaign was launched
and in little more than three months 325 policies were sold to high value
customers.
"It is all about supporting the broker, with intelligent information in
order to position the right product to clients and ultimately generating
quantifiable leads," says Weidemann.
Another successful project is the direct needs segmentation for Credit
Cards, where the BI team is using the SAS ETL tool, loading the segmentation
model, and physically pushing the leads through. This saw the start of the
"Save Through Spend" campaign, the Momentum loyalty programme that enables
customers to get cash back for what they spend at selected partners.
Customers using the credit cards are able to decide what they do with their
"saved" cash; Momentum in turn offers rewards for saving money. The
rationale behind this is to encourage long term savings and promote a
savings culture amongst South Africans.

Down the line
"The SAS software we use is truly a business enabler. We are able to perform
series' of important business decisions using the data we extract, we are
able to launch appropriate products to a carefully selected group of
customers, and more importantly we are able to better manage real business
risks such as run offs and customer attrition," adds Weidemann.
Momentum has also dramatically improved the customer call centre experience
by building intelligence into what its agents are able to offer customers.
This has put the humanity back into the call centre.
"In the beginning we all used SAS for the wrong reasons. But if you use it
as an analytical tool, such as it was intended, you won't look back.  We use
it because we can trust it, it is proficient, and it delivers the results we
need.  Most importantly we don¹t have to wait for the results we need, we
can run a query now and have the results in a couple of minutes.
"Looking ahead I think that business intelligence in general has a
prosperous future to look forward to throughout Momentum, as we are already
exploring new areas where we can use it," says Weidemann.