Insurance companies are frequently in a quandary. Faced with changing regulations, mergers and acquisitions, and increased competition, prioritizing these challenges alone can be cumbersome. Throw in the decision to invest and implement an Enterprise Content Management system, and it can feel downright impossible and intimidating. It is easy to focus on the investment costs and risks and downplay the benefits and returns. Over the course of the next few months, this blog series will focus on various aspects centered around one critical question for insurance agencies: what is the cost of delaying a technology decision?
When an insurance company looks to make an ECM decision, this usually involves making improvement in critical knowledge worker areas, such as: Claims, New Business/Underwriting and Policy Owner/Member Services. ECM modernizes the user experience and adds missing capabilities including work flows, case management, rules, content management, integration, analytics and mobile collaboration with customers. Tied heavily into this decision is the need to make a technology decision.
What is a technology decision, specifically for insurance?
A technology decision is an investment in hardware and software technology which includes major enterprise technology purchases. These decisions frequently involve input from multiple stakeholders. Technology investments are driven by the need to improve business agility, improve ROI, lower operational costs and streamline processes. However, a new tech driver has taken precedent: the client. The client is demanding that insurers have a complete picture of their needs and it requires departmental technology that aligns across all lines of business and can be accessed from anywhere. Technology decisions are complex and cumbersome because there are multiple stakeholders and because it requires forecasting and prediction: predicting immediate and future needs and impacts of our decisions, such as picking a product, choosing a vendor, funding a project or launching a new program altogether. This can be daunting and overwhelming to the most agile enterprises. As a result, we can become paralyzed in our decision making process.
Now, let’s dive into five possible sources of delay for this technology decision.
- Unknown Fear – Many business units do not know how best to manage a technology decision. How do you identify what systems are even available?
- Solution: identify experts and reach out to peers to learn how they approached similar decisions
- Lack of capital – To implement a new system can be costly and often requires significant funding at the onset of the project. Many companies are concerned about ways to delay costs until benefits are achieved.
- Solution: Consider a SaaS solution that allows insurance companies to invest at a lower capital commitment.
- Resistance – Inevitably, there will always be staffers that disagree on the implementation of a large scale system. These nay-sayers can derail an entire project fairly quickly.
- Solution: Educate and obtain buy-in early on. Share success stories from experts and peers.
- Everyday work demands – Frequently, insurance companies are consumed with day-to-day issues, heavy workloads and various outside pressures that interfere with time available to develop a strategic plan for the implementation of a new system.
- Solution: Waiting for a catastrophe is an ineffective way of operating a business! As soon as you realize you have a problem, react – search for a solution, evaluate options, and consider implementing a packaged solution. You and your company will be happy to see rapid benefits from the implementation, rather than try and scramble after disaster hits.
- Cost Overruns – Unexpected costs due to underestimation of actual cost during budgeting can be nerve racking and costly.
- Solution: Packaged solutions can often be done at a fixed price with most of the functionality pre-built and available for immediate proof of concept or pilot. Consider SaaS over on-premise installation because the costs can be lower and variable based on actual usage. Additionally, internal resources are frequently minimized when SaaS is used. Many customers report lower upgrade costs in the future.
Don’t delay your journey into transforming your insurance company. Start off with our complimentary webinar on-demand from Insurance Networking News on how to infuse customer centricity into your business. This webinar will discuss ways leading insurers are using digital technology to help overcome the challenges surrounding staying customer-centric. Watch now: http://bit.ly/1QUB476.
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