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SMA Introduces Data Mastery Model

Staff Writer | July 17, 2014

Strategy Meets Action has released a new research report, Data Mastery in Insurance: A Path to Insight, Intelligence, and Innovation. The report introduces the SMA Data Mastery Model to aid insurers in assessing their current level of data mastery, defining their desired maturity level, and developing plans for improvement.

As insurers move from BI to advanced analytics and then to emerging analytics capabilities, data mastery through enterprise-wide initiatives is mandatory in order to fully realize the transformative and innovative power of analytics.

The report describes five levels of maturity, based on capabilities in the six key areas of strategy, organization, governance/data quality, data integration, data sources spectrum, and BI/analytics spectrum.

"As the dawn of a new industry and the Next-Gen Insurer emerge and are accelerated by an explosion of new data, having an enterprise data management strategy that provides a foundation and path for data mastery maturity has never been more critical," says Denise Garth, SMA Partner. "As data gains increasing importance in today's digital world, the strategic importance of data mastery will continue to rise, separating the winners from losers in a fast-changing marketplace."

The findings, based on interviews and a survey of 145 insurance professionals from P&C and L&A in North America, include the following:

  • A relatively high percentage of insurers assess their maturity for data management to be at the two lowest levels of the data mastery model, signaling a major challenge for insurers wanting to leverage BI and analytics (55 percent of P&C and 34 percent of L&A insurers are at the "ad hoc" or "tactical" stages of maturity).
  • Seventy-five percent of insurers are using some form of enterprise data model, although the approaches and models used vary significantly.
  • Insurers see a vital role for data standards and industry models in supporting an enterprise data strategy, with 58 percent citing consistent data definitions as the top benefit.
  • Forty-three percent of P&C insurers and 30 percent of L&A insurers claim they have no enterprise-wide data management strategy.

Co-author and SMA Partner Mark Breading adds, "Mastering enterprise data takes C-level commitment and a coordinated set of initiatives. It takes sustained funding, expertise, and consistent execution to improve the organization's maturity level. However, the payoff from these initiatives is substantial, positioning the company to improve operational efficiencies, grow profitably, and transform to a Next-Gen Insurer."

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