Mobility has many implications (and opportunities) for insurers when it comes to interacting with clients, and making skilled workers more productive. All well and good: but none of this is possible without the right technology strategy in place.

For years, we at Accenture have been singing the same tune: CIOs need to take their seat at the strategy table. This has never been more true for insurers, as digital technologies—and perhaps mobile pre-eminently—exert a truly disruptive force on established ways of doing things. In general, all insurers face the challenge of becoming digital (something I’ve blogged on previously). In parallel with this far-reaching transformation journey, they will need to master certain technologies now in order to ride the digital wave.

Mobility plays a direct role in enabling existing and new insurance processes. In the background, though social media and analytics are also vital in harnessing the business power of mobility. Today’s social media content is now often generated on mobile devices, and insurers will increasingly rely on analytics to understand and adapt to the ways in which their customers are using the mobile channel. They will also need to use the mobile channel to increase both the frequency and intimacy of their interaction with customers, based on deep insights into customer segmentation.

Cloud computing is also emerging as an absolutely essential way to provide the reach and scalability that mobility demands. Cloud also offers insurers a way to access the hardcore security they will need to safeguard highly confidential data.

But it’s in the development of mobile websites and apps—the two prime ways to interact with customers and empower staff—that technology really takes center stage. The mobile app environment demands new skills and tools: development and testing cycles are short, and new devices, formats and operating systems have to be accommodated. New development approaches like Agile are one piece of the equation, but a key success lever will be the development of a mobile center of excellence within the IT organization. This mobile center of excellence would be able to industrialize the processes for dealing with these challenges, chief among them testing, which can be a significant bottleneck. Testing is particularly vital as software faults in the mobile world directly impact customers.

Always On. Always Connected. Keeping Up With Mobility.
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Given all these technical and organizational challenges, it’s no surprise that recent Accenture research has shown that 69 percent of insurance CIOs have ranked mobile amongst their top priorities over the coming year. It’s certainly one of the things I’ll be thinking about quite a bit as I relax in Brittany for my annual vacation! This will thus be the last blog from me for a while, but I look forward to resuming our conversation when I return at the end of August.

Read the cross-industry research report: Accenture Mobility CIO Survey 2013: Business Opportunities in the Maturing Mobility Market.

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