Moving to a new home might be exciting, but it’s also a big hassle. It’s not just the packing and unpacking, cleaning and prepping that is exhausting. Letting all your friends and family know you’ve moved – not to mention the task of updating your address and contact information for everything from your medical providers and prescriptions, to magazine subscriptions and cable accounts – can be incredibly time consuming, complicated, and a big headache. So when my wife and I recently decided to take the big step of selling our house and moving to a new home in a new city, I was not looking forward to what I assumed would be hours of aggravation and tedium.
Imagine my delight when I discovered how much things have changed from the last time I moved house. In the past, handling an address change required a postcard or letter (and usually a follow-up phone call), but this time I was able do it all with a click or swipe on my iPhone – all with a little help from the US Postal Service’s online change-of-address function1.
The whole experience couldn’t have been smoother – except for one holdout from digital convenience: insurance companies. Unlike banks, airlines, and utility providers, my insurance carriers required me to do things the old-fashioned way – I had to telephone them in order to update my policies. There was no easy, digital way to accomplish this task. When even the post office seems to be more advanced and digitally oriented than the insurance industry, you know there’s a problem!
It’s not just that insurance has always been a risk-averse industry. Many insurers are aware they compare unfavorably to businesses that regularly handle customer interactions in a real-time, digital, frictionless manner. But traditional approaches to legacy modernization in insurance have not produced many successes, causing many insurers to decide that there’s less risk in the status quo. Other modernization efforts failed because insurers didn’t have access to the right tools or partner experience.
The persistence of this legacy process is just one sign of a bigger issue for the insurance industry: its struggles to reduce complexity. Reducing complexity is essential to consistently provide an excellent customer or employee experience – not just in insurance, but in any industry. Insurance clients have to battle legacy systems, cumbersome processes related to how they work and what it takes to maintain them, and the fact that they limit the enterprise’s ability to leverage customer and risk analytics.
This continues to be a huge impediment to the operational and systems simplicity that lets organizations engage their customers with agility, speed, and the ability to personalize products and services. It’s not just that the legacy systems are old and limited – their proliferation is part of the problem. Business processes become complex because there are too many underlying legacy IT systems doing the same function. Also, these systems are often interlinked, adding to the complexity.
To overcome these obstacles to customer-centricity, insurers and other financial services providers need modern infrastructure – digital platforms that extend products and services in new ways, powered by an integrated digital core. TCS is already partnering with life insurance and pension firms in the UK and US to allow them to simplify and shift resources and employees to multi-channel customer engagement and growth, at the same time improving speed-to-market while the cost of servicing the business goes down.
This platform-as-a-service approach is enabling one company to convert 450 applications to six that are running on a component-based architecture. All the policyholder information now resides in one place, instead of 50 different warehouses. This digital transformation helps businesses achieve excellence in customer experience. It provides a path to simplicity that companies can follow to gain agility and insight, and ultimately to get closer to their customers.
Just think – not only will notifying an insurer of a change of address no longer be the most laborious aspect of moving to a new home, but customers could actually welcome interactions with companies that are able to provide personalized products and real-time services. Is your organization going to be part of this new wave, or will complexity keep you from moving forward?