Other parts of this series:
- Insurers must up competitive agility to counter rising disruption
- Three-point business strategy gives insurers a competitive edge
- Insurance execs must ask tough questions about competitive agility
- Insurers must be wary of pitfalls on the path to competitive agility
- Correct methodology crucial for carriers seeking competitive agility
A methodology that promotes end-to-end agility must address strategy, scale and DevOps.
Many insurers are looking to cut costs to release funds that they can plough into new growth initiatives.
To boost their competitive agility, however, insurance providers need to carefully harness their expense controls with measures to bolster profitability and sustainability. They require an agile methodology that integrates and co-ordinates these key activities. This will enable them to overcome some of the obstacles to competitive agility I discussed in my previous blog post.
It’s essential that insurers properly implement their agile methodology. Often, companies embrace the concept of competitive agility but fail to properly transform their businesses. They don’t thoroughly apply an agile methodology across their organizations. They invest in agile development teams, for example, but don’t change the channels needed to rapidly roll out new processes or applications.
A truly agile organization ensures that every part of the business is constantly helping it improve. Each business unit should be involved in identifying new opportunities and threats, analyzing and testing proposals, prioritizing new initiatives, and building and operating innovative systems and applications.
To achieve end-to-end agility throughout the enterprise, insurers need to adopt a methodology that addresses three key tasks:
Devise an agile enterprise strategy: Use customer insights, market demands, regulatory requirements and technological opportunities to guide “theme-based”, rather than project-orientated, strategic planning. Employ an evolutionary process, which addresses different levels of business needs, to define and prioritize the systems and applications that need to be built. Encourage collaboration across business units and with external partners. Implement an iterative and repetitive planning cycle to encourage continuous improvements in product development and increased organizational agility.
Scale-up agile capabilities: Use agile teams, flexible development architectures and efficient release-management processes to ensure that agile capabilities can be scaled up across the enterprise. Synchronize “sprints”, short periods of time during which specific tasks must be completed and ready for review, with program development schedules and set timetables for incremental product releases. Co-ordinate internal and external agile teams to capitalize on differences in time zones and accelerate development. Employ micro-services and open application-program-interfaces (APIs) to manage diverse technologies and reduce costs. Consolidate and automate the verification and management of new software releases to ensure the effective delivery and support of applications across the enterprise.
Automate and collaborate in DevOps: Combine automation and collaboration in development and operations (DevOps) to accelerate the implementation of new systems and applications. This will reduce the time needed to bring new products to market and strengthen production processes. A collaborative DevOps operating model, which clearly designates accountability throughout the development and implementation process, encourages quicker decisions about features to be added to new releases; greater efficiency in resolving problems; and more efficient testing, deployment and monitoring.
For further information about mastering the journey to competitive agility have a look at some of these links.