Insurers looking to win in the digital economy cannot seek transformation through technology alone. Technology is the driver of change—but people are the vehicle and thus, digital transformation must begin with people first.
In order to adapt a “people first” approach to digital transformation, organizations must create a digital culture that empowers people to think of technology in terms of how it can be used by them, their partners and their customers to achieve more. Digital thriving corporate cultures use technology to enable people to constantly adapt, learn, create new solutions, drive change and disrupt the status quo. They make digital disruption part of their corporate DNA.
Accenture released their 2016 Technology Vision study entitled, “People First: The Primacy of People in the Age of Digital Insurance”. In the study, they interviewed 450 insurance executives in 15 countries to discover some of the corporate culture shifts that must take place in order to build a liquid workforce that can endure in the digital age.
One of the key required shifts was found to be greater application and training in the usage of intelligent automation, with 82% of insurers agreeing that automation will be seamlessly embedded into every aspect of business over the next five years. As a healthcare process management company, I can tell you firsthand that more and more insurers are coming to us looking for ideas of how we can automate their systems, from how they place and manage production orders to how they track their mail distribution, not only to achieve new savings and efficiency, but also to grow intelligence automation as a critical internal competency. Process automation not only has the potential to transform operations, but overall organizational collaboration, intelligence and agility.
Another important shift is an understanding of new and disruptive ecosystems, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as 81% of insurers see the Internet of Things bringing about complete transformation or significant change in the industry. If your workforce is equipped to tap into the IoT, they can move from the traditional approach of leveraging historical data to prevent the occurrence of an issue, to responding to individual risks in real-time through data collected by nearables, wearables, embedded sensors, connected smart devices, the cloud and digital health platforms. The era of connected health is fast approaching, and insurance workforces must be prepared to build a health IT infrastructure for an interconnected world where it is no longer about isolated transaction points, but a continuous flow of services being delivered through connected devices all around us, living with us in our world.
A third shift that must take place is training the workforce to be more data-driven and use data as the basis for making decisions at every level of the enterprise. Insurers should look at external data sources that they can collect as well as machine learning techniques that can conduct predictive analysis based on defined behavioral pattern sets. They must strengthen their teams’ ability to optimize behavioral, contextual and predictive data in order to deliver more personalized, customer-centric experiences that can potentially integrate with the IoT.
Last of note, is the need to build data security and ethics as the cornerstone of internal culture as digital insurers will encounter and create risks that traditional insurers never have. More than three out of four (78 percent) insurance executives reported that they are exposed to more risks than they are equipped to handle as a digital business. New insurance products and services must be ethical and secure-by-design. They must make it transparent to the customer how their data is being used. The insurers who are able to train their workforce to make security, privacy and ethics the foundation of any new development process will be the ones to succeed.
Liquid consumer expectations can only be met by a liquid workforce. Without making the time and investment to train one’s workforce to become more change-ready, traditional insurers may find themselves unable to keep pace with the digital change brought about by the next wave of digital technologies.
How are you preparing your workforce for the next wave of digital?
Source: Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2016, “People First: The Primacy of People in the Age of Digital Insurance”: http://ins.accenture.com/rs/897-EWH-515/images/Accenture-Technology-Vision-for-Insurance-2016-Full-Report-POV.pdf