As head of the Data Process Customer management department, Paul provides the organisation with all the essential information
It is fascinating to work with the latest techniques and tooling.
‘Being busy with data is innovative and topical'
In the twenty years that Paul (52) has been working for Athora Netherlands and its legal predecessors, he has seen many business units from the inside. From mortgage specialist he developed into project manager. And after a reorganisation in 2001 he discovered IT, a field which proved to suit him particularly well. For three years now, he has been leading the team responsible for the data platform of Athora Netherlands. “I like to try out new things and to keep developing myself.”
You can only make the right decisions if you have the right information at hand. Within Athora Netherlands, data-driven working has become more and more common in recent years, so that the internal demand for data is high. Paul himself also became fascinated by the endless possibilities of data during. Together with his team he provides the organisation with data, manages and monitors its quality.
Data as the core
"Data is the core of everything we do as an insurer," says Paul. "We can't do without data to be able to report properly to our customers, regulators and other stakeholders. It also provides the business with much-needed information. How are we doing financially? How quickly are we processing customer requests? Are we on track to achieve our goals? We also apply data for AI. And I could go on like this for a while."
Within the Data department, people are not afraid to try innovative things, says Paul. "For example, our data scientists have developed an AI application that can automatically recognise and classify physical incoming mail using machine learning. We trained the system to recognise the difference between a letter and a copy of a passport, for example. The system then ensures that the document reaches the right employee. We have thus managed to almost completely automate the work of the physical mailroom, allowing us to help our customers faster."
Paul himself is engaged in another progressive project: bringing the complete data warehouse of Athora Netherlands to the cloud. Something which, according to Paul, has not often been seen in insurance yet. "Bringing data to the cloud offers us as a medium-sized company all sorts of advantages. You are always up-to-date with the latest techniques and security standards of Microsoft. We no longer need to maintain a physical server and, moreover, you only pay for what you use. It is fascinating to work with the latest techniques and tooling."
Data security is key in all of this. "Being hacked is of course your worst nightmare as a company. You read about it in the newspaper almost every week. Our customers must be able to trust that their data is safe. That is why security is our top priority and why we think very carefully about who we give access to which data. And where possible, we also anonymise the data."
Continuous development and improvement
Tackling new challenges and continuously developing yourself. It has taken Paul far in his career. Now that he manages a department of about 15 people, he also promotes this mindset to his employees. "Working here, you get many opportunities to develop yourself and to keep your professional knowledge up-to-date. Whether it is the necessary Microsoft certifications, or an additional training course to become a scrum master or a coaching course, it is all possible. Someone in my team is doing a post-graduate course, almost entirely paid for by his growth budget. There is much room for that, all you have to do is take it."
Good cooperation, collegiality and the drive to continuously improve characterise the atmosphere in his department, according to Paul. "You need each other if you want to achieve things and want to innovate. But we are also not afraid to be critical of each other when necessary. Always with the aim of bringing things further together."
Will you be Paul's new colleague?
Are you the (data) driven professional who is striving for continouous improvement? Check the vacancy page for the available positions in our IT Data Department.