Lately, there's been a sea change across the business landscape. The many initiatives that have been taking place within organizations for years — data analytics, service orientation and social media — are actually coming together.

However, insurance companies don't become digital enterprises overnight through some sort of osmosis. Rather, it takes a leader, or at least evangelist, to bring all the various digital business initiatives together into a single enterprise effort.

In a new report, Capgemini identifies some of the requirements for making the transition to digital. There are 14 actions an insurer needs to take to become what can truly be considered a digital insurer:

1) Price competitively: It almost should go without saying. But unlike traditional operations, pricing rises and falls in real time. The digital insurer, Capgemini states, “continually refines and updates its rating models in real time,” and incorporates customer lifetime value into its product sets.

2) Connect elegantly: Social media plays a key role here. “Create a relevant and personal dialogue with individual customers and markets, across communication and distribution channels, to learn more about them and hence improve conversions.”

3) Engage regularly: This is all about content. Capgemini calls for providing “high quality, rich and inspirational content” to better reach customers. The key is to “manage digital content as a corporate asset,” the report adds.

4) Deliver perfectly: This may seem like a tall order, but it's what digital customers expect every time. Remember, the competition is only a click away.

5) Measure relentlessly: Monitor and optimize performance across all channels, Capgemini advises.

6) See completely: It's about having customer data all in one place, accessible to decision makers and systems that need it. This would include all interactions across all channels, including “web chat, click-to-call, social media and research feedback.”

Enabling capabilities:

7) Transform effectively: Here's where the fundamentals of business 101 kick in, such as knowing the customer, developing the vision, framing the proposition, planning the business model, outlining the roadmap and making the business case.

8) Governance: The digital insurer should have an executive in charge of its digital initiative, and has a detailed roadmap in place that covers projects, development, integration and architecture.

9) Employee skills: Here's where the rubber meets the road. To go digital, skills are needed in such key areas as pricing, rating, marketing and fraud analytics, Capgemini states.

10) Employee engagement: The move to digital encompasses the entire organization, and every employee needs to play a role. This needs to start at the top, with senior executives on board and articulating a strong vision, says Capgemini.

11) Employee enablement: Here's where insurers need to make sure their employees have the right tools to move forward with digital. Capgemini advises that at least 90 percent of employees have mobile capabilities, including smartphones and tablets.

12) Ways of working: The best environment for a digital enterprise is a team-oriented, non-hierarchical organization.

13) Technology: A technology architecture is important. In addition, a digital insurer should be willing to spend up to 10 percent of its IT budget on innovation, research and development, and experimentation.

14) Data and analytics: Digital insurers need to be ready to work with both internal and external data sets, with both structured and unstructured data. Advanced analytics skills are critical as well.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

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