Mastering people power with Artis: AON creates intelligent data analytics with Access

Global professional services firm AON engaged Artis in March 2019 to design a new Microsoft Access platform and provide hands-on support in migrating Excel bound data into a more robust, business driven technology solution.

With over 3000 employees working in 60 branches across Australia and New Zealand, AON relies on access to a colossal amount of quality data. This data is continually updated to extract accurate calculations to inform its People Strategy and Human Resource operation across four major business areas: Commercial Risk, Reinsurance, Retirement and Shared Services Solutions.

HR teams utilised this information to analyse complex data, generate reports and reveal powerful insights around people metrics, staff turnover, leave liabilities, performance goal setting, internal mobility, talent acquisition placements, and more.

AON were seeking expert advice to guide them to a fresh, automated approach to aggregating employee information while managing stringent data governance requirements to streamline people enablement.

Collating and reinventing a multitude of legacy systems.

Operating with a heavy emphasis on data and analysis, AON were utilising a myriad of legacy tools for their local reporting needs, including five HR systems and twelve Excel spreadsheet databases feeding in to a Tableau dashboard.

Without a centralised data warehouse, AON’s data sets were Excel bound, reliant on manual intervention, complex calculations and labour-intensive management.

The effectiveness of AON’s Tableau dashboard was at the mercy of the data quality imported, limiting the ability to extract business insights and make informed management decisions with complete confidence.

AON recognised the amalgamation and manual process required for multiple databases was increasingly cumbersome, leading to potential reporting inefficiencies. The impact of long-lead reporting functions was of concern, with data extraction from multiple sources to compile in Tableau typically taking 2-3 days.

Mastering the art of mitigating risk.

AON were eager to transform and consolidate their HR systems to relieve workload pressures, avoid inaccuracies, streamline data integration and governance and encourage automated process adoption to improve performance.

AON empower employees with Artis expertise.

The task was twofold, to design a localised, expert data warehouse alternative using Microsoft Access and to impart Artis’ technical knowledge around how best to utilise the platform. AON wanted to optimise their expertise in-house. Although the HR team had the ability to conduct traditional data analysis tasks with Excel and Tableau, there was little experience operating an Access solution.

Acting as a trusted advisor, Artis embarked on a practical discovery phase with the principal AON HR representative to get a thorough understanding of the legacy data environment, limitations of the system, operational pain points and desired business outcomes.

The Artisan consultants worked collaboratively with AON’s People Analysts and HR team to develop the Microsoft Access architecture. Artis provided active training, expert insights and recommendations on why not to perform a task ‘that way’, in favour of a more effective procedure using the platform. This business first approach enabled a restructured data integration process while upskilling AON team members to build their Access aptitude and ‘people reporting’ productivity.

The Access co-creation journey.

Learning on the job to enable them to run the technology themselves, AON worked in partnership with Artis to design the Access solution and electronic processes to power the platform. Working backward from desired business results and operational outcomes, the Artis action plan involved migrating out of Excel and transforming to a more automated portal that integrates with two Tableau dashboards to streamline analytics and data visualisation.

The self-service Access solution provided the ability to extract, transform and load multiple datasets automatically, replacing the Excel-based manual reporting process. HR team members can filter the information they need to generate reports, analytics and insights for each business area.

To ensure AON were able to support the solution independently, the team challenged themselves to control the keyboard as much as possible, asking the Artis consultants to guide, explain and supervise rather than administer. The goal was to “insource” the skills.

“Artis were able to make sense of our business needs and the data and provide expert advice on how we could best integrate our current systems with new technology.”

– Maja Castricum, HR Operations and Projects Manager

Artis helps AON power the People Strategy.

Artis was trusted to mentor and coach key AON team members on how to operate the new technology solution, empowering the HR team to lead the ongoing development of the self-service portal.

Mentoring, designing and implementing the new Access solution and associated electronic processes has delivered impactful results for AON.

Improved data quality.

The HR team of 25 users reporting to different AON business areas are now confident the data presented is accurate and robust, providing powerful insights to track department progress against strategy and risk. Each different business area is better equipped for business planning and strategic decisions.

Productivity wins.

AON is saving approximately three days of manual effort every month that was previously spent producing reports. The average turnaround time has been reduced to 2-3 hours, creating capacity and promoting increased operational productivity through a reduced workload.

Off the back of Artis’ engagement with AON, the company is well positioned to take the next step towards advanced predictive analytics for employee metrics. Artis looks forward to collaborating with AON to continue their technology enabled success.