Guest Blog by Martin Gallagher, Solution Sales Specialist, Ciber UK Insurance organisations across the globe are facing a major challenge as the speed of digital change increases to a point that standing still means being left behind in this highly competitive industry. Ciber presented their vision of the Digital Insurer of the Future and how insurance organisations can face this daunting challenge at the “Digital Transformation in Insurance” event in London in May 2016. Following the presentation Ciber partnered with Microsoft hosted a roundtable consisting of a number of delegates representing both the business and IT functions within some of the UK’s major Insurance organisations. The roundtable provide valuable insights and learning into how this sector are facing this challenge. The roundtable opened with a discussion on the driving forces behind a digital transformation and there were three very clear messages: GWP, insurance organisations have to find new ways of interacting with their customers if they are going to maintain and increase their gross written premiums. Finding new ways to engage through omni-channel marketing or customer portals that tailor the message to the customer. Better conversations with customers, the customer is more informed in this digital age and expects the supplier to be equally informed not just about the products and services they sell but how they align to the needs and circumstances of the customer. Providing relationship managers with a consolidated single view of the customer or prospect will certainly lead to better customer engagement. The Amazon effect, few would doubt the success of Amazon as a retail organisation but their approach has impacted on the expectations of the customer who now insists on a more personalised experience from first engagement to completing the transaction. The opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell is fundamental to this approach. Recent surveys indicate that customers are potentially two thirds of the way through the sales cycle before they engage with an individual at a supplier. Potential customers can now evaluate the products and services available to them at a pace that suits them with information specific to their needs. Insurance organisations that embrace this digital transformation have demonstrated a competitive edge. This transformation is not without its challenges and many of these will be related to the size and complexity of the organisation. Many insurance companies have grown through acquisition and failed integration projects have resulted in silo’d solutions across the business, and the perception that things have been made worse or the project is too big to manage or too risky. One of the key aims for many insurance companies is the desire to achieve “A Single View of the Customer” which certainly bring major benefits including a view into upsell and cross-sell opportunities. There are many who believe this is impossible due to the legacy and solo’d solutions. The next challenge that insurance organisations face is related to the processes involved in the sales cycle as wells as the customer service. These processes are often lengthy and very complex and have to deal with the issues of legacy systems. As a result employees often develop their own processes to cope with the complexity of working with the legacy systems. These processes can often involve a large number of people within the business which itself can introduce challenges. It is important to recognise that the digital transformation is not just about the systems and processes but the people element has to be considered. The employees need to have a willingness to change and any new solutions must demonstrate improvements and benefits to everyone involved. Insurance companies have to move to the digital age if they are to remain competitive and successful. However, how they achieve this transformation is key. Some are looking to modernise their existing systems, others to introduce new systems, the majority are looking to a hybrid. This allows them to maintain their investment in their legacy systems through modernisation and introduce new technology to support the new customer engagement processes with single view, mobile working and better analytics. The hybrid solution also offers a less risk, faster deployment and more cost effective solution. Ciber has demonstrated over the past ten years that digital transformation is possible within the insurance space with a well-defined and structured approach. Introducing new cost effective solutions, such as Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Office 365 and Power BI as the new user interface. Using these new technologies as a first phase allows for the creation of a single customer view and more streamlined sales and customer service processes. The modernisation of the legacy systems can then follow as future phases. Click here to watch a short video of some customer success stories where Dynamics CRM has provided a single customer view driving sales productivity and increasing GWP across multiple channels.