Leveraging Enterprise Communications to Transform the Business
By firstname.lastname@example.org on Mar 05, 2010
How do you regard your customer and agent communications? The insurance carriers I speak with daily recognize that having an enterprise communications strategy is mission critical when it comes to maintaining and growing their business, especially given today's dynamic insurance and economic landscape. When asked about their current approach, however, they often note there is no single individual or group responsible for consistently creating and delivering compliant communications with prospective customers, insureds, partners, agents and other stakeholders throughout the insurance business lifecycle. Instead the responsibility lies with multiple groups, ranging from IT, marketing, and their various lines of business.
This lack of centralized, strategic thinking about communications results in multiple and inefficient ways to communicate, and leads to a siloed approach to technology. Point solutions abound in the typical insurance company; it is not uncommon to find more than 20 document automation systems spread across the enterprise, often doing very similar work. For example, a company's personal auto department may use one system to create identification cards, another to create policy pages, a third system to create bills, and still another to produce marketing and sales materials. Further complicating the picture, the company's individual life, group life and commercial property departments may also be running separate document automation systems.
The result of this scattered approach is higher IT costs and complexity, and greater difficulty in maintaining a consistent look and feel for communications produced across the organization. It can put your organization at a risk for compliance, and also can have a negative impact on your brand, reducing the effectiveness of marketing and sales campaigns.
In order to ensure that communications are a driver, rather than a drag, on new business, insurers should consider a more cohesive, enterprise-wide strategy towards managing customer and channel communications. In this effort, adaptive systems can provide the flexibility insurers need to adapt to any output type, channel or system.
Simply put, an adaptive system is one that provides the flexibility needed to handle any process the business requires. A well-designed adaptive system should enable an organization to make a process change or product change without requiring an intensive, expansive project. And, an adaptive system should make it easy to make a system-wide content change that can flow through multiple third-party communications vehicles.
Built upon a solid, reliable foundation with an open architecture to enable integration, interoperability with other systems, as well as a lower total cost of ownership, adaptive systems are based on three precepts. First, information--a single source of truth--must be accessible and easily shared between applications. Second is content extensibility--software models, including baseline industry content, that are flexible enough to incorporate on-the-fly changes and can be used as building blocks for new products or lines. Third is process flexibility--systems need to be built with the ability to support process change, because a business relationship that makes sense today may not tomorrow, due to changing regulatory, economic or global factors.
In the case of stakeholder communications, an adaptive system lets the business make changes rapidly and easily, so that it can support:
- All output types: Different types of document compositions, from paper to electronic, simple to complex, low touch to high touch
- All channels: Agents, brokers, varying customer demographics (e.g., Baby Boomers to the Millennials) and forms of multi-channel presentment and distribution (e.g. print, Web portals, SMS messaging for iPhones and other personal devices, etc.)
- All systems: Integrates with any type of system found within the insurance enterprise, whether legacy or modern, server-based or mainframe, from CRM to core insurance systems like policy administration, billing and claims to enterprise content management
Creating an enterprise communications strategy isn't just about producing attractive, multi-channel documents--it's about an integrated approach for communicating effectively with all stakeholders throughout the insurance business lifecycle. An adaptive CCM system bridges the gap between business processes, communications methodology, and the necessary customer touch points. It can empower you to make you company's vision a reality - so that you're not just distributing information, but delivering impactful communications that can truly transform your business.
If you're interested in reading more, please download my recent white paper, More than Just Talk: Leveraging Enterprise Communications to Transform the Business.
Helen Pitts is Senior Product Marketing Manager, Oracle Insurance.