Barbican Case Study (Now part of Arch Insurance)

Insurance Companies use Anaplan to Automate and Improve Reporting Processes

Insurance companies often face the challenge of having to deal with lots of calculations of varying complexity across different departments. Many insurers have found that Anaplan helps them manage the challenges that comes with large, complex and business critical calculations, coupled with their need to provide internal reporting of results. Barbican Insurance Group has implemented Anaplan’s cloud-based business planning and execution platform bringing more control to their business planning and less labour-intensive reporting.

Collecting data and user inputs from many different departments can make reporting a slow and time-consuming activity. Using spreadsheets brings problems around tracking changes and having multiple people working from the same spreadsheet. If the calculations are found to be wrong, finding the error responsible can be difficult.

A number of insurance companies have found that automated simplified reporting structures accelerate the process so things can be done that wouldn’t have been possible with spreadsheets.

“The insurance sector is one of the world’s most heavily regulated industries and if a business can find a way to not only streamline the reporting process, but also make it more accurate, this represents a crucial competitive advantage. The Anaplan platform can offer such an advantage – our analysis function could be central to the growth of organizations in this sector.”

Barbican Insurance Group

Mentat Technology supported Barbican with their initial Anaplan implementation. Barbican’s objective was to use Anaplan to help with their reserving process, allowing them to calculate how much money should be held to meet all future claims. Anaplan now handles all of their reserving calculations and Barbican have expanded their use of Anaplan to include Financial Planning and Analysis.

“With Anaplan we can now aggregate up from the most granular level. This gives us greater analytical capabilities which facilitate more informed decision-making,”

said Alastair Lauder, Syndicate Actuary for Barbican Insurance.

“Our actuarial modelling process is now much quicker in terms of processing time, and as a result we are able to spend more time on the analysis itself. Reporting both externally and internally is now far easier.”

Following their successful implementation, members of the project team at Barbican have continued to recommend Mentat Technology as an implementation partner to other insurers who have wanted to start using Anaplan.

About Mentat Technology

Mentat Technology have been working with Anaplan since 2013 and are accredited as a Bronze Partner. As one of the earliest Partner Consultancies in the UK, Mentat Technology has a highly experienced and skilled team of consultants who specialise in a range of industries and use cases.

What is Anaplan?

Many visitors to this website are existing users of Anaplan, potential new users of Anaplan, or people who are like us, who make their living by offering services involving Anaplan.

So the more technical how-to guides blogs are great for them.

However, we are now looking to reach out to more potential users of Anaplan rather than get our business purely by word of mouth.

So to the uninitiated, what is Anaplan?

The Origins of Anaplan

Systems like Anaplan date back to a time where you couldn’t hold all of your data in one place, so you would aggregate it to make sense of it. That means you take your raw data and process it to make new data that takes up less space that just gives you what you need to know. In sales this might be removing the details of every transaction but keeping the total sales figure for a region or salesperson for a particular month.

Storing this data in a way that makes it easy to process and run calculations with is where Enterprise Performance Management tools come in. Another or slightly different way to look at the same thing, is that if you are measuring performance, you may be measuring it against milestones that you have set at the beginning of the year to achieve your end of year revenue goal. So you can think of it as a planning tool. You make a plan for what you hope to achieve in the coming year and then you measure performance against that plan.

Still worth working with simplified versions of the truth

As technology has advanced, you now can hold all of your transactions and work with that data, and some people may want to work with that original raw data in some circumstances.

However, working with aggregated data allows you to just work with the bits you need and play around with it and do calculations with it in a way that would be harder if you worked with the raw full data set.

Excel

A lot of people will use Excel for this planning process using aggregated data. In a lot of situations Excel is still the right tool, however there will be times that there may be better tools, particularly if you are working with a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of users are working on any one spreadsheet. There may be a process which involves a sequence of people having to do something with it, so the second has to wait for the first to have done their bit. There may be more than one cycle, so it’s getting passed around, and any delays affect everyone else in the process. From being a great flexible tool, Excel starts to look like the wrong tool for an organisation that can afford something better.

I know what kind of companies have bought Anaplan in the past, but maybe I shouldn’t say that only those companies will buy it in the future.

Traditionally these type of tools are used in finance initially, then maybe being rolled out into sales or operations. HR is a possibility too. Anaplan can do all of these, but is stepping out of the finance use cases much more than earlier types of this sort of tool.

Why is that ?

Anaplan has been developed by a team that worked with and designed earlier generation planning tools and knew that it could be done better.

I could mention the specific areas of functionality that make Anaplan different, but the end result is that you can start with a smaller project and it still be viable. You can build your models quicker. I should explain that a model is a bit of the world that you want to capture with words, calculations and logic. In the same way that for a computer game, you create a virtual world with numbers and calculations, a financial model is one that takes numbers, calculations and logic to replicate parts of a business. You may want to follow accepted accounting principles to describe the transactions of your company, or you may want to devise your own measures and calculations to give a completely new perspective on things.

As well as modelling existing processes and planning, you may want to use Anaplan to do completely new things using it’s powerful calculation engine, and ability to work with numbers that have an underlying order but are on a scale that could be unmanageable in more basic tools.

Get in touch

Anyone who wants to know more is welcome to get in touch with me. Particularly people who are getting frustrated with Excel or their existing legacy software. Anaplan can also be used to custom build something to replace business software that is already in place but is starting to look dated and expensive. Anaplan may not be the right tool for all situations, but you are welcome to ask me and I can look into it with our experts. Often the ongoing costs for a legacy product that isn’t keeping pace with requirements can be more than ongoing costs of something built with Anaplan. The functionality developed with Anaplan can then be built on by the client in future without resorting to code (ie programming). colin.wall@mentattechnology.co.uk