Accelerating Digital Transformation in Insurance with Low Code Application Platform
Today, insurance companies are ready to embrace change and rethink their business models. Thus, they are rapidly adopting low code-based technologies for achieving competitive advantage, delivering personalized offerings, increasing operational efficiency, and gaining process scalability. Using low code, organizations are transforming key insurance functions – from product development, marketing, distribution, underwriting, and claims to finance and accounting.
Watch this panel discussion to understand how a digital transformation platform with low code capability can accelerate the digital initiatives of insurance companies.
- Top trends in the Asia-Pacific insurance sector
- Automation – Enabler for superior customer experience
- Key capabilities of a low code-based digital transformation platform
- Real-life examples
Hemant Makhija: Hi, everyone. This is Hemant Makhija, Head of Marketing at Newgen Software. Welcome to the panel discussion. Topic of the discussion today is “Accelerate digital transformation in insurance with low-code automation platform,” hosted by Newgen. And our esteemed panelists are from AXA Insurance, Cognizant, and Forrester Research.
Quickly talk about AXA group. It’s a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management with over 153,000 employees and serving 105 million clients in 54 countries.
Cognizant, a leading IT services company that helps clients modernize technology, reimagine processes, and transform experiences so that they can stay ahead in our fast changing world.
Forrester is not a name that needs introduction, but here you go. It is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. It helps leaders across technology, marketing, customer experience, product, and sales functions use customer obsession to accelerate growth.
And, of course, the host, Newgen is the leading provider of the unified digital transformation platform with native process automation, content services, and communicating management capabilities.
We have Mr. Alok Rungta, Head of Health and Protection, AXA Insurance, with us. Welcome, Alok. He is a strategic leader with key focus on driving business imperatives and the development of business in different markets across Asia.
Joining him is Mr. Arun Kumar Sasidharan, Strategy and Advisory Services Lead. He is a technology professional with over 20 years of industry experience. He leads the Technology Advisor Services in the discipline of enterprise integration and digital process automation, and he supports clients through their transformation journeys. His field of work spans across enterprise application, ecosystems, digital integrations and process automation, API led transformation solutions, leveraging lo local platforms and cloud native application. Modernization is a key focus area for his current engagement.
We have, of course, Ellen Carney, Principle Analyst, Forrester Research. She’s a Principal Analyst serving financial services technology, decision makers in roles such as CIOs and enterprise architects in the insurance wealth investment asset management industries. Her research focuses on technology decisions related to integration of emerging technologies with legacy systems to drive better digital experience and overall improved operational efficiency.
And finally, we have Mr. Anurag Shah, Head of Digital Products and Solutions from Newgen. He heads Newgen’s Products and Solutions Division in the Americas, including Caribbean and South and Central America regions. He also leads GSI relations as well as the consulting and pre-sales in the country and the region. He has been with Newgen for over 22 years. In his previous roles, he has led and managed delivery and professional services for enterprise customers.
We’ll start with a quick overview or point of view overview from each of our panelists for today’s topic, and then we’ll follow it up with questions and answers. And if you have questions and answers that you would like to ask the panelists, please put it onto the Q&A box and we’ll happy to take those as at the end.
So let’s start with Ellen. Ellen, please share your thoughts on the topic of discussion today.
Ellen Carney: Hemant, thank you for the terrific introduction and thank you for letting me join what I suspect is going to be a pretty lively discussion about insurance and digital transformation.
But let’s pause for a second about thinking about what our business is. Our customers are expecting us to be the company that stands by them when they need help. And when we asked insurance organizations to best describe what customers were looking for from them a little bit earlier this year, number one, of course, was dependability. 53% said, “This is our business. We have to be dependable for our customers. And when they engage with us, we have to make it convenient and easy for them to drive a great customer experience. And of course, one of the other key things is it has to come from our leadership that this is really our mission is serving our customers, and it has to infiltrate the whole organization. In terms of number four, the way we support our customers, our agents, and our partners, including our integration partners. And finally it lets us deliver something really important, peace of mind.”
And so when we think about what’s next in the business of insurance and in standing by our customers, it’s all about customer obsession. What customer obsession entails is three key elements. First, as we had mentioned before, leadership. How do we influence the organization by providing the objective, the direction, and frankly, the motivation for the vision that we want in terms of standing by our customers.
It also involves a strategy. What’s that plan that’s going to apply the ideas that we’ve designed to deliver something really important, outcomes? What do we want to do for our business, for our customers, and frankly, for the organizations or the people that have invested in us.
And finally, it’s our operations. How are we going to transform the sets of resources and functions that we have internally to deliver these exceptional outcomes for our customers? And of course, this kind of drives what happens next, the transformation of the entire enterprise.
