We have a few tips for insurers to keep in mind as you start on your digital journey.
If you work in technology in the insurance industry, you surely know that going digital is on everyone’s agenda and strategic roadmap. Board of Directors are asking their senior managers what they are doing to be competitive in the digital arena, piggybacking onto the already high pressure from the consumer demand brought by retail markets.
Digital is a broad term, just as insurance and technology are. What does going digital mean?
It means different things to different companies, from creating responsive design applications to migrating mainframe systems to the cloud, to leveraging insurtech opportunities, to have an integrated digital marketing strategy.
As tempting as it is to be contemporary from a digital perspective, jumping the gun prior to having a good technology foundation can result in failures, rework and loss of business confidence.
Going Digital in Insurance
So here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start on your digital journey:
#1 – Get your technology house in order:
Building a good foundation is a prerequisite. Otherwise, it is simply ’lipstick on a pig’. For example, creating a mobile app that isn’t able to fully integrate to your backend systems and operations may buy some ‘marketing hype’ but will not realize the operational efficiencies that are desired. Eventually, it will require re-work and may frustrate your internal staff, as well as customers, along the way.
Building out a contemporary technology footprint that has rationalized redundant systems and leveraged contemporary systems is a must. Otherwise, it is akin to installing a GPS navigation system on a ’72 Chevy that has a failing engine.
#2 – Educate and innovate:
Another item to consider is to educate your technology staff. Asking them to work on digital projects without current technical skills and knowledge is a challenge at best. Invest in educating your team across the digital spectrum from architecture to coding, while keeping in mind the business need perspective. This will pay back not only in quality work, but with improved morale.
Additionally, asking your current team to be innovative without educating them is likely a doomed exercise. Beyond educating and investing in your team, you may need to invigorate them with new team members that bring more digital experience to the table.
#3 – Align to your business objectives:
The digital work that you are undertaking should be part of a larger strategic roadmap or support other strategic work. The outcomes should be clear and easily understood by the organization. Make sure that your business sponsors “buy-in” to your overall digital strategy and each component.
This may take more time up front to get it right, but it will be worth it in the long run, it’s foundational. Every team member should be able to clearly communicate what the benefits of the digital work are. Having clearly defined benefits from the start will help to ensure success.
Make sure that your digital work does not negatively impact other downstream processes or workflows. Continually re-check your work to ensure that your digital activities support and deliver on the overall business goals of the company.
#4 – Include your constituents:
Design from the outside in. As you begin your digital strategy, be sure to include your distribution partners and end-customers. Building digital capabilities from the inside out will surely result in some misses. Engage your partners, but provide the context for your objectives, so as not to get requirements or wish-lists that don’t align with your objectives.
Once you have a consensus on the scope and goals of the project, make sure they align with your longer-term strategy and revisit the progress with your constituents over the life of the project. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but detailed enough to ensure that you haven’t trailed off of the path. Remember going digital implies an outside-in approach.
Final Steps on your Digital Insurance Journey
One last item: once you’re done…. you’re not. The bar has been raised for us in technology. Gone are the days of spending a year or two designing, building, testing and implementing a new system, then switching over to maintaining it.
The digital age requires continuous improvement along with the competitive demand to stay current. Balancing that need against your core competencies and technology bursts is still the challenge. In your quest to go digital, innovate and move forward, but don’t lose sight of your core business objectives.