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Insurers key to digitization: a rapid path through bimodal IT

on March 19, 2015

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In my previous post, I discussed why insurers can no longer ignore the many signs of digitization along with the three priorities that are critical to digitizing the insurance landscape. And while some innovative teams have found ways to launch new apps, many are still struggling with their digitization efforts. In fact, only 7% of insurance services are currently provided through digital channels.

Upon further review, the main culprit is misalignment between business and IT teams. Currently, demand from commercial teams far exceeds IT’s capacity to deliver new applications, making it close to impossible for insurers to succeed. In fact, 71% of IT departments are failing to deliver new digital functionality at the rate the business demands. Instead of focusing on projects of innovation, IT teams are bogged down by maintenance.

Clearly, traditional IT practices are not helping progress insurance initiatives. Today, most insurance IT teams rely on custom built solutions and pre-packaged applications that fit a standard business function. Both are costly forms of application delivery and can take years to implement. And during this waiting period, much could change for an insurer. For example, you could fail to capture market opportunities, see a decline in customer and broker satisfaction, and witness a deterioration in operational processes.

It’s time to rethink your approach to digitization. You need a more rapid path to innovation, from the process for selecting projects, to the people who work on those projects, to the technology that those individuals leverage.

Related: 3 priorities that insurers can’t ignore

Gartner Research’s bimodal IT approach offers a framework for categorizing, prioritizing, and progressing application development projects. Ideal for IT teams managing a growing volume of requests from the business, a bimodal IT strategy provides a ‘fast lane’ that speeds app delivery for urgent, business-oriented projects, like digitization efforts.

A bimodal IT strategy recognizes that not all IT projects are created equal. A digitization project, for example, will look very different from a core system maintenance project. Take a look:

Digitization projects require a high degree of business involvement, have very short turnaround times, and necessitate frequent iterations to stay relevant as the market changes. These ‘rapid apps’ require rapid tools for development purposes.

Traditional projects relate to core system maintenance, stabilization, or efficiency. They require little involvement from the business, require highly specialized developers and traditional, waterfall development cycles.

Therefore, it’s not surprising to see the analyst firm recommending a new, rapid application development model for strategic business initiatives, like digitization efforts. By utilizing a rapid application development platform, you can deliver the apps needed to meet evolving market demands without sacrificing your other projects. Rapid application development supports fast and iterative development and can be used by a wider population of developers, including business analysts and systems analysts.

For insurers who need to keep up with changing consumer behavior and new digital competitive threats, rapid application development provides a ‘rapid path’ within a broader bimodal IT strategy. There are three main benefits that insurers can expect:

Collaboration between IT and Business ensures that each project stays on track and produces high-quality results. The right platform provides project management features, visual development tools, and end user feedback mechanisms so that more stakeholders can participate in development.

Support across the entire application lifecycle so that you can speed more than just design or development efforts. The right platform facilitates a more iterative, flexible process that allows organizations to adapt to changing requirements.

Accelerated time to value as your team achieves higher productivity and improved business collaboration. The right platform enables fast and iterative app delivery that makes testing and optimizing easy, so you get the results, and revenue, you need to compete.

graphic-insurance-ebookMake digital engagement a reality within your insurance group. Find out how your peers have already started on their own digital agenda and download this eBook: 3 Digitization Priorities That Insurers Can’t Ignore and How Rapid App Development Makes Them Possible.

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