And as we had said, it involves three key elements, leadership, strategy, and operations, and that customer obsession is, frankly, a perpetual business orientation. And it also drives changes in operations. Our operations have to be customer led. Customers are always at the center of everything that we do. Not products. Customers.
It has to be insights driven. We have to be able to get information out of our systems and our partner systems to make sure that we can deliver on that customer obsession.
We got to be fast. We talked a little bit before we started this morning about the miracle of digital. And one of the miracles of that is that every time a customer needs us, they know that they can count on us to be there for them when they need us. So it’s got to be fast.
And it’s got to be connected. And so it’s got to be transparent in terms of the way we deliver on behalf of our customers across the whole ecosystem.
So we’ve talked a little bit about how we transform the entire enterprise. Frankly, we’re transforming the entire ecosystem. So as we’ll see next, it means we have a new job.
When we asked insurance organizations to tell us what their top business priorities were going to be into 2022, of course, number one was “Improve the experience of our customers.” No surprise. As we had talked about, we’ve got to have a financial impact, and that financial impact is we want to grow revenue. That’s going to be one of the ways that we are able to invest in the systems that help improve those experience with customers.
They want different kinds of products and services, and that’s, of course, driving our ability to innovate internally and experiment with new kinds of technologies that are going to help us in our customer obsession mission.
And then finally, in order to move that forward, we have to improve the insights that we have and the business decisions that we have to make. So when we think about how we’re informing our customer obsession strategy, as we see next, it’s all about digital transformation.
And when we asked insurance organizations to tell us what is the scope of your digital transformation? Three quarters said, or more than three quarter said, “It’s company wide.” It’s not just departmental. It’s not just a geographic part of our business. It’s the whole organization.
Interestingly, back in 2020, when we asked insurance organizations to tell us basically how do they think about digital transformation. They’re not projects anymore. Successful companies, 32% of insurance organizations, said it is a constant, ongoing, continuous process. It’s a state of mind for our organizations moving forward to help drive that customer obsession.
And obviously, it requires, as we see next, some different elements that are going to help drive that digital transformation forward. So these are perhaps something that the doers within the organization have to really address, but it’s all about what matters now. Speed, we have to be fast, it requires new kinds of skills, and different business partners that are going to help drive our digital transformation forward.
So as you can see here, applications to the cloud. We’re going to deploy SaaS. That was an important activity, driving digital skills, restructuring our organizations to increase agility, creating a digital business model. And all of this is going to have significant implications and the kinds of technologies that we’re going to be investing in.
So with that, a thank you from me for letting me kind of weigh in here on what we see in terms of what’s happening in customer obsession, digital transformation, and what it’s going to mean for insurance organizations. So with that, back to you, Hemant.
Hemant Makhija: Thank you. Thank you, Ellen. This was very insightful. I really like specifically the use of data that you had for insurance industry, which is what our audience would be more interested in. And also that the fact that post pandemic, the obsession to improve customer experience is all the more relevant. It’s a strong and differentiating point for them. And would love to see what others have to share on their side.
So how about we start with Alok? Alok, what are you, what are your thoughts on the current topic?
Alok Rungta: Good evening, everyone, and thanks to Newgen for this opportunity. I’m very happy to share the dais with the people around. And I’m so happy that, Ellen, you went ahead of me because I think what I’m going to say is going to just complement what you said, which talks about consistency. And again, it doesn’t depend where you are from, which part of the world, and what are you doing, whether you are a consultant or you are the industry side, but it seems like we all are in the same boat.
So we see mainly that a lot of digital transformation is in the Asia factory, and I’m just quoting there, is driven mostly by China and Singapore. A lot of work is happening in India, so that’s one area we saw a lot of movement. Also, what you will see through the pandemic or the pre pandemic era, you saw a lot of insuretech, which was dominantly in claims automation and other process automation.
So it was more inward looking, if I can be candid. Like Ellen said, it has to be automation. But it was more inward looking. Improve internal process, automated or internal staff, whether it was RPA or other stuff, but more internal looking.
And that’s the big shift which has happened post pandemic, that now we see that the digital transformation is across all spectrums, internal processes, customer/distributor facing. I think the distributor facing sometimes is very undirected, but for insurance, it’s one of the most critical aspect of our business. And I think that’s one area which has changed a lot more because the traditional method of insurance, which is face to face selling, has really vanished in pandemic. So we really have to devise methods who have that interface with the distributor and customer, which is digital now.
