There’s no denying the year of the digital platform has arrived in insurance. As McKinsey puts it, society’s growing reliance on digital technologies is reshaping customer expectations and redefining boundaries across industries, a trend that’s equally affecting insurance. As traditional industry borders recede and products and services are being reshaped to focus on customer needs and hyper- personalization, collections of digital business platforms are forming ecosystems to become the new foundation around which markets are organizing. This makes digital platforms the new table stakes in achieving true digital transformation in insurance.
Digital platforms drive digital transformation in insurance
Our industry is now acknowledging the inevitability of digital business ecosystems and the need for digital transformation in order to compete. However, as many insurers are still consumed with their core system modernization, most carriers are just beginning to grapple with digital transformation.
To start, it’s important to understand the definition and purpose of a digital platform. According to research and advisory firm Gartner, a digital platform is a set of technology solutions that are combined in a business-driven manner to enable digital interactions between communities of partners, providers, and customers. Critical to this model is infusing a digital platform with capabilities that allow:
- A hyper personalized touch to points where members connect and reconnect, that span everything members need, and through whichever channels they consume it
- Rapid and continuous evolution, so members can deliver innovative products and services through non-traditional channels
- The ability to automate and make processes intelligent
- An integrated view of the different digital platform capabilities
Proven framework delivers success
When we partner with clients to create a digital platform, the first step is helping you develop a digital transformation strategy using our proven framework. We designed the framework to help you identify your business strategy, analyze your existing IT environment to determine what’s necessary for achieving your business strategy, and then develop a plan to evolve your IT environment accordingly.
A key outcome of our framework is infusing your digital platform with five essential capabilities for digital transformation success. These five essential capabilities and what they enable are:
- Rapid app development to create delightful experiences
- Fast and effective integration to enable rapid development of multiple functionalities
- Cloud enablement to support a dynamic infrastructure
- IT service management to make processes intelligent
- Robust data & analytics to support business innovation
Let’s take a closer look at each essential capability.
- Rapid App Development
Unlike traditional long development and QA cycles, rapid app development favors quickly producing working software, gaining immediate feedback, and then iterating rapidly. The objective is creating immersive and natural engagement experiences on whatever digital channels a customer chooses, that can also be evolved swiftly as needs and expectations change. Providing channel specific experience is critical to creating the exceptional experiences that will win you partners and customers.
- Fast and Effective Integration
Similar to rapid app development, successful platforms enable quick and effective means to develop APIs and enable integration with partners to leverage new market opportunities and non-traditional distribution channels. Technologies such as open APIs, microservices and integration-oriented architectures are fundamental to fast and effective integration. Such capabilities also enable you to improve products, services, and operations to become more nimble and responsive.
- Cloud Enablement
Moving infrastructure and operations to the cloud enables you to utilize dynamic infrastructure and services, optimize your IT environment, and leverage automation, which provides flexibility for scaling your business and improving profitability. A well-designed and implemented cloud environment supplies insurers the right tools, computing resources, storage, and network to develop and deploy applications according to business and market needs.
- IT Service Management
Internal user experiences are just as important to competitiveness and profitability as customer experiences. By automating service management, you can streamline internal processes and provide consumer-like experiences to your employees. Furthermore, your internal teams will be better equipped to support customer engagement with automated solutions at the backend. Incorporating IT Service Management into your digital platform can significantly improve employee engagement, help attract top talent, and positively boost retention.
- Robust Data & Analytics
Data is the foundation for achieving innovation with digital initiatives. Luckily, it’s abundantly available. The trick is having the right data strategy for harnessing and using data, so you have the ability to make informed decisions, drive smart actions, and bring transformational value to your business. Robust data & analytics enables improved products and services, deeper insights into customer needs, development of new revenue streams, and the updating of business models.
From our experiences working with dozens of insurers, we’ve seen how these five capabilities can make or break the success of an insurer’s digital platform. That’s why establishing strength in these five capabilities will help ensure you’re ready to win in a rapidly evolving, ecosystem-driven marketplace.
Ready to start your digital transformation journey? Learn how our Digital & Cloud team can help you develop these five essential digital platform capabilities.