You don’t need good technology
‘We need to focus on digital transformation’ – said at some point in any board meeting, at any Insurer, anywhere, anytime in the last 5 to 7 years – it might have even been you who said it.
You really don’t. You don’t need to focus on digital transformation. You don’t need ‘good’ technology. You don’t need to digitise everything. You don’t need the latest and greatest applications. You don’t need data. There, I said it and, for what it’s worth, it feels great just getting this off my chest!
I’m not saying that you might not need to go through some (or a lot!) of digital transformation. You might even need some great technology. You may end up digitising a lot of your documentation, processes, and a whole lot more. Some of this might be supported by the latest and greatest applications the Tech sector has to offer. Shockingly, this may also involve getting and harnessing a lot of data. But focus on the how impacts the why. In other words, putting the cart before the horse is a problem, and I say this as someone who works in the cart building business.
“Growth creates complexity, and complexity is the silent killer of growth.” This is the growth paradox outlined in the always inspirational Founders Mentality. The way around this? An obsession with the frontline, an owner mind-set, and insurgency. In practical terms, everything needs to be focused on making the business do profitable things more frequently and better than your competitors. In technology terms, this means that you need to focus on what your customers need, ensuring those who serve on the front line are empowered by technology and not hindered by the processes associated with it.
In summary, you don’t need good technology; you need to make your business better – through better business decision-making, removing barriers to orders/business, or introducing technology that solves problems with simple, easy-to-use set-ups. If we view this through the prism of technology, any changes in this area should focus on the principle of making the business better.
Investments should be in applications built to make working within the heavily regulated world of insurance easier and ones that take away the burdens of bureaucracy. It needs to be flexible to the nuances and needs of the variety of products and distribution channels you work within and agile enough to allow you to disrupt your own business models and be dynamic for when you need to adapt. Ultimately, it needs to not get in the way – augmenting your frontline staff to do what they do best. Automated where you can, manual where it’s needed. After all, isn’t the need for Digital Transformation the outcome of cumbersome and monolithic technology adoption in the first place?
Like I said, you don’t need good technology; you need to improve your business. Technology might just be the enabler. Good technology solves business problems; digital transformation for the sake of it, does not. Don’t repeat the same mistakes of those who’ve put the cart before the horse, take it from a friendly cart builder!