So it’s not only post customer acquisition, but also in the acquisition journey, how the traditional model was complemented or in a way for a short period replaced or assisted through our digital model became another big aspect for insurance industry. And being in a very unique industry, this was, I think, one of the biggest change which was brought in the pandemic as well.
Okay. Next. For me, what new trends and technologies? So, as I said, there is a significant focus on speed-to-market. What digital also means is you have to learn what your customer wants. The customer needs everything fast. Even our turnaround time from concept to launch has to be really managed fast. So it goes back to the idea of how do you have integrated environment when you launch a initiative or a project, or even a product, as Ellen said. It’s important that the environment and the ecosystem is there to stand by, because it’s so integrated now that you’re cannot do things in isolation. There’s no more silo approach in terms of what you do.
So how do you build intelligence through AI, big data for faster processing? So that’s where internal technology or technology trends we saw in the internal processes.
If you look at the next trend, what we also saw is customer facing trends. So as said, growing concept for building ecosystem. So in insurance, you will see, especially my experience is, we are not only offering health as a product now. We are offering health as a service. We are offering services of health now.
For example, on our digital lab, we see now health ecosystem, which is about information. It is about awareness. It is about engagement. So what you are seeing is a digital ecosystem on a domain, category nowadays. Rather than being a product company, you are becoming a category company. You want to give everything in a category and you build that ecosystem. So that’s the new trend. You will see that a lot coming up.
Also it’s focuses both access and form. So it’s not only how are you going to the customer and insert it. How to make it easy. Because actually in AXA, we’ve been saying that how to make things simple insurance, because whether you believe it or not, or take it or not, insurance is a complicated subject. And actually sometimes I believe the best of the minds, when they come to insurance, they make it more complicated for the customer rather than make it easy for the customer from a product or an attribute of what he’s buying.
So it’s also about that form of what you are giving the customer and how to make the access easier for him. That becomes big for him. And as I said, it’s beyond the policy servicing now. So it’s about education, engagement, tools. We see a lot of cross sell, up sell, having a digital tool. So that’s another big trend which I saw in the post pandemic era. And it has really taken the competition and the thought process to the next level from what is to be in the past.
That’s it what I wanted to share for now, but I’m looking forward for the interactive discussion, but I’m sure there’ll be much more interesting aspects to discuss among ourselves.
Hemant Makhija: Thank you. Thank you, Alok. This was a perspective from a leading insurance group as AXA. And what was interesting was, it’s not just about selling more products, but how digital is helping businesses come back with more products, more overarching experience for the customers. That’s much more critical than just doing one transaction, two transactions. Awesome.
Arun, from Cognizant’s perspective, what are you seeing in the market?
Arun Kumar: Firstly, Hemant, thank you very much for this opportunity. Thank you, Newgen as well. I’m glad to be part of this esteemed panel.
Rightly so like how Ellen articulated and Alok spoke from the industry perspective, our experience with working with many of the customers as a service provider is similar. Like in every other industry, the insurers are also focused on being digital. Their perspective of digital is towards driving hyper personalization, hyper personalized experiences, connected ecosystems, much in terms of transformations that are extending beyond the reach of the enterprise, new partnerships, new ecosystems, and their participation in those ecosystems. As, as Alok put it, undifferentiated experiences, all driving this while staying focused on employee engagement and an operational efficiency perspective.
And to drive all of this, enterprises essentially are picking up initiatives we from a customer experience, standpoint, distribution, or marketing transformation, all the way to the modernization of their enterprise systems and data and insights.
So essentially, moving on to the next slide, want to give a perspective of what digital experience means to insurers and how we look at some of these experiences. We see them as two different dimensions, essentially intersecting. One about the product life cycle itself, the insurance products and their life cycle. And the other dimension essentially is the customers and their interaction with these products and the experiences themselves.
While all the journeys are pretty complex and multifaceted, multi-regional, multi-location, there are some aspects which we can observe certain patterns from all of them. All experiences are unique, all interactions are unique, but nevertheless, there are certain patterns that kind of emerge and most of enterprises are trying to kind of patch upon those patterns essentially to drive those experiences and differentiation in the marketplace.
The typical characteristics that we observe in most of these enterprises are that they are multichannel focused. There are multiple bespoke applications and SaaS applications in their landscape. The outreach towards an extended relationship with partners, distributors, multi-cloud, disconnected data silos, these are some of the perspectives that enterprises are grappling with as they take up these transformation initiatives.
At the core of all of this is hyper connectivity, being agile and intelligent is how we look at it. It’s imperative. It’s an underlying theme for most enterprises. And so to say, just to underlining again on what Ellen just earlier mentioned, seamless experiences and digital enablement are essentially seen as more an upward trend as against looking at it from most only cost reduction or productivity improvements.
