Creating a data culture at a 150-year-old nonprofit
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners had spreadsheets, lots of spreadsheets. It also had a lot of code that just did reporting. There was a time for this, but that time has passed. In today’s world there are a lot of tools that can perform these functions with less maintenance and fewer errors. The 150-year-old nonprofit had to change!
It needed to change not only because of its aging technology but also because the state of the insurance industry was relying on it. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners needed to be able to move as fast as the startups in the insurance industry in order to help regulators protect consumers. Also, data was becoming a critical component of insurance analysis, so it needed everyone in the company to start thinking about data differently.
Dan Barker explains how he and his team took the company into the data age. They introduced Tableau as a first step to start replacing outdated code and complex spreadsheets, starting small with some specific use cases and a team of the company’s more adventurous statisticians and developers. This was a very successful campaign, but there was still a lot more work to do, and this small team couldn’t do it all.
So they started to spread this knowledge. They had some formal education scheduled for teams working in the areas that needed the most change. They also brought in Tableau and external speakers for some internal Tableau Days. However, the biggest success came when they hosted the largest Tableau hackathon in Kansas City, inviting everyone in the city to come and compete for prizes and bragging rights. The excitement was palpable throughout the office, and this led to an avalanche of discovery.
Join Dan to see how one company successfully tipped the culture scales toward data and transformational thinking and get specific suggestions on what worked and what didn’t.
Dan Barker leads RSA Archer as the chief architect in the company’s cloud migration and conversion to SaaS. Previously, he was the chief architect at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, leading its technical and cultural transformation. Dan spent 12 years in the military as a fighter jet mechanic before transitioning to a career in technology as a software engineer and manager. Dan is an organizer of DevOps KC and the devopsdays KC conference.
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