DELA, a leading insurance company founded in 1937 and based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, was looking to completely overhaul the way its customer services system operated, creating a new style of “customer-orientated working” within the organisation.
As a non-profit cooperative each of its members are also stakeholders within the company, and thus providing the optimal customer experience is a fundamental part of DELA’s business model. As DELA provides 1.5 million funeral savings and life insurance policies to 3.7 million members in both the Netherlands and Belgium, providing a single customer view had proved a difficult process, as data on policies, households and history was held across 12 separate applications. This meant staff were restricted as to what customer information they could access, thus needing to request further customer information from colleagues and taking more time to service the customer to the standard that DELA’s members expect.
DELA’s ultimate aim was to provide a single portal where all customer information would be available to each of its customer service employees, expediting the customer services process and raising customer satisfaction.
Moreover, as an organisation that deals with funeral services (of which DELA handles around 40,000 per year), having an accurate portrait of all members was necessary to ensure all customer correspondence was sensitive. DELA recognised that high quality, consistent data was vital to achieving its vision for a customer-orientated approach.
The importance of a robust CRM system was not a new concept for DELA and it was an early adopter of Microsoft Dynamics, deploying the CRM system only a week after its initial release in 2013. For DELA the crux of the entire project was to ensure that Dynamics itself would serve as the master data source, avoiding the costly and inefficient route of building a separate MDM hub.
When Raymond Aerts, Project Manager, discovered that Syncsort could provide a proprietary data cleansing plug-in for Dynamics, it was clear that he had found the only solution capable of supporting his goal of real-time data quality checks within the Dynamics environment.
A key challenge for DELA was the sheer volume of data that it holds. Combining household, policy, and customer contact details DELA handles tens of millions of records, with an average of 1,000 records added or updated every day. As Aerts describes, “This large amount of data was siloed across 12 different applications inconsistencies in the data formats and duplication of customers were commonplace. Multiple customer entries, misspellings in names and addresses, information entered in incorrect fields; each individual application came with its own set of data quality problems built up over many years.”
Using Trillium DQ, the team spent six weeks at DELA creating the data standards necessary to cleanse the misfielded, inaccurate and irrelevant data values. Trillium DQ was also implemented to remove duplicate records, validate addresses and identify relationships between customer and policy data. By the end of this period, no manual matching was necessary; all data matching was automated Trillium DQ. This process was performed across the 12 different business applications prior to migration.
Once the data had been cleansed and data standards set, the process of data migration and initial loading of data into the company’s central data warehouse began. DELA’s Systems Integrator partner, CRM Partners, then loaded data into Microsoft Dynamics.
A daily load process has been established and batch data quality processes performed on a daily basis for the majority of DELA’s systems, with one already operating real-time data quality checks within Dynamics. This will lay the foundation of high quality information and ensure Dynamics is a trusted master source for all customer records, which will then synchronise with the line of business source systems. The system typically handles in excess of 1,000 updates or inserts to records daily. The next step was to enable real-time data quality checks using Trillium Quality for Dynamics. The solution allows data quality rules built within the Trillium Software System to be applied directly within Dynamics as new customer records are created or changes made to customer records, without interruption to the user experience. Trillium Quality for Dynamics is live to support one of DELA’s back office systems with plans to expand this across more systems, negating the need for the batch data quality process.
During this time, DELA staff was also trained in data maintenance and monitoring of Microsoft Dynamics, empowering data stewards within the organisation to oversee data governance and manage the quality of data themselves in the future. There is now clear ownership for the quality of data residing within Dynamic with the standards and monitoring processes to ensure data quality can be continually improved over time.