Talend helps SHAM make business users more autonomous

The leading medical liability insurer in France uses Talend open source technology to streamline its interapplication exchanges, improve operational reporting and industrialize its strategic management processes
Thanks to Talend, we have secured and developed a major strategic management process, while making our business specialists independent, who no longer need the IT department to develop their applications.
Raphaël Guichard, , Head of SHAM’s BI Division of the IT Department

Founded in 1927, SHAM is a non-profit insurer specialized in insurance and risk management for health, medical and social service players (institutions, organizations and professionals, both legal entities and individuals alike). The leading medical liability insurer in France, SHAM has 300 employees managing a portfolio of more than 8,300 customers. With gross revenues totaling more than 300 million euros in 2012 (1.2% increase compared to 2011), the company insures 2 out of 3 births in France, 75% of public health institutions, 25% of private health institutions and 50% of public retirement homes.

Streamline interapplication data exchanges

With the goal of streamlining and improving risk management for its members rather than maximizing profits, SHAM focuses on anticipation and consistency in terms of rates. In 2011, the insurer opted for a global and prospective risk approach through guidance and reliable risk management services.  The idea is to assist health, medical and social service institutions in implementing a risk prevention and evaluation method to reduce, or even eliminate, their risk exposure.

To do this, SHAM relies on an information system that is centered on customer satisfaction. Like most insurance companies, the insurer made most of its management processes electronic, including “claim” files, to increase efficiency. It also closely integrated its EDM system with its management applications.

With regard to data integration, SHAM has used Talend Open Studio for Data Integration for several years to run scripts carrying out management system synchronization on a daily basis. These data exchanges mainly involve accounting and operational management. “Talend Open Studio for Data Integration is so easy to use and deploy, which allowed us to streamline our data exchange processes at a very competitive price,” praises Raphaël Guichard, Head of SHAM’s BI Division of the IT Department. “In 2011, we simultaneously spearheaded two new projects both concerning data integration. On the one hand, we planned the overhaul of our BI infrastructure, and on the other we launched a program aiming to facilitate the development of business algorithms by players who are not IT specialists. Our goal was to continue to improve our services, while relieving our IT department of some of its duties and rendering our business departments more independent.

Talend Data Integration to improve decision-making

Unsatisfied with its existing business intelligence structure, SHAM’s IT department decided to base its new infrastructure on Talend Data Integration . “The Talend solution is the best development tool currently available on the market. Easy to use and administer, it is more open and seamlessly integrates into our information system, while offering rock-solid stability,” adds Raphaël Guichard.

For the second project, the straightforward and uncomplicated character of Talend Data Integration helps SHAM’s business specialists develop programs and algorithms, without requiring them to be Java experts. “This project is unquestionably strategic for our technical and financial management, since it allows our business experts to develop business algorithms independently and graphically, fed by data issued from multiple applications. Talend allowed us to secure and develop this strategic process,” comments Raphaël Guichard.

In addition to the experience acquired by SHAM in developing interapplication data exchange scripts and the seamless integration of the solution into its information system, SHAM did take other elements into consideration when selecting a new solution.

Talend’s flexibility and versatility is an attractive factor for a company like ours: it supports different uses – synchronization of business and BI applications and the development of business applications – based on a single technology, which is easy to manage in-house. Also, as our management applications (developed in-house) are mostly Java-based, Talend – which uses the same language – seamlessly integrates into our information system,” confirms Raphaël Guichard. “While the ease of use and graphic development mode are clearly benefits for our business specialists, the latter can also rely on the expertise of our developers during the development of particularly complex algorithms. Last, but certainly not least, the attractive pricing of the Talend solution is obvious compared to other products available on the market.”

Sharing knowledge, consistency and increased productivity

In terms of benefits, SHAM stresses Talend’s organizational advantages. “Different teams share the same tools for different uses, which allows them to capitalize on the skills and expertise of each individual, while industrializing our data integration processes. The use of a shared tool provides more consistency to the organization of our information system, which translates into a significant increase in productivity,” specifies Raphaël Guichard. “Meanwhile, thanks to Talend, we have secured and developed a major strategic management process, while making our business specialists independent, who no longer need the IT department to develop their applications. The time saved by the IT department is another advantage, in addition to increased productivity in terms of development and maintenance.

In fact, according to SHAM, Talend facilitates the administration and supervision of night processing (BI or management). “In the past, we used Windows’ task manager to carry out this processing. Talend helped us industrialize our approach. In the same vein, for our second project, our business specialists used to use Excel spreadsheets, which were becoming increasingly time-consuming. With Talend, we industrialized this process and made it reliable,” raves Raphaël Guichard.

Lastly, the feedback from business users has been equally positive. “Talend’s graphic design mode means simpler algorithm maintenance, which is frequently updated, and easier sharing of developments. This helps sustain their activities. For example, when an employee leaves, the transfer of knowledge is substantially faster and easier. Reusing algorithms is also a plus as it directly yields savings. Finally, thanks to Talend, we can now carry out mass testing and simulations, which was not possible with Excel,” explains Raphaël Guichard. “We are now well-equipped to plan developments to continuously improve the interoperability of our applications in the future.”