That’s from where our experience comes from, and I guess we are glad that it kind of aligns from the leaders in the industry and the analysts as well.
Hemant Makhija: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Arun. What you said was something interesting and leads to the next section as well, which is you talked about finding trends and patterns, making sure that you focus on customer journeys. And something that you and Alok both said were like, keep it simple. And that’s the philosophy that Newgen also follows, which is unlocking simple from the complex businesses that we have so that the customer doesn’t feel that complexity.
And on that note, I’ll bring in Anurag for sharing his perspective from leading provider of insurance solution and technologies.
Anurag Shah: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you, Hemant. Those were great insights from Ellen, Alok, and our partner, Cognizant.
I’ll just to quickly touch upon couple of things here. If you see the next slide, the challenges that all three our speakers spoke about, what is those challenges mean from where we are after, let’s say, this 18 months of pandemic era.
So next, you will see that the world is already changing. These last 18 months have caused the disruption, which probably we have not seen in the recent decades in our business scenarios. The expectations of the customers are becoming more and more savvy, more and more demanding. They are becoming used to things like Amazon experience or Apple experience and those kind of things. That’s what the customers are expecting. And it is more so in insurance industry, when they are trying to buy those services, Alok talked about more than product, the categories, the services, when they’re buying those and they’re interacting those. So the experience that they expect, that has changed.
The employees of the organization, the users who started working remotely, started working in virtual world and trying to still connect with those customers, those and trying to still meet the expectations of those customers. That changed.
Look at it from the perspective of the chief executive officers and chief information officers. While the CEO wants the business still to be nimble, no matter whether the users and employees are in a brick and mortar office or in the virtual world working from their home, and to achieve that the chief executive officer started looking at their CIOs, how they will digitally transform the business in order to be able to achieve the objective set out by the CEOs.
So next, we will see what and how those digital transformations took place. And Alok also talked about that, no matter how much simplification or how much complex or simplify we talked about the products and categories, the insurance business by its nature inherently brings in the complexities.
So if you see the technology platform, which requires to be able to deliver and to be able to achieve those, there are multiple facets which are required, which are existing in any insurance organization.
If you look at the business complexity we talked about, there are data, and there are contents which are scattered across your enterprise wide. You have policy admin systems. You have content. You have different third party systems. You have partners. The data which are today required to be assimilated from different places and different sources, those are many, many numbers. And then when you look at those applications which are required to manage those data and how CEOs trying to be nimble, how rapidly those applications are required to be developed, connecting all of those applications, integrating those applications, bringing those unification of the data from multiple applications, and all of this in order to achieve that central goal, the customer experience.
So my next slide actually talks about what so far we… If that’s the state of any insurance organization, how would any CIOs or CEOs will achieve those? So far, if you look at the industry, Forrester always comes out with those kind of reports and the analysis on the products services, which help organizations achieve those software. There was not a single platform which could address all of those needs in one platform. Of course, there were applications and systems which were existing in bits and pieces, which could be assimilated, which could be assembled.
But if you think it from a one platform perspective, we did not have that. And that’s where we are introducing NewgenONE. And in my next slide, I’m just going to quickly touch upon those three pillars, which become an integral part of this Newgen platform, the content, the process, and the communication.
If you look at the content, I’ll start with the content which is the right circle on your screen, it is not only the documents and emails and faxes, which used to be considered traditionally in last couple of decades, as content. Now, today we are here on a video panel. This is a content which is getting generated. Somebody is speaking, somebody’s going to listen. This is going to be reused again and again. We are in the world of Zoom, Team, WebEx and all of these kind of audio video.
So when we look at these kind of content, and we talked about those scattered and federated repositories in the organization, we have to look at all of those. And especially in the insurance industry where the policy is living a life of 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, be it life insurance policy or be it property and casual which is renewed year after year, the content which gets gathered is enormous.
When you put that content into the process, which is the circle on the left side, the local process automation, how do you include those workflows around the content, the services, the artificial intelligence, machine learning capabilities, bringing those intelligence from the content into the process? And while we are talking about both of these two things, the ultimate objective is to communicate and engage with the customer, which is the circle on the top, personalized engagement, contextual communication in the preferred channel and mode of the customers.
So that’s the platform which I quickly wanted to introduce, and back to you, Hemant. Thank you.
Hemant Makhija: Okay. Thank you very much. This was very insightful, guys. And as the moderator of this panel, I have come prepared with some questions that I would like to ask and get your valuable insight on it.
So let’s start with the first question. As we know, the different organizations are a different maturity curve for their digital adoption. And I would love to hear from our panelists what are their suggestions on how should such organizations move forward on their digital transformation journeys?
