Insurers need to create an enabling environment that encourages and supports digital innovation. Such an environment is essential. It will be the seedbed for the products and services that will generate future revenues. Important enablers include a diffused digital culture, fluid customer engagement, liquid IT architecture and comprehensive digitization.

Insurers are wrestling with a big dilemma: How best to deploy digital technology to improve their current systems while also equipping themselves to launch new digital initiatives crucial for future growth?

Both agendas are essential in today’s consumer-to-business (C2B) era where consumers are dictating how suppliers should serve them. In my previous blog post, I highlighted three “Go Digital” approaches that insurers could adopt to improve the digital capabilities of their existing systems and processes. Alongside such initiatives, carriers need to create an enabling environment that encourages and supports digital innovation. Such an environment is vital. It will spawn the digital products and services that will generate future revenues. We’ve identified four important enablers that are essential for creating a successful “Be Digital” innovation environment. They are:

Diffused digital culture. Traditional, top-down, hierarchies are too slow and cumbersome. Diffused digital leadership, which shares future possibilities and identifies strategic opportunities, should be practiced throughout the organization. New roles within the workforce, such as data scientist, digital architect, community advocacy builder and storyteller, need to be fostered.

Fluid customer engagement. Customer engagement and management systems and processes should be flexible and agile. This will allow insurers to leverage big data and analytics systems and move quickly from gathering customer insights to launching marketing initiatives and engaging with potential purchasers.

Liquid IT architecture. Highly connected and intelligent IT architectures, which can be quickly reconfigured to address changing demands, will provide insurers with substantial competitive advantage. They’ll enable carriers to swiftly roll out personalized living services and distributed products without changing their back-end systems. Furthermore, liquid IT architectures will allow carriers to exchange data with third-parties and work closely with partners across digital ecosystems.

Comprehensive digitization. End-to-end (E2E) digitization across front-end and back-end operations will enable insurers to further enhance productivity and efficiency and also accelerate the take-on of customers and the delivery of new offerings.

Insurance must address key enablers

Selecting and prioritizing these “Be Digital” enablers, shown above, is far from simple. They need to be synchronized with the insurer’s “Go Digital” endeavours and support the organization’s over-arching roles and objectives. Nonetheless, insurers shouldn’t delay their commitment to these twin digital agendas.

In the fast-moving C2B environment early advantage is crucial. If carriers don’t quickly transform their businesses they’ll lose business to more nimble competitors.

In my next blog post I’ll discuss why insurers should closely align Be Digital enablers with their market roles.

In the meanwhile, have a look at some of these links. I think you’ll find them worthwhile.

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