Keeping Agility and Collaboration at the Forefront of Technology Projects

By Laurie Pierman, Vice President, Claims Operations, Digital Innovation And Jim Suchara, Vice President, Digital Innovation

Laurie Pierman, Vice President, Claims Operations, Digital Innovation

New and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, and the internet of things, have infiltrated the insurance industry. These technologies have enhanced business capabilities allowing for improved policyholder monitoring, visualization of big data, and personalized coverage options. While technology has the potential to deliver great value, the process of implementing it is often complex.

Collaboration is key

In order to effectively utilize technology, selection and execution must involve all affected business units. Many companies utilize only their information technology (IT) or project management departments to spearhead innovation efforts. The most seamless, successful integrations of technology are a collaborative effort between technology experts, business leaders and end users. This collaboration starts from the earliest stages of research and continues beyond the launch date.

All knowledge is valuable

People are often fearful that differing opinions within a team during technology projects may create conflict. However, all knowledge pertaining to the subject is valuable. Take, for example, an initiative designed to automate claims services. The IT team might have useful information about insurance-based startups, or the ability to explain how new automation will sync with the company’s preexisting systems. On the other hand, a claims expert has very detailed knowledge about the tools needed, and the personality of the end user, which help define the customer experience.

Key steps for implementing change

• Research —understand the landscape, opportunities, and vendors. Identify key individuals— both in the business and IT—to act as “entrepreneurs” by learning as much as they can about the technology, and who is providing it, that would be a fit with the organization.

• Use an outside-in view —utilize outside consultants to help evaluate where the organization is today and how that compares with competitors.

• Create a roadmap —with so much technology available, and such limited time and resources lay out a vision for what will be accomplished and when. This will help set expectations and identify contingent projects.

• Practice agility —embrace the agile mindset to allow your organization to quickly change, or adapt to emerging technology opportunities or changing market conditions.

• Experiment —identify projects that can be implemented on a small scale to test out your ideas and expectations. Through the use of proof of concepts and pilot programs, identify those projects that have proven themselves worthy of being rolled out to a larger audience.

• Embrace the MVP —use technology to create products that meet your customers’ needs, while allowing feedback for future enhancements and future development.

• Celebrate successes —recognize and celebrate success as you reach milestones in your technology roadmap. These journeys can be long and arduous. Celebrate accomplishments to keep all constituents motivated and excited.

The importance of being agile

Jim Suchara, Vice President, Digital Innovation

Industries face rapid change,and emerging technologies can transform the competitive environment. These new innovations can have disruptive effects on organizations that do not embrace agility and change.

While agility may sound like an easy thing for a company to adopt, it is in fact hard work and requires discipline. To understand what is affecting the industry, robust, ongoing, consistent research must be conducted on customer trends. There also must be engagement with customers once a trend is identified, to determine if there’s a business need for adaptation. Finally, internal parties must have a plan for any potential issues that arise during the development and launch processes.

Businesses that are agile have the potential to grow, largely because of their operational intelligence and their fluidity. Those operating in an agile manner, while utilizing the outlined key steps for change, can experience great success in their adaptations of emerging technologies.

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