They say a picture's worth a thousand words. To insurers, producing a snapshot of their customers is worth more than that-it's priceless.Lausanne, Switzerland-based La Suisse Insurance, a provider of commercial and personal insurance products with revenues of about $800 million a year, is using a solution that has the ability to visually analyze key sales indicators, enabling it to immediately determine how its products are selling across customer bases and geographical regions.

"Knowledge management technology provides the ability to drill deeper to extract more relevant information from a transaction database. You can establish a snapshot about data elements," states Steve Brandano, software services solutions architect, St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson Software.

Without these tools, La Suisse would not know that John Doe had three accounts with the provider, perhaps viewing it as three separate individuals. "These tools have enabled us to take a 'snapshot' of a portfolio, which then let's set benchmarks and identify trends," says Gabriel Fuchs, a senior manager for La Suisse.

La Suisse is making the most of its cross-selling and up-selling opportunities through use of a solution called DecisionSite. Developed by Somerville, Mass.-based Spotfire, a provider of analytic applications, DecisionSite is comprised of three analytic modules, including ad hoc, guided and shared analysis. Guided analysis, for instance, is a pre-configured business process expertise module that can analyze data within a very specific workflow. "It's just that-it acts as a guide," says David Butler, vice president product strategy and marketing, Spotfire.

Driven by the guidance modules, LaSuisse sales reps can quickly understand where there are potential problems or potential opportunities across the business, says Fuchs. Supported by the sharing analysis, this information is then shared among all 25 of its sales branches located throughout Switzerland.

"With traditional processing, you would mainly get a static snapshot of data through spreadsheets," says Fuchs. "Under this scenario, a sales force might not be able to determine whether or not it was discounting a product line too steeply. Or, it might not know why there's an increase in claims activity in a particular month of the year. They now can get a clear snapshot of data. And the software provides non-stop 'what-if' scenarios."

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