TECHNOLOGY TRENDS: What’s Good for the Consumer is Good for Us All
By Nimish Sankalia, Majesco
What if, when you wanted to add a song to your phone’s ringtones, you had to send a check to the record label, receive a vinyl copy through the mail, convert it to an mp3 with your LP conversion machine and upload it to your phone?
That would seem ridiculous, but we are still going through the equivalent hoops in insurance operations. Tasks which should be easier seem to take too long because business users are not able to do enough for themselves. When you are downloading a song, it is configurability and the proper tools that make it happen with one simple click. If you are like me, you like to envision a system where more business processes come close to that kind of one-click ease.
In the past few months, I’ve been discussing “Going Digital” and business and data strategies that will cater to the consumer while improving operations. We are at the point where we should clearly understand the value in making our business consumerready. But, many of us are still wrestling with how we make legacy operations keep up with 21st century consumer expectations. And, the answer is, “We can’t.”
Fortunately, consumers and their love of technology and easy service, are doing us the favor of driving us toward a modernized future where routine insurance business tasks become easier as well. Since we are ALL consumers, most of us in the insurance industry are perpetually brainstorming about how we can improve methods, automate common routines and bring real efficiency to the organization so that we can move at the pace of consumer change. Keeping the PACE framework (Prospects, Agents, Consumers and Employees) in mind, we can begin to imagine all modernization efforts happening in parallel. Digitization and configurability should be moving forward at the same pace.
How is a configurable environment created? Model-driven architectures (MDAs, today’s equivalent to the Service-oriented architecture or SOA) are designed to facilitate tool development. When an insurer re-engineers its business processes and operations with reusable tools and components in mind, numerous efficiencies occur. One of the most valuable benefits an organization gains is the ability for business users, data analysts, predictive modelers and marketers to take the reins on operations that used to require IT involvement. Configurability allows the non-IT user to satisfy their thirst for more control while freeing up IT to deal with more tasks of real complexity.
Optimizing the right mix of IT involvement and business user capability will result in a profitable and agile insurance environment. So, configurability should produce measurable results.
In my opinion, a drive toward configurability for business users must be tied to a holistic vision and road map that will keep the whole insurance practice moving forward in a synchronized manner. So, the question each organization needs to ask is how and where is configurability needed? A business study will uncover and highlight those areas where it will save time and unlock value. Once the business study is complete, an assessment should be made regarding the tools needed. In many cases, the necessary tools won’t need to be built, they will simply need to be acquired and configured. All of those details can be added to the road map if they can’t be immediately added to the system.
Just as making life easier on the consumer will improve customer service, adding business configurability will give you the supplementary benefit of heightened employee satisfaction. It is one initiative where you are likely to have near universal ‘buy in’ — with a purpose that should unify teams behind your vision.
Do you agree? Please share your thoughts, comments and suggestions: Nimish.Sankalia@majescomastek.com
Majesco is a provider of core insurance technology software and IT services to insurance carriers (P&C and Life, Annuity, Group) globally. Majesco delivers proven software solutions and IT services in core insurance areas including policy administration, billing, claims and distribution.
Tara Dilzer Alexander
Director, Marketing Communications and Creative Services