Let’s start with Alok, from his experience recently. AXA has gone through a lot of changes in their digital transformation journeys for their customers. So I would love to hear from them.
Alok Rungta: Thanks, Hemant, a very interesting question.
In my own experience, you are right, firstly, that everybody’s at different pace, the evolution and the organization maturity itself is a different stage. Forgot about the digital maturity. You’re a young organization, you’re a new organization, you are a mid-size organization, you’re a large, complex organization. So the organization scale and the journey of the organization actually has a big, big, big impact on how you start a digital journey.
Then again, within that, how is your digital maturity? So for me, actually, you can start anywhere. I don’t feel in my mind that there is a particular place to start with, but obviously you need to start, which is your biggest pain point. What is the business case and business use you want to resolve? Is it a customer experience case, as Ellen was mentioning? Or is it a go-to-market issue? What is the pain point or the problem statement want to resolve?
If you have the clarity, then it gives a good impetus for the business case. And once you have business case, your journey starts and the journey is more successful because success breeds success. So that’s, for me, the first thing.
Having said that, I think digital is also, as a simplified thing, digital itself has its own [inaudible 00:29:06] with all the octopus around. So it’s important that you at least have a three to four year digital strategy in place.
Okay. What is going to be a roadmap on digital? Because if you have the roadmap, then you can keep on prioritizing, as I said. You can have various pieces on it, but the roadmap will lead to select a great platform and methodology or approach you want to entertain it.
You want go an agile method? You want to go for a waterfall method? It all depends on what is your strategy, what is your milestone, how fast you want to go. And the choice of partner and products becomes clearer.
I’ll give an example. In AXA Asia, specifically, when I was in the regional role in Hong Kong, we started embracing digital sometime 2016. So we started big band, a lot of CRM initiative. We started of front end digital initiatives. But we didn’t start it in all the areas. Now what we realized in some areas where we started small, already in five years, those application and platforms have lived a life. They’ve become so complex that forget what was simple and cost effective and marketable launch. The speed-to-market data becoming actually a pain because they were never planned to outlive their life.
Five years back, we thought that small initiative or small tool will become such an integrated part of the business that today we cannot live with it. But the fact is it is not scalable. Sustainability is an issue. The platform, say, for example, can crash.
So I’m just giving an example that if you don’t have a clarity on what your starting point is, especially in terms of scalability and a robustness, and the strategy is not clear, then you will have a bigger challenge. So for me, that’s the big thing that you start anywhere, but do a genuine assessment, have a clear roadmap, and then prioritize based on your pain points. That will be my broad thinking.
Hemant Makhija: Perfect. This is awesome. Have a strategy, have clearly defined outcomes and measurable outcomes, and then, of course, execute on it, big, small, large, or department wide, but keeping the outcomes in mind.
Ellen, you must have come across several organizations in your tenure and career here in Forrester and before. What’s your viewpoint on this?
Ellen Carney: Well, I was very heartened to hear Alok talk about the fact, start with the business case. Don’t start with picking the technology. Start with the business case. Look at your processes, have a plan in a roadmap, and be able… I think one of the other things that was kind of a thread in what he had talked about was also understand that your plan is going to change.
And I think one of the things that really hit home, and he didn’t necessarily use these words, but he talked about some of the limitations if you start wrong is the tech debt that you’re going to incur. If you don’t think about what that objective you have for the business before you actually pick technology. So I can’t emphasize enough, he absolutely nailed what the challenge is that we hear consistently in inquiries from insurance organizations around the world where they’ve started at the wrong point, made the wrong decision in terms of picking the technology, and now are stuck with it and have incurred costs and the complexity of trying to unwind all of that.
So I was, again, very heartened to hear from his experiences firsthand in doing this. This was great recommendation. So I can’t emphasize enough that that is the right path forward.
Hemant Makhija: Awesome. And I’ll stay with you, Ellen, because you mentioned that first start with the business and then let’s worry later about the details. But the next question I had in mind was about the details. What key technologies do you think that would prove to be critical for accelerating digital transformation among insurance organizations, especially, of course, keeping customers and employee experiences in mind and something that will help them thrive in the new normal?
Ellen Carney: Yeah, absolutely. Well, when you think about what are the big mega trends that are going on right now, Hemant, this whole idea of tech democratization, pushing tech decision making in usage and improving the accessibility of it all into the hands of business users.
So there are four that I’m thinking about right now in terms of key technologies. First and foremost is anything to do with AI. And Anurag had shown this in his last slide, RPA, all flavors of natural language processing anything to do with gleaning data out of our content is key. And, of course, this is feeding the data engine for insurance organizations.
