06/25/19

Why You Should Put Your People and Process Before Technology Implementation

By: Chris Dickinson, Senior Principal

How many times have insurance and financial services companies, eager to jump on the latest automation bandwagon, bought (literally) into a technology solution only to be disappointed in the results? We call it “shiny object syndrome”, and it happens all the time.

A Standish Group survey found that more than 70% of new technology initiatives were challenged or failed to live up to their investment.

So where are they going wrong? Automation is a powerful tool — but only when aligned with business strategy and core process needs. Tackling process automation requires a comprehensive approach. It cannot be just a ‘side project.’ It requires rethinking processes and how people will interact with customers, agents, and data.

In other words, automation technologies must be considered in the context of business and people before they are decided on.

These five steps can help insurance and financial services providers take the necessary approach in choosing automation technology — when and if it makes sense for the company.

1. Identify the goals.

Before launching into any large-scale technology or process automation effort, organizations must determine exactly what they’re trying to achieve, before choosing the solution. It’s key to establish the organizational relevance at the beginning of an initiative to build and maintain buy-in at all stakeholder levels.

2. Assess the current state.

The next step is to understand the current state, including its strengths and pain points. Depending on the level of detail appropriate for the goals, companies may conduct interviews with leaders, observe workers, distribute surveys, assemble working groups to validate findings or develop current-state process maps. No matter the approach, the key is to solicit input from people who know the process. Their involvement ensures companies develop an accurate and true picture of the core processes.

3. Design the future state

The optimal approach to designing the future state, while also jump-starting change management, is a tightly facilitated cross-functional workshop. With efficiency and efficacy in mind, NEOS created an agile-inspired approach to business process redesign called FutureWeek℠. Throughout several weeks, teams collaborate, working in sprints to examine and redesign core processes to include automation when appropriate.

4. Choose automation technology

Goals defined, the current state considered, the future state designed — now it is time to choose automation technologies. When selecting, companies must decide which technologies suit which needs, as well as whether they must buy an entirely new system or — even better — can leverage technologies they already own.

5. Plan implementation

Automating processes impacts people. Thoroughly considering how, and what to do about it, will ensure a smooth transition and preserve the culture of an organization.

In addition to lining up action items around major milestones like sales meetings, distributor events, and product filling dates, the implementation strategy must include a change management plan that ensures adequate sponsorship, clear communication, and engagement of the teams responsible for executing the future-state process.

The question insurance and financial services companies should ask themselves is not whether or not to automate, but how they can best deploy technology to create the most reliable business process possible. The organization must fully understand what they need technology to do for them before making what can amount to a multi-million dollar investment.

Are you interested in learning more about the value of process automation? Download our whitepaper.

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