For traditional insurance companies—some of which have been around for centuries—transforming into an Agile Enterprise is a herculean effort. Their legacies have been a source of strength; however, they can also be their Achilles heel. In this series, I’ve shared two key steps in the agile transformation journey: shifting the mindset of the workforce and the culture of the organization, and reorganizing people and technology to support iterative product development. Lastly, I want to discuss some of the missteps that await you on this journey. These common pitfalls can be grouped into three categories: people, process and technology.

When people lose their way

Shifting workforce culture is never easy. If employees don’t understand why transformation is necessary, or if they don’t receive adequate training and tools to support enterprise agility, insurers can find themselves fighting an uphill battle.

Leaders must demonstrate their strong commitment to change and negate the urge to continue with existing processes. The culture must embrace collaboration, experimentation and evaluation.

When process gaps turn into chasms

For enterprise agility to work, IT’s strategy must align with the rest of the business. When it’s not aligned or when there are conflicting priorities and teams fail to execute on their strategies, the transformation process can grind to a halt.

Likewise, bureaucracy, work silos, lack of integration between critical tools and systems and lack of automation can hold up or create gaps in processes.

In the spirit of agility, teams must also be prepared to shift project release schedules as needed. They will need to flexible and able to respond rapidly to insights and changes in order to maintain efficiency and relevancy.

When technology blocks the way

As Narry Singh, Accenture Digital’s Growth & Strategy Director, and author Eric Ries say in the video below, disruptive companies and digital experiences are moving at an increasing speed.


Systems that can’t support the flexibility needed to build partnerships and collaboration across the organization will hinder speed and agility. Complex, legacy technology can block innovation and prevent insurers from benefiting from new technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

On the other hand, new technology can also be a problem. It’s easy to be distracted by novel features instead of focusing on clear strategies and outcomes.

Avoiding these missteps will help insurance companies stay on the right path. Rapid innovation and continuous improvement will result from a unified, clear business and IT strategy that takes into account feedback and data from customers and other stakeholders. Companies that adjust their mindset to embrace change and reorganize their structure around customer needs, supported by the right technology stack, will achieve true enterprise agility.

ENTERPRISE AGILITY IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

The New Strategic Imperative

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