Next is the whole idea of insurance, it’s open, it’s connected, it’s autonomous, and that requires APIs. So how can we better connect with our partners? Of course, one of the things that, how do I say this, that has just become such a buzz, low code, no code, and improving basically who can make changes, who our developers are within the organization is number four.
And then finally cloud provisioning. That’s now down at the level of the business, not just IT. So those are the four technologies.
I think one of the really interesting things, and this is a challenge that I was also pleased to hear Arun talk about, is this whole idea of how do you put the pieces together? So we know the ingredients. It’s basically the proper way to assemble the recipe, and that’s going to drive success for insurance organizations without, as Arun had talked about, incurring that excess tech debt.
So anyways, those are my points, And Arun, I’d love to hear what you think in terms of the technologies I had come up with and basically my argument that, boy, you got to get the pieces together and assemble the ingredients together.
Arun Kumar: Absolutely. Ellen. I think that’s the perspective that I carry as well from experience of trying to empower customers or employees. Essentially, while there are adoption of significant technologies from an engagement standpoint and the much of the characteristics that we spoke about that the data is siloed multiple applications within enterprises, multiple processes, and so on, so forth, the perspective or the interest within the enterprises or challenges within the enterprises are more to get all of these in a concise, single view of operations perspective, all from an experience standpoint. And all technologies that kind of adopt or kind of meet those objectives are what I would say are critical, essentially straight through processing. Agile, or dynamic workflows, as we call it, self servicing technologies as a case, maybe, and API is one of the greatest enabler of this aspect.
You mentioned about AI. I would also add something like automated data capture, which Anurag did speak about in his presentation as well, content management and collaboration technologies are another key capability that I think is relevant, and more, as I said, unified view and more intuitive interface to enhance experience. These are kind of technologies and capabilities that I think enterprises will adopt more and would be relevant in empowering customers and employees as they move forward.
Hemant Makhija: Awesome. I love the way how, Ellen, you transferred it to Arun, and that’s beautiful summarization of a wonderful response, democratize, make it smart, make it connected, and of course, keep it agile.
So I’ll go to the next one. This is one, Anurag, is for you. We’ll start from you and then we’ll go from there. So how important is the need for a low code automation platform for innovation, for agility, especially keeping that long term technology investment in mind for insurance companies.
Anurag Shah: That’s a great question in fact. In the context of what so far have been discussed, what Ellen, Alok, and Arun have shared for the previous couple of questions. So let’s see, where is the digital transformation headed? From whereabouts about half a decade ago? Or maybe a decade ago? So how those traditional content management have transformed into modern content services platform, and then started tying with those other two circles that I talked about earlier?
There are a few things. The focus has already shifted from just managing the content to a pervasive utilization of the content. Those AI and ML based cognitive services that were referred earlier in the conversation, the paper based documents giving ways to electronic email, social, audio, video, those internal, linear workflows becoming more and more collaborated and embracing those extended enterprises, B2B, B2C, those kind of things. The repositories of the content and data from single and cohesive are becoming more and more large scale federated.
The architecture Ellen talked about, though, and Alok also, kind of referred to it from monolithic and self-contained systems, those have evolved into modular and more microservices based architecture. And not to forget from the virtual world, from those on-prem systems. Now we are looking at cloud and maybe hybrid deployments.
So if you look at all of those things, there are four distinct areas of invest investment which have emerged. Digital workplace, definitely being the top one. Contextual automation becomes a very integral part of it when we talk about low code and no code. Those all shapes and forms of the content, bringing in those intelligence into the content and making it available in the context of the process, in the context of the service being rendered to the customer.
And while we are doing all of these things, we know insurance is heavily, heavily regulated industry and the processes. There are statutory guidelines. There are regulators who keep very close eye on how the insurance businesses done, how the policy holders are protected and all. So meeting those regulatory compliances are equally important.
And I briefly touched about the value of the content. I would actually say it’s a gold mine that insurance companies are sitting on, understanding the content in the context of those insurance service deliverables to your policy holders and your agents, and during the entire life of the policy.
If you look at any policy and any customer in the life of its existence, you would have hundreds of interaction with those customers, hundreds of interaction with those agents, you would’ve gathered so much of content. If somehow you are able to go in, go back to those content, do those automated content classification.
Arun talked about automated data capture. Infuse those AI and ML, get those intelligent extraction out of it. Do those sentiment analysis, do those discoveries, and then combine those with your processes and your engagement with the customer. And that’s what I would say, different area, different ways of looking at how and why it is important.
