If you want to know if your investment in IT is making the best impact on your brokerage; here’s our step-by-step checklist to see if you’re really getting the most from your digital investments.
1. Is IT automatically involved in marketing ideas?
It may seem a bit strange but if marketing decides that a new iPad application is the way to get through to your audience; will they automatically involve your IT team in the process. If not, why not? Understanding why internal customers aren’t involving your team can enable you to address any problems you have in the digital space long before they affect external customers.
2. Does your data lead to decisions?
When IT was a younger discipline space was at a premium. Today’s broker can collect as much data as they can lay their hands on but does it lead to better decision making? If not, you may be collecting the wrong data or failing to report on that data properly. If you’re investing in data collection it has to be worth something.
3. Is your sales technology up to date?
It can be so easy to neglect the salesforce when more exciting tools for risk and compliance management are available. However, salesforces that aren’t supported by the latest technology start to fall behind. Tiresome data collection exercises that could and should be automated lead to frustrated customers, for example.
4. Can your IT infrastructure handle major business growth?
If the answer is no it might be time to look at cloud storage for your business. If your sales and marketing efforts suddenly pay big dividends and you can’t accommodate that growth; your IT investment is going to prove mighty poor. Scalability no longer has to cost a fortune or come from your own hardware.
5. Are you adopting new technology quickly or waiting to see it reach maturity?
Technology can and should drive insurance business much harder than it currently does in many cases. You ought to have you ears to the ground for exciting new breakthroughs and be looking to adopt them earlier than your competitors. Play-it-safe is not a good strategy in a highly competitive sector, you need to create advantages ahead of the curve.
6. Are you innovating in-house? If so, could you monetize your innovations?
If you have a development team working for the brokerage you might want to think about commercializing their IP. You put money into development and while it may benefit your business there may be additional revenue opportunities in helping other brokers (indirect competition only of course) too.
7. Could you innovate your way out of a serious commercial threat?
What if a major software vendor such as Microsoft or major Internet player like Facebook decided they were going to operate in your space? Are you nimble enough on your technological feet to survive the David vs. Goliath battle that would bring? It may seem unlikely but a bit of “blue sky” thinking around worst case scenarios can save a lot of pain if a major challenge comes out of left field.
8. Have you focused on mobile security?
The PC is dying, long live the smartphone! Mobile is where business is going to be for at least the next decade or more. If your insurance brokerage’s IT strategy hasn’t started to adapt to the rigorous demands of mobile platforms – it needs to start now. The business advantages of these platforms can be (and almost certainly in some cases – will be) offset by data compromises. Make sure your brokerage isn’t on the receiving end of security lapses before disaster strikes and invest in mobile security.