Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse and Exasol

More data, more users, faster turnarounds –
how the Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse is changing to a data-driven business

The Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse (SBK) is Germany’s largest company statutory health care insurer and also one of the country’s 20 largest businesses. It’s open to Siemens employees and others Germany-wide – 1500 employees look after over a million people and a further 100,000 business customers in 94 branches. Thanks to our data analytics platform, SBK now works with state-of-the-art data analytics delivering fast, stable and customer-centric data.


Challenges

Exponential increase in data volumes and employees put the previous system under severe pressure and analyses took a long time to complete

Solutions

Our database is now SBK’s central data warehouse in a 5+1 cluster configuration

Benefits

It now only takes 4 instead of 12 hours to load the data warehouse

Exasol is definitely the right choice for us. It allows us to meet the demands of our internal and external customers in a timely, technically stable way while delivering first-class results.

Christian Kämpfer Senior data management BI and data warehouse expert at SBK
0 MIL.+

people looked after by SBK

0

employees

0

data processes migrated to Exasol

6.5 hours to 0 minutes

reduction in time taken for typical data queries to be delivered

Background

For over 100 years, the SBK has been working in the interests of the people it insures, positioning itself as a pioneer for truly competitive quality in the German statutory health care sector. The SBK believes that transparency for the insured is important – from the relevant financial ratio to the motivation, advice and service quality of German statutory health care insurers. The SBK combines a customer-focused approach with the best of personal and digital health care while also actively driving the digitalization of health care in general. You need substantial data that’s always accessible to create customer-specific offers, answer service queries or issue patient receipts.

  • Industry Financial Services
  • Application BI acceleration
  • Database Exasol
  • BI Tool QlikView
  • ETL Tool DataMigrator
Case study background details

The journey

You can use our analytics database with our private cloud, any public cloud, on premises – or as part of a hybrid deployment.

The challenge

Growing data volumes, complex querying and increased demands for stability and performance
Over the last few years, SBK’s data volumes have increased exponentially as has the number of employees who use them. The goal is to expand the data-driven approach and customer-centric directions while making business decisions based on up-to-date data and detailed reports.

‘As a technologically well-positioned business, we want to offer our customers an even better service through data analytics. Our previous solution struggled to process large data volumes so various departments were unable to use up-to-date data’, says Joachim Zaspel, SBK’s analytics, data and digitalization management architect.

‘Our aim is to securely integrate new data that’s currently not being analyzed into reports – while complying with data privacy regulations. The current data sources already put the existing system under severe pressure. Analyses take a long time to complete, sometimes a few hours, and in other cases queries are suddenly abandoned.’

The solution

Zaspel and his team started to search for a new data analytics solution. It had to be fast, reliable and highly scalable, able to process large data volumes efficiently while requiring low levels of administration. The new solution also needed to be compatible with the extract, transform, load (ETL) tool DataMigrator and the business intelligence (BI) frontend QlikView the SBK already uses.

‘The long-term goal is to offer our customers a high level of technological services. The data warehouse shouldn’t just hold standard data sets but be able to process large data volumes and make these available to the right people. New and faster data analyses should improve internal processes. This saves money and lets our advisers present innovative offers to customers’, explains Zaspel.

After a detailed market analysis and an extensive tendering process, SBK opted for our data analytics solution.

‘The first proof of concept (POC) with Exasol delivered great results’, says Christian Kämpfer, SBK’s data management BI and data warehouse expert. ‘Our existing data warehouse migrated to Exasol within three hours. We didn’t think this was actually possible. We then started working with Exasol straight after the migration – not just with two data sets but with our whole data volume.’

Our platform was put through its paces again in a second POC – with the same result. ‘The potential of Exasol’s analytics database is seemingly limitless. The system isn’t just robust and extremely powerful, it’s also great to work with’, enthuses Kämpfer.

A total of 2000 data processes were migrated. Our database is now SBK’s central data warehouse in a 5+1 cluster configuration. The BI and analytics consultancy blueforte GmbH managed the project and the data engineering.

‘The SBK always strives to be customer-friendly – it’s fascinating. SBK employees are now able to spend more time with customers, especially when it comes to dealing with more complex cases and queries. Automated, data-driven processes make this possible. This was the focal point of our work’, explains Carsten Hehl, senior managing consultant at blueforte GmbH.

The benefits for SBK

Solid foundation for data analyses

Ten BI experts currently develop and administer our data analytics solution together with a further 15 employees from different specialist divisions. All of them can issue queries at the same time and even large script analyses don’t result in a drop in performance. ‘We’re very happy with the new solution when it comes to scalability, stability and quality’, explains Kämpfer. ‘All processes are stable and we’re delighted with the speed. It now only takes 4 instead of 12 hours to load the data warehouse.

Exasol delivers a typical data query in 21 minutes rather than the 6.5 hours our previous system took.’

Kämpfer continues: ‘The significant reduction in maintenance is great. We don’t have to tune the system or extensively support the indexes. It’s wonderful to work with Exasol’s one-stop hardware and software.’

New complex data sources are now easily integrated thanks to our data analytics. ‘We always struggled with data volumes that ran into billions of lines. Either the processes were suddenly abandoned or we had to manually create data packages and load them one after the other. With Exasol and massive parallel processing (Loading...MPP) this is no longer a problem’, says Zaspel.

‘We previously had to rely on work-arounds due to the limited scalability – this is no longer necessary’, stresses Kämpfer. ‘This became especially apparent in the scope of services. We had to retain data separately across numerous systems and data warehouses. The data volume was simply too big to be processed. Now all data is consolidated in Exasol and it’s easy to check the services an insured person has used. An adviser can then tailor service offers accordingly.’

Franz-Joseph Becker-Thöne, SBK’s head of controlling, has worked with various generations of data warehouses over the years. ‘We’re looking for a high level of self-service’, Becker-Thöne points out. ‘It doesn’t make sense if a controller can access the data but the person who actually needs it can’t. It’s important for us that colleagues can use the data efficiently and run the right reports independently. After all, they’re responsible for the work, can access and need to work with the data. Exasol allows us to do exactly this for the first time.’

The foundation for commercial success – a new data warehouse

‘With Exasol as the foundation we can bring out the best in our data. Efficiency has increased tremendously – an important requirement to deliver innovative services to our customers. Analyses are now better supported than ever thanks to a powerful and low-maintenance solution. Queries are answered quicker, specifically and in more detail. A team currently develops analytics applications to serve our customers even better. We’re already seeing the benefits’, points out Zaspel.

Kämpfer concludes: ‘Exasol is definitely the right choice for us. It allows us to meet the demands of our internal and external customers in a timely, technically stable way while delivering first-class results.’

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