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New Technologies - Same Old Systems

01 August 2016

I'm wondering about the opportunities that get left on the table when new technologies are adopted.

Do you have a PC at home? A tablet? A smartphone? Do you find yourself buying the latest new thing just because it is the latest? What about operating systems and software? Have you adopted the latest upgrades? Do you do what most people do - figure out how to do the stuff you were doing already and leave the rest for later? Did you have anything more than a vague idea of what the technology could do for you before you acquired it?

Arguably, this approach or something like it works for most of us as individuals - adopt new technology and then figure out what to do with it. But what about in the workplace?

Right at the moment, the evolution of technology offers the greatest opportunity to players in the insurance market. There are players in other markets who have grabbed this opportunity with both hands. But, for insurance, is it a lost opportunity? There are so many tales of failed projects and subsequent inertia, how can anyone feel confident that we are on the way to a brighter future? Overlay that with the uncertain political landscape and there is a real danger of stagnation.

The positive news is that the opportunity has not gone away. Insurers just need the courage to embrace the chance to move the market forward. The only way that we will see change is to encourage fresh thinking. Insurers have the skills, they know the market... all they need is to apply their vision to the right technologies. Those that grasp this opportunity will stand out from the crowd.

Recognising and grasping the opportunity needs true innovative thinking, though. Too often new technology is used to duplicate products and processes that already exist, maybe a bit faster and slightly more efficient, but essentially the same old systems. We can cite numerous examples of prospective clients wanting a technology demonstration that shows them a replica of the screens and processes they already use, but on updated technology. No problem to deliver... but a huge disappointment in terms of lost opportunity. The right tools can easily replicate old restrictive processes, but they also enable insurers to throw away the dusty product and process manuals and start again. Keep the best by all means, but that is by no means everything.

The process starts with understanding what you really want to do:

If you can understand and describe your vision then you can embrace the opportunity that technology offers. The process really is that simple, even if identifying the detail is not. Define what you really want to do and then make sure that the technology will fit. Do not choose the technology first, hoping it will meet your requirements, because that route may lead to compromise and lost opportunity.

We believe that, ultimately, the best technology is simply an enabler. The real creativity lies with the people who understand what their market needs and can articulate a vision. Technology enables you to realise your vision and grasp the opportunities on offer. Why use new technology to create the same old system?

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