Helsana is the largest health insurance provider in Switzerland with 1.9 million customers and a turnover of 6.4 billion Swiss Francs.
The Tech Decision
Reliance on hand coding, manual handoffs and tribal knowledge meant that Helsana’s BI team could not deploy new data solutions and updates at the pace of modern business. The company’s data ecosystem needed modernizing to shorten development cycles and make the company more agile.
Outdated tools and methodologies required Helsana to pay huge costs for up to 15 external resources at once just to keep up with scheduled releases. At that time, such complex releases took 30-40 person days to complete.
The team consulted Swiss BI experts IT-Logix twice to review their processes on the SAP side. When Gallus Messmer, data warehouse architect at Helsana, visited TDWI Switzerland in November 2017, he saw that IT-Logix were co-sponsoring a stand with WhereScape data automation software, whose Data Automation capabilities were already on Helsana’s radar.
Gallus joined WhereScape’s hands-on Test Drive workshop at the event, in which he tried data modelling tool WhereScape 3D and data infrastructure building and management tool WhereScape RED for himself.
Under expert guidance and in response to real-world scenarios, Gallus built an automated data warehouse in just two hours.
With interest raised Helsana contacted WhereScape, who sent a Solutions Architect for a three-day proof of concept to show the effectiveness of WhereScape 3D and WhereScape RED with Helsana’s own data.
The WhereScape Solution
The Helsana team tried the software out and saw how WhereScape data automation software enables complex data ecosystems to be designed, built and managed via a drag-and-drop development environment.
After the proof of concept and following satisfactory answers to some very technical questions, the Helsana team were convinced that WhereScape was the right tool for their requirements.
The company also evaluated other software providers before choosing WhereScape, with IT-Logix as the local Swiss implementation partner. Helsana employed one IT-Logix consultant on a permanent basis to help internal staff get up to speed with WhereScape and the change towards an automation-first mindset.
WhereScape 3D allows visual prototypes to be quickly spin up to confirm requirements with business users in order to avoid misunderstandings – potentially shortening development cycles from months to days.
WhereScape RED then physicalizes the models by writing thousands of lines of native code in seconds, committing the necessary changes to the underlying code without human error.
The solution addressed several challenges Helsana was facing. The tool automated a lot of the deployment work and helped the team to organize code and their deliverables better. Helsana was also able to move development work in-house.
In addition, Helsana was able to reduce ETL expenditure and reduce the number of tools used, ultimately saving the company millions on external resources. Code system updates are now
down from 30-40 person days to two. Prior to beginning to use WhereScape data automation software, if any individuals were on holiday or out sick, it would stop the whole process – costing the company money in lost results. They were not able to work on any new requirements.
One of their major core systems has a release every month, and every third month there was a BICC release which means some parts of the data structure was changing. Prior to WhereScape, it was really a pain and Helsana was not able to work on any new requirements.
Helsana has seen game-changing reductions in time to value for scheduled updates. Processes that once took over thirty man-days now take one or two, meaning work is completed much faster and big teams of external resources are no longer needed.
Much quicker turnaround times from business request to IT delivery means the BI team can now use agile methodologies to add value to the business rather than just keeping up with it.
All code is now automatically documented, so processes are repeatable and not reliant on individuals.
Now Helsana’s source code is properly stored with version control and they always know what version they have where. WhereScape’s ability to lift and shift entire data infrastructures to any on-prem or cloud database means Helsana is no longer locked into any data source or target.
If the company ever decides to change databases, there will be less work involved because the code is generated by WhereScape data automation software. With this, Helsana is now future-proof.