Digital technology is credited with speeding up innovation and enhancing customer experience across the discovery-purchase-servicing value chain — regardless of whether a business is selling an airplane or an insurance policy. Digital enables the integration of processes, customers, products and data across the organization.

However, many organizations adopt a siloed, outside-in approach to digital, with front-end digital applications pulling and collating information for users, while business processes and data remain disparate and disconnected at the back-end. While such an approach may unlock some opportunities, transformative product / service innovation and customer experience remain out of reach since siloed interventions can never really enable scalability or agility. This limits the ability of a business to pivot in response to evolving scenarios.

An inside-out approach to digital transformation, with an integrated digital operations model, is thus crucial to unlock true resilience and future-readiness. Such a model can supercharge digital transformation for insurers.

A Gartner report by Everest Group, sponsored by WNS, presents a digitally integrated operations model as comprising of six layers — process, digital, data, technology, governance and talent.

While this is an industry-agnostic operations model, it presents an effective framework to understand how insurers can embed advanced digital capabilities at the heart of their organization. Specifically, a digitally integrated operations model can enhance customer experience, innovation and agility for insurers in multiple ways. Here’s a look at a few.

Agile Operational Ecosystem

Low code, highly configurable platforms host end-to-end processes and multi-channel distribution and service capabilities across multiple lines of business. With access to cohesive data and business intelligence, these platforms are further enabled with the highest order of descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytical capabilities. Operational connectedness at this scale helps the platforms deliver insightful and actionable reporting, and function as an engine for faster and more effective business growth.

Data Centricity

An integrated operations model delivers full visibility into, and control over, business-critical metrics such as effort, cost derivatives, timeliness, quality, and gain / loss. Digital technologies enabling real-time connectivity with external data sources ensure 360-degree business intelligence and allow companies to react faster to changing regulatory and business requirements.

Adaptive Go-to-Market Strategies

The digital footprint of customer journeys has been increasing steadily, and the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this further. A McKinsey survey of US insurance agents found that only five percent of their customer conversations were held in-person — compared to 90 percent in January 2020. The general sense is that this figure will not bounce back even after the pandemic ends.

At this scale, even insurers who have added a layer of direct-to-consumer voice and digital touch points may find that it is not enough. Consumers prefer to have seamless access across agents, customer service channels and digital self-service channels, using one or many of these as they progress from discovery to service. Combine this with disruptive ecosystem-driven distribution strategies such as affinity network and offline to online, and we see why the need for insurers to create adaptive go-to-market strategies becomes crucial.

An integrated digital operations model allows agility and scale in go-to-market strategies by allowing insurers to open up their automated and intelligent customer onboarding, risk assessment, underwriting and customer service processes across distribution networks and self-service channels.

For insurers, the real benefits of digitally integrated operations lie beyond the rationalization of all business lines on a dynamic platform. A digital core allows insurers to maximize gains from investments in automation, analytics and intelligent technologies. Most importantly, like digital native companies, it positions them to win in the face of disruption by pivoting rapidly in strategy as well as execution.

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