3 insurance experts share 5 pieces of digital transformation advice

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likens his customers to guests at a party.

“It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better,” he said.

This philosophy translates to every industry, including insurance — and especially property and casualty (P&C). Session speakers and conference attendees on the floor made that unmistakably clear in conversations at Connections 2019.

The trick, though, is getting the party ready for your guests. That roughly translates into a successful journey out of the status quo and into a digitally automated world.

For three insurance industry leaders — Heather Cottings, enterprise software program manager at SAIF; Tyler Hunter, manager claims analytics at Mercury Insurance; and Phillip Williams, business application delivery manager at Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) — that meant moving away from paper processes and creating platform ecosystems through thoughtful insurance software solutions implementations.

“We wanted to create a better experience for our customers and achieve operational excellence,” said Williams.

5 ways to achieve digital transformation success

digital transformation

During the conference, Cottings, Hunter, and Williams took part in “Preparing for the Digital Future with Hyland, SAIF, Mercury, and Kentucky Farm Bureau,” a panel session hosted by Hyland.

All three speakers offered advice for fellow insurance industry attendees beginning their digital transformation journeys:

1. Seek out peers who have already completed their journeys

“Find people who have implemented the same solutions you are implementing,” said Williams.

The KFB team reached out to peers at New Jersey Manufacturing.

“We weren’t sure what it was like to go paperless, so we asked a lot of questions,” said Williams. Questions like, “What number of doc types and sub-doc types should we create? How do you retrieve those documents? How do you store those documents?”

It is fine to go it alone, too, said Williams, but added that the KFB team found it incredibly valuable to find both a peer group with a similar infrastructure and a vendor who could help them along on their digital transformation journey.

2. Balance customization and existing business processes

This is important, said Williams, because going too far either way – customizing the product or bending your business process to fit product parameters – can make future upgrades challenging.

“This is just something you have to learn to balance,” he said.

3. Scope down your project – and then scope it down again

Approaching implementation through the eyes of a project manager, Cottings’ advice to attendees was to scope a small implementation.

“As small as you possibly can,” she said. “That helps with change management and helps the team get a win.”

Because projects of this type can be long and challenging, Cottings said they can quickly exhaust team members. If you look at the entire project, it can seem a bit overwhelming, especially with robust solutions like Guidewire and OnBase. It’s common for team members to wonder where to start and what to implement first.

Finding a win for the team and the company early on – and then again throughout the project – provides the team with renewed energy and focus. That’s why the Ready for Guidewire Accelerators for Guidewire InsuranceSuiteTM are so important. These pre-built, tested, and certified integrations allow for easily accessible information and simplified claims, underwriting, and billing processes.

“This journey is a marathon,” said Hunter. “The hard part, if you think about a marathon, is getting to the finish line. In your digital journey, every mile marker you hit is a win.”

4. Get something out with as little scope as possible

“If you ask end users what they need,” said Hunter, “they’ll tell you they need everything in their existing system.”

That’s not the case.

“Get something out with as little scope as you can, and let users try that for a while. Then you’ll discover what you really need,” said Hunter.

5. Make sure support is from the top down

Remember that the project, even if it starts small in one department, affects the entire company. So having buy-in from stakeholders before the project begins is key.

“We were fortunate that everyone, from the board of directors down, were supportive,” said Cottings. “We always felt that support, and it energized the team.”

Keep your energy up

These days, marathons have parties with music and cheering fans at strategic points in the race to keep runners energized. And just like running, when you’re transforming a business, keeping your energy up makes all the difference.

Ready to learn more about how you can begin – or recharge – your digital transformation journey?

Cara McFarlane is Hyland’s sales enablement solution marketing manager. Her mission is to effectively position Hyland as the leading content services platform within financial services, insurance, government, higher education, and emerging markets by sharing best practices that accelerate organization’s digital strategy across their enterprise. Cara leverages her 19 years’ experience in the content and process automation software industry to help lead Hyland’s market vision and roadmap. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane

Cara McFarlane is Hyland’s sales enablement solution marketing manager. Her mission is to effectively position Hyland as the leading content services platform within financial services, insurance, government, higher education, and... read more about: Cara McFarlane