Swiss Life puts data at the heart of its growth strategy with Tableau Software


A self-service BI platform at the heart of the company’s performance.
Implementation of one single source of true information for improved decision-making.
A data culture supported by a strong internal community.

*© Swiss Life Intellectual Property Management AG.

With operations in France dating back more than 110 years, Swiss Life is a leader in the insurance and asset management industries. The group chose Tableau in order to provide its teams with high-performance and cross-functional dashboards. Implementing an internal data culture allows Swiss Life to place data at the heart of its performance, thereby becoming a data-driven company that is better able to ensure innovation in its practices and identify business opportunities.

Simplifying access to company data

Swiss Life needed to streamline its data visualisation solutions. Three of these were already deployed within the group. Yet they gave rise to issues related to homogeneity and reliability of results, forcing IT to multiply their feeds and analysts to rely on different data sources. The system therefore suffered from a certain complexity related to the technology and costs.

The deployment is progressing continuously today. Swiss Life chose to rely on data sources that were already structured in order to be successful and to avoid having to tap into heterogeneous data that requires multiple connectors. In reality, the data displayed could only be effective if the sources were clear right from the start. Data marts containing all of the data to be used from more than 100 different sources were therefore either constructed or enriched upstream. A team was set up to manage and publish the indicators for implementation of the main project dedicated to customer relations. This team proved to be a guarantee of data reliability. It still remains the first point of contact today for all teams in this area who use Tableau within Swiss Life.

Tableau chosen as the benchmark BI solution after evaluating the market

It all started in 2017 with a study carried out on the decision-making architecture within Swiss Life. The aim of this was to determine the best data visualisation tool that allows data analysts to create dynamic and tailor-made dashboards. The study recommended opting for Tableau following a competitive bid process involving several stakeholders. The experts were of the opinion that this solution represented the most innovative tool, both from an analytical point of view and in terms of the user experience. The first Tableau licence was therefore purchased by Swiss Life at the end of 2017 with support from Actinvision, which played a role in integrating the solution. As a Tableau partner for several years, Actinvision was selected to support the teams with cultural adaptation of the solution and to help the analysts become familiar with the software.

Swiss Life wanted to ensure easier access to data by allowing teams to query data sources in multiple formats. Tableau has allowed us to implement a single and standardised base, saving time and increasing efficiency into the bargain.

One single dashboard and common indicators for managers and analysts

Each employee had previously had their own tool to manage. The Tableau solution means that managers and analysts now have common indicators available. Managers have the benefit of a comprehensive overview which allows them to distribute work and manage their specific activities more effectively. Tableau in particular allows them to customise their dashboards and carry out their own analyses based on their own data. The analysts have a detailed view available that gives them access to substantial amounts of data. This means that they can construct dashboards which the managers are then able to access.

A total of 225 dashboards have been created which can be viewed by employees at any time, and which provide as many as 1,630 different views. This new approach has resulted in undeniable efficiency and productivity savings.

More than a solution, a real transformation when it comes to data

Swiss Life has trained more than 200 users since 2018, with this figure set to rise to 300 by the end of 2020. The company continues to work hand in hand with Tableau and Actinvision with the aim of increasing use of the solution within the company. More than 10 days of training have taken place in one year with contributions from Tableau and Actinvision experts aimed at highlighting specific usage cases. The support provided by Actinvision promoted a cross-functional approach, thereby engaging a wide range of employees. This selection ensured that confidence was generated, which is essential in assisting with cultural adaptation and the use of common indicators.

Another crucial input was that Swiss Life began to pursue a change management process aimed at developing a data culture with Actinvision’s support. This process is based on the approaches common to Tableau’s “blueprint” method. Specifically, it enabled internal communities to be put in place centred around data. This way, Swiss Life is progressing towards becoming a data-driven company, i.e. an organisation that places data at the heart of its growth strategy.

Swiss Life has managed to create an internal community by implementing:
- “Dashboard Shows”: community-based events where users get together each quarter to share tips and to learn about other usage cases;
- newsletters published every two months with advice to analysts, useful links for specific user profiles and information for the internal community on progress regarding analytical uses.