As part of center systems upgrade, HCF is looking to big data analytics to help keep its members as fit and healthy as possible. Over the past five years, It has been replacing parts of its core systems, which are up to 20 years old. “Parts of it work very well. Some parts are getting very clunky,” HCF CIO Patrick Shearman said. The company had executed the ILOG, SPSS, Cognos and Lombardi products within the course of these upgrades. HCF has purchased an IBM zEnterprise 114 and Netezza data warehouse appliance to run IBM’s smart analytics system (ISAS) to speed up analytics. The company will be able to also analyze the potential of customers to lapse on payments or, leaving the health fund to go somewhere else. This warning provides the fund with time to try and retain customers. HCF had been doing this analysis intermittently previously, however, it had been “intense in terms of capacity on the mainframe”, Shearman said. With IBM’s smarter analytics system, HCF can run the numbers constantly in real time. Though Shearman thought of using external social media data, he said that there were clearly privacy issues around. For HCF, big data was more about speeding up analysis, than about pulling information from lots of locations to correlate, he said. In terms of skills, HCF wouldn’t be hiring any data scientists to be able to handle the analysis four of the company’s 81-strong team work in the analytics team. For Shearman, it was about using his
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in-house team and training up to the abilities they needed.