Hemant Makhija: I love the passion, Anurag, that you bring into your speech and the way you communicate.
And every organization is trying to do a lot through this. The aim is set and the path is to be defined, and that’s what the differentiation is really. But what Anurag was talking about, digital workplace, contextual automation, regulatory compliance, and using content for your own benefit.
So, Arun, from your perspective, also, from Cognizant’s perspective, you might also seen trends that you see in this area. What’s your thought on this topic?
Arun Kumar: Absolutely. So through this conversation, we kind of spoke about the need for innovative products, faster time to market, cost effective operations, and great experience. Well, they’re primary drivers for transformation.
The challenges for insurance, like we kind of echoed through this discussion, was that continually evolving new needs of integration, interaction between systems, ready access to information, dynamic configuration of workflow so to say, realtime insights in analytics, mid office and front office orchestrations, and technology continually evolving and businesses trying to keep pace with that. Ellen spoke about the do it yourself for the business enabled technologies as well.
So this is premise or this challenge of the white space is essentially the promise that the low code platforms tend to solve. Everything that is evolving, everything that is agile and dynamic, so to say is what the low code platform technologies are capable of solving. And I believe that’s a very critical aspect in this evolving nature, because, by definition, they’re all evolving and it’s a journey essentially. So this kind of delivers that promise of it being fit for innovation and agility as the enterprise is required. I can’t underline more in terms of how important it would be in the given context of transformations.
Hemant Makhija: Absolutely. That, not only is a huge differentiation for the business, how agile as an insurance company you are, and are you able to adapt to the changing needs of the business, whether it is internal or external, that’s very well put, Arun.
I have one more question for the panel here. As for the research data, COVID 19 had has supposedly accelerated the pace of digital transformation as much as by five years, but there are different statistics available. Would maybe, Alok, from your perspective as an insurance organization, would you like to share some unique initiatives adopted by your enterprise as to how you are responding to the changes?
Alok Rungta: Actually, took this as an opportunity and we saw this pandemic. So we had three prong strategy. We wanted to do something on the customer side because we could understand that the customers’ need for services and the products are going to be differentiated now. So the engagement philosophy has to be different with the customer, especially on a health business because it is pandemic. You are in between the pandemic so health becomes a focus. It has brought the health in the front fore of the customer’s mindset also.
So we had initiatives where, how can we provide digital information to the customers or provide medicine at-home service, teleconsulting. So the traditional services which were… And then we put more tools on a customer app for them to utilize. So we used the digital platform and brought it from a convenience point of view so the customer can have it all in one place. And you can [inaudible 00:45:47] orders or consume services. So that was one big area of work which we did. We have a standard app across Asia. We call it Emma. So we just announced that digital value there.
Second, we actually used the opportunity also knowing that health is going to the forefront, and with the help of our partners, we implemented the health system, which was remotely. That I think that’s a big win for both of us that how could we do a complete whole system offline, remotely. We just digitalize our backend processes so that our speed-to-market and servicing of customer claims become fast.
And, Ellen, I was just very excited when you said there are four pillars and the fourth one is API. We ended up actually implementing 1,000 APIs on that project, which tells you how integrated our systems are, not how digitalized the environment is. For a whole system, if we have to integrate with 1,000 APIs across the company, and that’s a challenge as well as success, challenge to have those APIs consumed and transferred between our solutions, partner solutions, third partner solutions, getting in one place, but that’s exciting as well. But that’s how the systems are doing. That’s how the ecosystems are.
And the third one, I think, which is very important from insurance, I was telling you that it is very important to keep our distributors engaged in the business. See, insurance in business, all our distributors, mostly the time agents are part-timers or they’re professional people. So they do have fixed salary. So if they lose interest and they’re off the hook, then they actually have a livelihood issue.
So we were also tackling how do we have this livelihood issue managed for them? So we introduce a answer called AVA. We call it as AVA, which acts our virtual assistance. We created a complete digital platform by which our distributor were able to reach our customers, electronically engaged, electronically sell our products, which generally requires a face to face interaction, get all the signatures digitally, solve all the queries, document it. Because under that, we’ve got the point of regulatory framework, compliances, how are we documenting the sale, how we’re reporting those sales.
And actually that was a big hit for us. And actually that helped us survive the pandemic because my distributors were able to sell. Obviously they were saving their livelihood and we were saving our business as well. But the fact is we could also bring those health services and products to the customer because we were able to reach our out. Or potential customer, I would say that.
So we had these three areas where we worked on, and I think the pace of those three areas really were hastened. Sometimes you are in a large organization, you have those ifs and buts and there are projects which are lying at the corner of someone’s office, someone is waiting to approve, someone is doing a genuine due diligence, which takes its own time. But what happened at this time was the pace at which we was acting, because we realized the importance of it. And we realized that this is the time to seize it rather than to sleep on it, if I can say that. And actually that help us a lot.
