April Group provides insurance to individuals and businesses.
In all industries, knowing your prospects and customers is a key to success. APRIL uses Semarchy to aggregate customer and prospect data from all subsidiaries in a simple, relevant and efficient way.
Created in 1988, APRIL is an international group of insurance services, established in 33 countries across Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is the wholesale brokers leader in France. Listed on Euronext Paris (Compartment B), the group achieved turnover of 997,2 million euros in 2018. Its 3,907 employees design, manage and distribute specialized insurance solutions (health and welfare, damage, mobility and legal protection) as well as assistance services for individuals, professionals and businesses. From its origin, APRIL has had one ambition: to change the image of insurance and make it simpler and more accessible to all. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial culture, the group continues its development around four principles to better serve its customers: trust, dare, innovate, and keep it simple. www.april.com
Client Data Challenge
The digital transformation initiative, started by the group and relayed by the APRIL Digital division, raised the strategic need for prospect-customer data cross-referencing automation. Denis Lapierre, Deputy Managing Director of APRIL Technologies, is in charge of the team working on the Digital, CRM and Data subjects. “We were taking time to get results. The reconciliation of prospects and clients identities was non-automated and mainly carried out through macros and manual queries on databases. We wasted analytics time and resources into technical operations with no added value. The APRIL Digital team expressed the need to reconcile prospects with the subsidiaries’ customer base, in order to optimize the lead management processes,” said Lapierre. The company structure and size made it difficult to consolidate data. "As some of the group's subsidiaries joined through external growth, we have a very wide variety of information systems, which complicates the consolidation exercise,” said Lapierre. These various points led APRIL to a conclusion. He added, "The need for a Data Hub making it possible to aggregate customer and prospect data from all subsidiaries as simple, relevant and efficient as possible".
Semarchy Intelligent Data Hub Choice
After a preliminary study, the choice was made to explore Master Data Management (MDM) tools, which are more relevant for this type of need. Among the different offers on the market, Semarchy xDM, the Intelligent Data Hub solution, was selected after an RFP and POC. “The ease of use of the solution, the efficiency of its user interface, and its native data consolidation capabilities using rules enabled Semarchy to take the lead over its competitors. We appreciated the richness and performance of the tooling to implement management rules. These are essential elements for a data hub. Another important criterion of choice was the ability to easily manage security: define as precisely and easily the user privileges to read as well as modify information in the hub,” described Lapierre. “The total cost of ownership of the solution also sets it apart from its competitors; Semarchy, as a company, stands out for its proximity and the quality of the exchanges, due to its structure on a human scale. This allows the APRIL group to work in a real partnership.”
An efficient solution implementation
The Semarchy xDM implementation by their partner Keyrus has been very satisfactory for APRIL Group. “The installation of the solution is extremely simple and the partner, Keyrus, is skilled with the tool. The ease of use of the solution enabled the project to start up almost immediately, without us having to call Semarchy on a regular basis beyond the initial training,” said Lapierre. During the project, some ad hoc performance difficulties linked to changes in the deduplication rules were quickly addressed with the help of the vendor. Lapierre explained, “The proximity to Semarchy and the availability of their experts have enabled us to find quick solutions to the few difficulties encountered. The platform offers a wide variety of data management rules and provides the ability to adapt them (or create new ones) in a language very close to SQL, which facilitates both designing and changing matching, consolidation and data quality rules.”
During the project, some ad hoc performance difficulties linked to changes in the deduplication rules were quickly addressed with the help of the vendor. Lapierre explained, “The proximity to Semarchy and the availability of their experts have enabled us to find quick solutions to the few difficulties encountered. The platform offers a wide variety of data management rules and provides the ability to adapt them (or create new ones) in a language very close to SQL, which facilitates both designing and changing matching, consolidation and data quality rules.” APRIL pushes the subsidiaries' data into the hub using an integration architecture adapted to its specificities. “We have set up different models in order to offer integration solutions to the subsidiaries, under full IT control or under their control for those who have skills in-house,” said Lapierre.
Thanks to Semarchy, APRIL was able to start setting up its Intelligent Data Hub platform. “Today the data hub component is passive, in the sense that Semarchy xDM, receives the data, consolidates it and presents it to our different subsidiaries”. In a second step, it is planned to make the brick "active" on certain data of the operational systems of the subsidiaries. APRIL therefore wishes to use xDM in another role. “Tomorrow, the data hub must also be able to become a central hub for a number of ou subsidiaries’ back-offices applications, in order to offer them the most up-to-date customer data. The main purpose of a Data Hub is to be able to exploit all the customer data of all the subsidiaries and to benefit from a greater richness and a better relevance of the data, in order to update all our systems,” said Lapierre.
Since the beginning of this project, APRIL has been working on the data governance aspects, with the group's legal department, among others. “We work on several axes, in particular on the respect for privacy, supported by the group's marketing and subsidiaries. We have also taken into account the legal constraints and obligations concerning the types of storable data and their retention periods, which differ completely between customer data and prospect data,” said Lapierre.
“The real complexity of such a project must lie in the data quality and governance choices, and not in the technical issues. We have not encountered such problems. I think it is important to underline the simplicity of implementation of the solution. Managing data modeling is extremely simple.” One achievement of the project is to have remained strictly within its budget and planning limits. The benefits, following the implementation of the Semarchy platform, were quickly felt. “During the first implementations, and during the POC (Proof of Concept) with Semarchy, after integrating data from the first subsidiaries, it was already possible to see the richness of the aggregated customer history. We have brought to light benefits and significant business potential,”Lapierre explained. “The Intelligent Data Hub platform gives us the flexibility to go back to the model and quickly modify the rules and interfaces. We do this regularly because we integrate a very large number of subsidiaries. We have to modify the consolidation and quality improvement model and rules every month.”
Long term results
APRIL has several goals for the rest of its project. Firstly, by taking an advanced data analytics perspective. “The Data Hub greatly simplifies business data cross-analysis. In a second step, it should make it possible to guarantee data quality consistency within our subsidiaries’s systems and support the achievement marketing and sales targets. Finally, the hub opens new perspectives for higher service quality and greater added value for the group,” explained Lapierre. With this Intelligent Data Hub now in place and allowing the consolidation of initial data within the group, APRIL will offer better customer knowledge to its internal teams and partners, and open up new prospects for quality of service.