Changing the Paradigm of Insurance Customer Communications Management

Is there a better way to effectively meet today’s customer communication expectations and achieve ROI than struggling to implement the latest software package?

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Insurance enterprises are at an inevitable crossroad. In an attempt to stay abreast of changing expectations with customer communications, many companies have tried to expand their communication infrastructure by purchasing a software tool that allows for the personalization and multichannel delivery options they need. If an IT department doesn’t have the resources—or the needed technical skills—to keep up as these solutions continue to evolve, a company can easily fall behind in achieving its strategic communication goals. Add to that a shift in priorities with the focus now on how well a document engages the customer. Is there a better way to effectively meet today’s customer communication expectations and lead to the ROI and value insurance organizations desire?

Proliferation of Point Solutions

Historically, enterprises have looked to software providers to meet their customer communications management (CCM) requirements and providers have responded with feature-rich document composition software. Over the years, however, customer communication requirements have evolved. Subsequently, new offerings have emerged while others have fallen by the wayside. As a result, insurers have invested in a proliferation of point solutions to fill gaps and address changing needs. And still, they continue to struggle to achieve their strategic customer communication goals.

Every insurance company in this situation typically faces two sets of challenges. The first is a CCM challenge brought about by the fact that many organizations have multiple core processing systems that are good at churning data, but have limited capabilities in document creation.  Documents generated by these core systems are typically less than eloquent.  Many organizations also have multiple document composition tools, document archives and content repositories across the organization.  With multiple CCM components comes multiple and disparate workflows that make managing the CCM infrastructure a technological challenge.  This is further exacerbated by pressures to remain compliant with strict regulations while meeting customer expectations in a digital world.

The second challenge is an internal one. Internal IT departments typically operate as a cost center and are subject to internal budget cycles. Although additional future project phases are always in the plans, they don’t always happen. Budget approval decisions are typically not made based on pushing the envelope in CCM technology or even meeting customer requirements, but on other organizational priorities. This can leave an insurer with partially-built CCM technology infrastructures that are unable to support the creation and delivery of robust customer communications.

Disjointed CCM Infrastructure

So how have many insurance organizations responded to these challenges? Unfortunately, all too often, the response has been to buy another software tool in an attempt to find the one that will fill a perceived gap from previous investments. As a result, internal IT departments face the burden of integrating numerous tools into an already disjointed CCM infrastructure.

Because of this, many internal IT departments no longer desire to build and maintain control over a CCM technology empire, especially since changes in technology are rapid and would require further capital investment to attempt to remain current.  As a result, IT is questioning whether there may a better alternative.  There is.

CCM Hosted Managed Services

Recently, Madison Advisors published a report that studied a delivery model that answers this question. CCM Hosted Managed Services: Changing the Paradigm in Customer Communications Management identifies the emergence of a new category of delivery services called CCM Hosted Managed Services (HMS).  CCM HMS is a set of managed services in which software, specifically CCM software, is just one part of the offering and overall value being delivered. CCM HMS offers a single-sourced, integrated technology platform that incorporates all the essential elements of CCM necessary for end-to-end communications workflow automation, management and governance.  It enables an easy-to use web-user interface that puts control of variable content into the hands of business users and eliminates the cost and lead-time associated with heavy IT involvement.

The report discusses the genesis of CCM Hosted Managed Services and provides an overview of three industry leaders whose solutions have evolved in response to dynamic changes in the industry. These CCM HMS providers offer complex technical capabilities that are simplified and exposed to business users in the form of a browser-based user interface that eliminates the need for IT resources for document creation or changes. The solutions also include a production dashboard portal that provides tracking and reporting capabilities which have become increasingly important to support audit and regulatory requirements.

Insurers should not remain frozen in their tracks waiting to see what happens with this new service delivery model. In doing so, they risk watching their competitors pass them by. There is hard evidence of continued growth for CCM HMS in the coming years as companies see the value in turning what has typically been thought of as a strategic threat into a competitive advantage.

Gina Ferrara // Gina Ferrara is senior analyst at Madison Advisors, an independent analyst firm which specializes in offering Fortune 1000 companies context-specific guidance for a range of content delivery strategies, particularly those addressing enterprise output technologies and customer communications. Ferrara brings more than 19 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry to Madison Advisors’ staff of industry experts. 

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