- Nationwide's advanced analytics teams use Agile workflows to reduce time to value while allowing cross-company teams to leverage technology, said William Drake, senior director, advanced analytics leader at Nationwide, speaking last week at the Virtual AI Summit Silicon Valley.
- An initial nine-month data analytics project led to significant reduction in the time insurance underwriters in the commercial auto vertical spent evaluating data, with the added benefit of increased precision when pricing risk. But since the project followed a waterfall approach, the company wasn't able to benefit from its value until the completion of the project, Drake said.
- For the next analytics project taken on by the team, an agile methodology broke down organizational silos and sped up value delivery. Improvements made to the company's sales and distribution value chain "can be lifted and shifted to any other product" under agile, Drake said.
Adoption is a critical component in Nationwide's approach to scaling AI throughout the organization, said John Almasan, assistant vice president and head of the E&SS Advanced Analytics Organization, speaking on the panel.
Agile and cross-functional teams will let the company deliver quickly on its goals "but also with the business at the center, with the business needs in mind," said Almasan.
The broader strategy to achieve AI at scale will require having governance principles in place, enabling reusable components — a strategy also followed by retailer H&M — and expanding in-house knowledge.
Agile development cycles allow for more flexibility when adapting to a shifting business landscape. With projects ongoing as the pandemic sent workers home, Nationwide was able to respond to disruption, reassessing and pivoting as necessary.
In the coming 12 to 14 months, 55% of IT leaders said their company planned to increase use of agile, according to the State of Agile report. Agile adoption momentum increased for 43% of companies during the height of the pandemic.
The responsiveness in agile development comes in the shape of stakeholder touchpoints built into the process every two weeks. Regular connections "have been key to keeping parties aligned," said Drake, getting technology in front of people faster