Last week, I explored some of the issues insurance companies face with implementing business process management (BPM) solutions. Of course, for many companies, the question is, where to begin? I recently put this question to Rajesh Desingu, VP of WNS Global Services, a provider of business process outsourcing services to the industry.
Desingu, whose company is on the cutting edge of BPM matters, observes that the insurance industry has unique challenges that set it apart from other industries, but this shouldn’t slow down or deter efforts to apply BPM across the board.
“Insurance companies have been late adopters of BPM but they are quickly catching up,” he says. “The challenge for insurance companies is that they have disparate systems for each function unlike manufacturing and retail that have ERP systems. Also, due to mergers and acquisitions, systems were not consolidated because of product differences, further complicating the ability to build workflow across these multiple systems.”
Desingu also drives home the point that BPM is not a technology matter—it’s a business management initiative.
“It’s critical to get processes streamlined across lines of business, products and functions,” he states. “Technology is only an enabler—the real catalyst is the ability to articulate the business benefits such as launching new products, servicing customers faster and achieving cost savings.”
Desingu provides some pointers for insurance companies seeking to better leverage their BPM efforts:
Streamline: “Streamline business processes across lines of business, products and functions,” he says. “BPM initiatives should be led by business, and not technology executives.”
Establish ROI: “Clearly define the business benefit and cost saving, such as cycle-time reduction, turnaround time and productivity increases,” he advises.
Start from the outside: “Start with customer or agent-facing functions as it is easier to quantify results and get external validation,” Desingu says. “To deliver immediate results, the best place to start implementing BPM is in agent systems, as that can provide instant feedback, and becomes a catalyst for implementation across the board.” The benefits that can be seen fairly quickly, he adds, are the promotion of “self-service and automation without human intervention, leading to better customer service and a reduction in cost of operations for insurance companies.”
While BPM efforts should start incrementally in external venues, the goal is to apply BPM practices across all functions. Ultimately, Desingu adds, insurance companies can benefit from BPM across all of their business processes.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.
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