For many insurance companies, cloud offers a compelling value proposition, but great ideas often don't pass muster when they reach the business proposal stage. I recently heard from Erick Brethenoux, predictive analytics strategist for SPSS, an IBM company.
He points out that cloud computing is inevitable in this industry, representing “the next phase in the logical evolution in the delivery of IT services.” Brethenoux points to at least six good reasons why cloud should be considered in future business proposals:
1) Address ballooning labor costs: IT budgets are increasingly strained by the rising cost of personnel required to maintain and manage the data center.
2) Limit sky-high energy consumption: Analysts estimate that power and cooling costs for data centers have skyrocketed by 800% since 1996. “There appears to be no end in sight to this escalation,” Brethenoux notes.
3) Handle growing demands from users: Today’s on-demand society assumes nearly universal access to real-time data and analytics in a resilient, secure environment.
4) Smash chaotic data silos: Too often, today’s data center is a “haphazard collection of multiple hardware systems, operating systems and applications that have accumulated over time,” Brethenoux says. The reason these silos spring up is in response to demands of various internal business units and functions.
5) Manage exponential growth in data volume: The flood of data may be too much for on-premise systems to handle. “The proliferation of devices, compliance, improved systems performance, online commerce and increased replication to secondary or backup sites is contributing to the explosion of information now available,” Brethenoux says.
6) Leverage emerging business analytics: As organizations become smarter, they require a nimble IT environment that allows them to change business processes dynamically with predictive analytics and business intelligence to enhance decision-making.
A good place to start with cloud is contact or call centers, Brethenoux says.
“Think of the impact on a provider’s contact call center, especially during periods when customer interaction is at peak levels and the need to process demands far exceeds what internal IT resources can accommodate,” he explains. “Cloud computing eliminates this painful obstacle, and ensures the process flows seamlessly, and that customer satisfaction is never questioned. Agents have the ability to tap specific customer information so they can quickly make decisions that speed the processing of claims or determine the risk of a potential new customer.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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