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Six major tech trends will shape the future of insurance

Naoyuki Shibata | May 22, 2014
Accenture outlines the trends insurers need to embrace if they want to stay ahead of the competition

Trend 3:  Data Supply Chain

To unlock the value of their data, insurers must start treating data more as a supply chain, enabling it to be accessed and then to flow easily and usefully through the entire organization.  Eventually, the data should flow to the insurer's ecosystem of partners, as well.

Many insurers are implementing the newest big-data tools, investing in advanced analytics applications, and purchasing the latest data visualization software.  Yet few insurance companies have mastered the concepts at the foundation of modern data management - the mobility and portability of data, its structure and velocity, and data as a "saleable" product to be monetised. High-performing insurers will liberate their data, generate value from it, and operationalise insights to improve strategic decision-making throughout the organization.  To do this, they will manage their data, like any other core product, in the context of a supply chain. 

Trend 4:  Harnessing Hyperscale

After more than a decade of innovation in software, the hardware world is now a hotbed of new development.  Demand for bigger, faster and more efficient data centres is soaring, and companies are seeing the benefits of "hyperscale" on their data centres, particularly in the form of cost reduction.

Wearable computers, onboard computers in automobiles, sensors in homes and factories, and other edge devices are multiplying at an unprecedented rate in consumer and enterprise markets alike.  Data generated by such devices - in addition to data generated from social media, from third parties such as credit information providers, and from insurers' own digital channels and contact centers - threatens to swamp insurers' legacy IT systems. 

The systems insurers will require to store and analyze this data at speed will need to be sized at a scale that was unimaginable just a few years ago.  This is the world of hyperscale computing, with super-sized, super-scalable, and highly resilient systems designed to crunch through vast volumes, variety, and velocity of data at great speed and with great efficiency.   Insurers striving to deliver connected services to always-on customers will need to think about how to tap into flexible computing power to meet the needs of their business at the lowest possible cost.  During the next five years, every large IT department will face the choice between leveraging external clouds or building big-data oriented computing infrastructure in-house. 

Trend 5:  Business of Applications

Reflecting the shift in the consumer world, enterprises are moving rapidly from applications to apps.  As organizations seek greater operational agility, there is a major shift toward simpler, more modular and analytics-enabled apps. 

Insurers once relied up on big, monolithic systems to run their businesses, but they have turned increasingly towards componentised applications for CRM, agency, claims, agency, rating and policy administration.  These are typically extremely agile, highly configurable and able to run on commodity hardware.  Upgrading a claims or policy platform was once a multi-million dollar project that could take two years or more, but today such a project can be broken into smaller chunks so that value can be delivered in milestones measured in weeks or months, rather than years. 

 

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