WoodmenLife gets better data for governance with Alation

WoodmenLife, a sister insurance organization based in Omaha, Nebraska, has taken some steps over the past few years to improve data handling. These include adding Power BI and Snowflake to its operations. The firm, however, has found that it still needs to get better at finding data and using it to measure and manage.

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Cam Rocon, Data Scientist, WoodmenLife.

To do this, he turned to Alation, an analytics and data management provider, said Kam Rokon, a data officer at the firm. “We didn’t prioritize optimization in terms of data, architecture, and technology,” he recalls. “This has led us to become heavily polluted with Access databases and Excel files that are very manual.”

With Alation, WoodmenLife can now find data sources and select the most appropriate source of information, Rokon says. “Being able to show this value of data and then help people connect it in terms of data can help you see how the new product that we started selling, how it actually works and not just goes away, here is the number of our participants and here how many bonuses we get,” he said. “Now they have much deeper knowledge and the ability to make business decisions based on these metrics that we can now create from data.”

WoodmenLife also uses Alation to improve the accuracy of its information. For example, with customer information, a sales rep might enter a phone number and notes about the customer. A phone number that includes alphanumeric values ​​such as area codes can pose a problem for the back office. Alation, according to Rocon, “essentially teaches people how to use data, why data matters, why it is good to store data, and why data quality matters. and find the instantaneous value.

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The firm was able to take the initiative as Alation manages its data in the cloud instead of WoodmenLife cleaning up its data locally. “Alation scans it and tells you if it goes to our ETL, if it goes to our corporate data warehouse, and then it goes into all those reports,” Rokon said. “Being able to do it this way is not only faster, it’s also more efficient because you’re not managing data that you can never use again, and that doesn’t really even have to do with moving forward. .”

Rocon estimates that WoodmenLife’s data staff spend about 85% of their time discovering, cleaning, and cleaning data, with only 15% of the time spent on data analytics. According to Rokon, Alation changed that ratio. “Now they can use a lot more time to actually analyze the data,” he said, adding that before, “we never had an idea of ​​the granularity that we really need.”

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