So digital, just in our thought process and gave that impetus to us that this is the time that we can differentiate ourself and make the difference. So I think that help us a lot.
Hemant Makhija: I absolutely love how you make it so tangible and simple in the way to explain that complex business that you mentioned earlier and how the three-pronged strategy is already helping AXA. I just want to see if… I know that, Ellen, you had a kind of a reaction to 1,000 APIs. Let’s see if you have anything to add to it before I go to Anurag for his comments on it.
Ellen Carney: Well, I love the fact that here, we’re using them to connect to business processes. And I think that was terrific to hear the breadth of focus that AXA is investing here.
And I think the other thing that both Anurag and Alok had talked about that I thought was really important is, when we think about growing revenue, we have to make sure that our partners, our partner experiences, are accounted for in our digital transformation strategy. So I was excited to hear that this is something that AXA is paying a great deal of attention to, because sadly, when we’ve done surveys here in 2021, about the role of the partner experience, it was the lowest of all. Customer experience first, employee experience second, and then, I got to say, that partner experience was a distant third. So kudos to AXA for investing in the distributors who we really count on to help us grow revenue.
Hemant Makhija: Absolutely. Anurag, would you like to have any comments on this particular topic?
Anurag Shah: Yeah, just a few. Just as a recap, much have been talked about it, but just as a recap, let’s see how the business scenario changed in last 18 months of COVID. Employees were asked to work remotely papers, were being avoided, customers wanted services equally from the comfort of their homes. And we talked about business needed to be nimble, online, virtual, all of these, and with the required security, with the required access of the information. So the enterprises were investing in those critical and cost effective solutions during these 18 months, during this COVID.
Probably business is never going to be as usual as it used to be. But if you see what all of these 18 months of work, what it has done to the industry, especially in the insurance industry, it has created the disconnection from process. It has connected those caused by three factors in this virtual world.
The first one is, I would say, lack of contextual engagement. I touched upon it earlier, having only omnichannel is not going to suffice. Generally, it is perceived that, if I’m omnichannel, I’m there. That is not really going to suffice. Most of the processes we see are lacking the context. Alok beautifully talked about those 1,000 APIs. That’s what makes connection.
Second, I would say information silos, those disjointed processes systems leading to those standalone functions. There are several numerous departments and roles in the insurance companies where employees and partners participate in. And when those are standalone, it includes friction in your customer engagement.
And third, I would say that those inordinate high IT dependency. We are seeing more and more demand of app development. And ultimately, in the years to come very shortly, this is going to show the entire IT bandwidth.
And if you look at how these three hurdles are required to be overcome, the first one, to contextualize the engagement, if you start providing those meaningful and relevant information to customers and your internal processing users, to your employees.
Embed the content. We talked about the goldmine, embed that goldmine into your process. And do not let security pass away. Include security into that. It is very, very important in such a regulated industry, especially.
Second, to bridge the silos. I would say, again, going back to those 1,000 APIs, building those connects between front end and back office, and improving those handoffs among various teams who are participating into the ultimate delivery to your customers. Mapping your customer journey becomes key. And when you are doing that, you do it with process automation and integration friendly unification.
And third, to mitigate that IT dependency, address those gaps that are widening between the application development demand and that limited IT capacity. So deploy a low code digital automation platform which will be used by your domain experts and your knowledge workers.
So that would be my brief touch upon what this pandemic and what has happened.
Hemant Makhija: Awesome. Awesome. See, with everyone, all the esteemed and experienced people from the industry have spoken. I’ll just like to just quickly summarize it in a very simple words, that every insurance company has three things that are common while every business is different. Priorities are different. Strategies are different. Execution is different. But you always, always have three things. You have processes, you have content that flows in and out of those processes, and you have communication that is going in and out of the organization.
In the center is your customer, employees, and partners ecosystem. We will not forget that for sure.
And you need agility. What’s your priority? What’s your business justification of doing which one first? Please plan it out.
But I guess the time has come. Meanwhile, while you were speaking, a lot of questions came in. So what I’m going to do is in interest of time. We’ll take those questions, come up with a blog, and share it with the attendees.
But thank you all, all the panelists for this valuable insight. Thank you for providing some guidance to our audience here, and I thank the audience as well for their time. So do reach out to us for queries or do follow us on social media. We are on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram nowadays.
So have a wonderful day guys and have a good one. Bye.
Alok Rungta: Thank you. Thank you for having us.