Innovation + Technology: Embracing the Bigger Picture
"I always find it interesting (and telling) when people dismiss a piece of technology as being irrelevant or overhyped, when they don't understand it. I have seen the same happen to startups. You sometimes need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to see where that unique piece fits within the ecosystem."
That is how I kicked off a LinkedIn post earlier this week.
The Bigger Picture
There is a tendency these days to look at an innovative piece of technology and expect instant returns and results. Take for example Robot Process Automation (RPA). I have seen on several occasions RPA initiatives score big early wins, generate a lot of excitement, only to struggle as soon as scale and governance become a factor. The hypothesis behind the slowdown is worthy of another article, but typically there are a handful of key elements missing that are critical for the ongoing success of the automation journey. Process design, optimization, security, ongoing governance - a handful of the key ingredients that alongside the technology itself, form a critical part of the bigger picture.
When companies decide to roll the dice on a new and exciting bit of tech, there are a number of factors that need to be considered to help garner long term success and save it from the technical debt-ridden pit of despair. Technology on its own can only do so much and we need to be cognizant of the less glamourous supporting roles.
Insurance Value Chain
Pick any of the popular technology innovations right now, and when taken as a single entity, without context of where it fits into the insurance value chain and customer journey, it will typically struggle to shine. Chatbots are an incredibly powerful tool, that when leveraged strategically and at the right time on the customer journey, can deliver a level of insight at scale that would otherwise be very difficult and costly to achieve. With that, however, comes great responsibility. Achieving scale, whilst protecting the customer and their experience is an art form. It requires a delicate understanding of your customer and how they interact with your product. Automated technology needs to be used sparingly and at exactly the right time to be a success. Should a bot be deployed to handle every single bit of customer interaction? Absolutely not. Would you handle a complex claim solely through an automated chatbot? Not if you want to keep your customers coming back. Augment that bit of technology with the human touch when and where needed, however, and you have the recipe for long term success.
The Sum is Greater Than The Parts
Another area of technology where the sum is greater than the parts is the cloud. If you dabble at all with Google Cloud, AWS or Azure, a cursory glance at the most recent services will illustrate an ongoing change in landscape from month to month. New services with new capabilities are being constantly pushed out. How you choose to integrate those services is up to you. When looking at the API economy, the bigger picture is key.
Speech to text and sentiment analysis cloud APIs are fun to play around with, but on their own, have limited impact. Apply that technology, however, to a call center where voice calls can be automatically transcribed and passed through a sentiment analysis engine, suddenly you have a transformative workflow that can be deployed to call centers around the world. Align those results with your CRM and you have a powerful, customer driven platform that can now deliver a deeper, richer, layer of customer insight and understanding. Proactive customer handling driven by sentiment.
Experimentation & Partnership Potential
Some tech needs to be played with. Take it to the lab and dream. Experiment. Blockchain has enormous potential to transform the claims experience around catastrophic event handling. Parametric insurance, driven by smart contracts and the automated payment of claims, can has the potential to drive enormous change around the automated processing and payments portion of the insurance value chain. You don't need to have all of the answers up front, but the pursuit of progress over perfection will leave the door wide open for innovative and creative thinking. "Who and where can you partner to transform traditional business models?"
In their recent prospectus for its planned IPO, Airbnb listed distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, as well as biometrics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud technologies as being key at a future time.
Just about every box there ticked for innovative tech. Perhaps of more interest is the partnership potential - integration with parametric insurance solutions that may require quick access to emergency housing. Insurance really is only one piece of a much bigger jigsaw puzzle. Blockchain as a siloed solution can often appear to be quite limited. But when looked at through the lens of a holistic customer experience that transcends multiple industries, the potential is massive.
As we move closer to 2021, accessing innovative technology has never been easier. The challenge is with innovative and creative thinking. The tools and potential partnerships are right there. Now go out and find them!
Platform Experience - People, Process, Technology and Data
At Care Bridge International, we look at technology as a way for us to function more effectively as a team and deliver a holistic platform experience for our customers. What does that mean exactly? It means we can leverage our machine learning models to deliver intelligent and actionable insight quickly and accurately. It also means that for more complex cases and claims, we can leverage our machine learning models to augment human expertise to deliver a more concierge driven and human focused outcome.
It also means we consolidate all that activity into a single platform - BridgeIT. This is very much the sum of a host of moving parts. Every piece of technology has been selected to play a critical part. Lean and impactful with a constant eye on the bigger picture.
"Improving the claims journey by enhancing speed, accuracy and risk control are central to our Mission. We are proud to deliver a revolutionary digital approach to forecasting medical treatment and costs for claims providing the fastest, most accurate outcomes available in the marketplace" Deborah Watkins, Founder & CEO, Care Bridge International
I try to flip the script and instead of focusing on technical debt, look at technology through the lens of opportunity - technical opportunity. How will this product or piece of technology enable us to operate more effectively? How will it help us better serve our customer base?
As you think about how and where to use technology within your own organization, do not be afraid to experiment. Yes, start small, but always think about that bigger picture. Look at the insurance value chain through the eyes of the customer and the mixed bag of emotions that come with that. Are they buying insurance for the first time? Are they facing a catastrophic claim fraught with emotion and fear?
Innovative technology can help scale function, but emotions require a personal touch.
As always, reach out to us at Care Bridge International to talk about how we might be able to help you handle your claims more effectively through people, process, technology, and data.
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