Shelter Insurance Brings HR, Financials, and Analytics Together, part 2

The director of accounting at Shelter Insurance shares how his team is using Workday Prism Analytics to increase efficiencies, layer in data, and gain insights into Shelter's workforce and financials.

In part one of this blog series, Mark Stinson, director of corporate accounting at Shelter Insurance, shared how the company has transformed its HR processes with Workday Workday Human Capital Management and gained new insights into its business by having both finance and HR on a single, cloud-based system.

In part two, Stinson discusses how Shelter is also using Workday Prism Analytics to increase efficiencies, layer in operational data, and gain even deeper insights into its workforce and financials.

Your team has embraced Workday Prism Analytics. How has it been valuable?

After we completed our deployment of Workday Financial Management several years ago, we streamlined many different areas of our business. As we looked at our remaining processes and systems, we realized the financial planning and analysis team was still spending a lot of time accumulating data. They were not only reporting on financial data, but also operations data from all areas of the business. In addition, our goal reports looked at 12-month moving metrics versus our true year-to-date actuals. It required considerable work to gather and distribute these numbers. More of the time was spent on gathering and reporting the numbers and not as much time was available to perform more in-depth analytics.

That area was prime for a solution. With the launch of Workday Prism Analytics, we saw an opportunity to bring data into Workday that we use in our metrics, corporate goals, and objectives. Previously, this was a process that required a lot of manual effort. With Workday Prism Analytics, we’ve automated the process of integrating policy and claims data from multiple systems, and calculating 100-plus metrics, which we now provide to decision makers with drillable details. Because the metrics are calculated by the system, we have better control and less manual intervention.

How is Workday Prism Analytics helping you see a more holistic view of your data?

Previously in our ledger, we could see if our total losses were up or down, but we didn’t know why. Now with the metrics we load into Workday Prism Analytics, we can see whether any fluctuation in losses are related to specific factors, and we can get these insights the same day.

For example, if losses are up, we can see if they’re related to a frequency severity: For every 100 policies, how many claims do we have? Is that higher or lower than we expected it to be for this year? Are the claims for weather or non-weather events? What is the severity per claim? In other words, how much does each claim cost? Once we have these answers, we can better explain why we’re experiencing gains or losses.

We can also examine data by state, or by line of business, and delve into the details. In addition, we’ve loaded data into Workday Prism Analytics related to policy retention across the company, and gotten insights into how it compares to our estimates, how it compares by state, and which product lines are doing well.

And we can also load in mass quantities of data and capture information that we don’t want in our ledger. For example, we would not want to have every single claim number in the ledger. However, with Workday Prism Analytics, we have the opportunity to store it here and if it is needed, we can provide the information without having to rely on IT.

“With the launch of Workday Prism Analytics, we saw an opportunity to bring data into Workday that we use in our metrics, corporate goals, and objectives.”—Mark Stinson, director of accounting, Shelter Insurance

What are your plans for Workday Prism Analytics and other Workday products going forward?

From the beginning, we’ve deployed Workday products and consistently found success at each step of the journey.  We deployed successfully in finance first. That led to Workday HCM, which then led to Workday Prism Analytics. We’re going to distribute data from Workday to the executives around the building and show them how easy and smooth it is to use, and how they can benefit. We’re hopeful that will generate buy-in to do more.

Our future plans for Workday Prism Analytics include getting more involved with data discovery for ad-hoc analysis, in addition to rolling out a daily monitoring dashboard with key operational metrics and KPIs, and a management dashboard for employees to get visibility into company-wide performance. We are also currently expanding the number of data pipelines to allow for greater opportunities to correlate data from key operational areas of the company. We plan to explore developing pipelines to bring in external industry data.

I’m also part of another design partner group for Workday Accounting Center, and I’m excited about this. The goal of the project is to load large amounts of raw data into Workday Prism Analytics. Through that process, we want to map the data into the actual journal entries that go into the general ledger.

Today that all happens outside of Workday. We have a group in information services that accumulates the interfaces, maps them, and puts them into journals. But if we get to this point where we can load raw amounts of data into Workday Prism Analytics, then it’s translated into a journal entry and the two sources are 100 percent in sync. Then we’ll be able to analyze the Workday Prism Analytics data and have confidence that it’s reconciled back to our financial data.

Down the road, for our financials, I’d like to be able to see all the Workday Accounting Center details with just a few clicks. If all our data is integrated and stored in Workday Prism Analytics, we could click on a number in the general ledger and drill down to a specific piece of operational data stored in Workday Prism Analytics; we could run these reports solely from that Prism data source. You can get more insight into why the numbers are the way they are versus just getting these reports, and then having to do a behind-the-scenes analysis. That’s what I think the future could be, but it will take some effort to get there.

What is your wish list for Workday at Shelter in the future?

What I really like about Workday is that it’s always changing and evolving, so this is a hard question for me. Every year, technology is changing, reporting needs are changing, and we’re changing. Workday always evolves, and we have to evolve with it.

I know in two years I’ll be in a position where I want to evolve some more. I’ll want to bring in something else and look at this new piece. I see us getting to that next level with more analytics—providing more business-ready information to different departments. I want to use more analytics to help people make better business decisions.

In part one of this blog series, Mark Stinson shares his experience of deploying Workday HCM, including benefits they’re already seeing from having financials and HR in one system.

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