Europ Assistance

Europ Assistance Revamps Data Integration for Faster Response Time

Europ Assistance upgraded to a new cloud-based integration solution and enables its employees to more efficiently serve customers due to improved data quality and a resulting reduced response time.

  • Solutions in this case
Executive summary

To better serve its complex network of direct and third-party customers and coordinate the appropriate support services, Europ Assistance upgraded to a new cloud-based integration solution. The results: seamless data processing, swift access to up-to-date information, and enhanced customer assistance in a fraction of the time.

  • Challenge
  • Approach
  • Results

The Challenge

Europ Assistance has been assisting motorists and travelers for over 50 years, coordinating roadside, travel and home assistance services for not only its own customers but also insured clients of its third-party partners. For optimal customer service, call agents must have access to up-to-date client and policy information. When the company’s outdated integration system became bogged down by an increase in complex data, employees faced problems of their own. Processing failures blocked call agents from accurate information and led to significant response delays, costing the company and its customers valuable time.

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Through its “open contract” service model, Europ Assistance acts as the first line support for its partners’ customers, meaning that its agents answer client calls as representatives of the third-party partner not as Europ Assistance. This customer service structure requires that Europ Assistance employees have rapid access to the full details of every caller’s policy at all times to know who they are and to which service they are entitled.

Partners send this policy information to Europ Assistance regularly via flat-file format at various time intervals (daily, weekly, monthly), in different file types, and with inconsistent levels of modification – some files containing only changes since the last sync and others representing a complete data dump with previously integrated information.

To align this mass of disjointed and incompatible data into a usable format for call agents, the IT team at Europ Assistance processed these files using its custom-built .NET application called INTEGRA, integrating these files into their own systems.

However, as the workload increased, the app struggled to keep up. Data synchronization encountered lengthy delays, sometimes halting the processing of 10,000 records across all partner updates due to one small error in one piece of data. These debilitating interruptions blocked information from reaching call agents, preventing them from locating client accounts in the system during support calls and forcing them to contact partners directly to verify client details – often obstructing the process as well as critical customer assistance by up to 24 hours. To attempt to avoid these set-backs, Europ Assistance engaged manual monitoring by its IT team, a full-time job that only increased the company’s loss of time and valuable resources.

The team decided it needed a more efficient and robust system to process the complex data and to establish a more practical process for monitoring. As they had already done a successful lift and shift operation away from an on-premises solution to a Microsoft Azure IaaS solution to update and future-proof their systems, the team decided to explore how Azure could also resolve these third-party data integration issues. However, they weren’t sure how to best tackle the challenge. Knowing first-hand Codit’s integration expertise, ICT Director Michel Kennis called the Azure specialists in to get their advice and to pursue a more advanced integration solution.

Codit is my go-to partner specialist for Azure and integration. It’s what they do and what they do best.

Michel Kennis ICT Director

The Approach

Together, Codit and Europ Assistance collaborated on a cloud-based integration solution tailored to the company’s specific needs. Codit implemented Azure Integration Services, including Logic Apps, to integrate multivariate third-party data with Europ Assistance’s backend systems. They also implemented monitoring capabilities to prevent data errors from suspending the entire integration process.

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Thanks to Codit’s close working relationship with the Microsoft Product Team, the development team could steer clear of obstacles with the first insights into potential project blockers and provide Europ Assistance with maximum benefits from the latest technology and a future-proof solution.

The insurance company’s new system provides a sleek data integration flow utilizing key Azure Integration Services components.

Integration Solution

  • Logic Apps: Orchestrates the tasks and workflow of the new integration process
  • Azure Functions: Manages heavy processing for faster performance, allows for out-of-the-box capabilities beyond Logic Apps, such as automatic scaling and consumption-based billing
  • Azure Service Bus: Enables reliable messaging and queuing between the solution’s different components, promotes independence in each to preserve the solution as a loosely coupled integration.
  • Azure SQL: Cloud-based database that stores processed data virtually for more efficient use and management
  • Azure Storage Account: Stores received files in an easily accessible format for Logic Apps/Functions, provides temporary storage (at runtime) and long-term archiving of processed files
  • Azure Key Vault: Ensures the security of stored keys and passwords
  • Integration Account: Integration-specific component for storing XSD schemas, XSL maps, facilitates data transformation actions in Logic Apps

Continued Monitoring

  • Log Analytics/OMS: Allows company to view and analyze data to better monitor and maintain processes
  • Application Insights: Provides real-time monitoring, alerts and troubleshooting for continuous improvement of performance and usability

ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)

  • Azure DevOps: Built using a CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment) strategy, performs build and release tasks to establish automation and ease of use
  • ARM templates: Used to deploy all Azure Resources, employ the “Infrastructure As Code” approach that can be completely deleted. Our automated process will redeploy in a matter of minutes, simplifying the release from DEV to acceptance and production environments
  • Azure Automation: Runs scheduled cleanup and maintenance tasks for more efficient use of employee time

The Results

Today, Europ Assistance’s data processing solution through Azure Integration Services saves the company time and enables its employees to more efficiently serve customers due to improved data quality and a resulting reduced response time. A procedure that once cost call agents a full day in a tireless quest for information provides them now with reliable, up-to-date data the moment they need it.

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With data consistently and promptly updated in the system, client information is more easily accessible to call agents. The solution instantaneously connects the agents to all customer policy details, allowing them to accurately assess situations and coordinate the appropriate support services, all in a fraction of the time of the previous system. “With the old system it used to take 24 hours to get the new client information into our system. Now with Azure Logic Apps, it takes just minutes,” said ICT Director, Europ Assistance.

No longer paralyzed by data errors, the new integration process runs smoothly for a system employees can depend on, and its monitoring system alerts the Europ Assistance team at the first sign of a problem – protecting the company from processing blocks and time loss. Codit Managed Services provides an extra level of support, proactively monitoring integrations to circumvent any potential issues before they can negatively impact business.

Moving forward, Europ Assistance and Codit look to future possibilities of working together to extend the architecture for new potential scenarios as the company continues to grow, such as apps for on-the-spot contract purchasing and even virtual agents to assist customers.

A word from the client

“Codit’s close relationship with Microsoft has proven quite crucial. They were able to contact the team at Microsoft and get changes made for our project. We wanted a specific feature and decided to implement it... I am pretty sure if I had chosen a more generalist partner I wouldn't have had that kind of support.”

Michel Kennis ICT Director

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