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Zurich UK: Delivering improved business insights

The Challenge

Zurich UK required strategic data engineering support to enable it to establish a best-in-class Data Architecture and Analytics function.

Zurich is one of the largest insurance companies in the world, providing a range of products to individuals, businesses and the public sector.

In 2017, the firm set up a dedicated Data Architecture and Analytics (DAA) function. Its remit is to bring together consistent and accurate data from across the organisation’s many source systems and present this to the business in ways that aid reporting and front-line operations.

Softwire was brought in as a strategic data engineering partner to accelerate the establishment of the DAA function. The aims were twofold: deliver a variety of strategic technical projects, and help the firm grow and upskill its in-house data engineering capability to a point where it was self-sufficient.

Our Solution

Softwire delivered a number of important data engineering projects, which included helping Zurich recruit the right in-house team, as well as implementing ways of working designed to help the Data Architecture and Analytics function respond effectively to business requirements.

Strategic projects

Zurich established a strategic, firm-wide data warehouse, which brought together information from a large number of source systems. For the benefits of this consolidated view to be felt across the business, they needed an easy way to get this data in front of the right people at the right time.

Building a self-sufficient team

In parallel, we supported our client to build their in-house team from 3 FTE to more than 35. Will Davis, Data Development Lead at Zurich, explains:

“Softwire helped us understand the level of skills and technical background we required to create a best-in-class data engineering capability. Their team also established and upskilled us in the best ways of working, and the broader technologies we required to run and maintain our large estate of data solutions and code. Central among this was getting us a lot closer to DevOps-style continuous deployment of our code. This is particularly challenging to achieve in the data engineering space, given the number of moving parts.”

The Result

Zurich now has a self-sufficient data engineering function, equipped with tools and processes that are enabling it to deliver tangible value to the business.

A fully capable in-house data engineering function, skilled in best practices around continuous deployment and integration and equipped with easily maintainable, best-in-class tooling to deliver insights to the business in a responsive way.

Faster customer service

The benefits are already being felt. Their first-line contact centre is using our web portal to route customer enquiries significantly more quickly. Where this could previously take up to 30 minutes per enquiry, the new tooling has reduced this to as little as a few minutes.

Optimisation work is continual, as the team produce and upgrade the data warehouse infrastructure to support wider operational use.

“Best-in-class specialist partner”

Davis concludes by reflecting on the impact Softwire has had: “To help us establish the Data Architecture and Analytics function, we wanted to work with – and learn from – best-in-class specialist partners. This is why we chose Softwire.

What’s stood out about Softwire is the way they have genuinely bought into helping us improve our team and ways of working. It was obvious that alongside their work to deliver the various data engineering projects, they were committed to helping us achieve self-sufficiency.

“This meant when we took over full responsibility, the transition was completely seamless, and we can now confidently deliver ever-increasing value to the business.”

Interested in reading about our other projects? See a list of all our case studies, where you can explore our work with the BBC, Metaswitch, Channel 5, Redburn and many more.

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The project
The aim of this project was to provide strategic data engineering services and training to support the creation of Zurich's in-house Data Architecture and Analytics function.

The results
Zurich now has a fully capable in-house data engineering team, empowered with best-in-class tools and ways of working that enable it to support the business effectively.