This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of OnWindows.
In a world where new innovations often arise quickly and then, in a blink of an eye, become table stakes, being first to act on an opportunity is a competitive advantage. But to be agile requires more than just a company philosophy or culture – insurers need to have the technology that enables them to rapidly respond to the changing priorities of their customers and the industry.
There is no universal checklist to evaluate how agile your company is, but a good assessment can be made by asking a number of key questions. When a new opportunity or change in the marketplace presents itself, how quickly can you update your products or offer new products? Are you able to easily and quickly assess the impact of product changes to your book of business? Is your speed to market impacted by waiting for system changes?
Further questions include whether or not customer interactions can be conducted through the customer’s preferred channel or device? How many manual processes are still actively employed? And can they be automated or streamlined with your current system?
Now that you’ve assessed your business, how does it stack up? With the right technology, insurers can become more agile by running ‘what if’ modelling to assess product changes before moving into production. By exploiting configuration to innovate products and processes, insurers can look to enter new markets and differentiate their business.
Companies can also integrate with other business and third-party systems to facilitate information sharing, which will improve responsiveness and reduce costs. Furthermore, by supporting channels that improve internal and external, and digital communication, benefits in areas such as customer satisfaction and retention can be felt.
But how do you determine which system is best? The selection criteria will vary based on an insurer’s priorities, however most would agree that codeless configuration, scalability, ability to upgrade, and comprehensive ‘future-proof’ technology are key standards for modern software assessment.
Paramount to the selection process is looking ‘under the hood,’ and beyond the buzzwords and packaging. Before making a final decision on any technology, fully test the system through a proof of concept and real-world demonstrations to be sure it can deliver the touted functionality.
With the right software, you’ll be able to leverage technology advancements that improve responsiveness throughout your organisation, as well as prepare for future innovations. Being agile is more than just being fast; it can provide the differentiation that delivers a competitive advantage.
Patti Griffin is chief product officer at Duck Creek Technologies, an Accenture company
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