There's a few things that have moved beyond the “notable” stage and need to be taken for granted in the year ahead. One is the gradual rise of cloud computing for some parts of insurance operations, another is leveraging big data, and another is the continuing embrace of mobile technologies to better communicate with customers, as well as enable more real-time interaction between employees or agents.
The year ahead will drive these computing styles deeper into insurance organizations, and it's no longer a question or “if,” or “when”—the questions need to be “how” and “what.”
Along these lines, Saugatuck technology analyst Mike West provides some great insights on what to expect in the year ahead:
Loosely-coupled business suites become the 'go-to' cloud solution. “The center of cloud solution buyer demand will continue to shift toward functional suites over best-of-breed solutions, especially with the increasing focus on core systems of record—but yesteryear’s single-vendor, monolithic architectures are a thing of the past.
Master data management re-emerges as mission-critical. “The explosive growth and interdependency of data in the cloud has increased the traditional need for disciplined data quality practices.”
Decline of on-premises SI and outsourcing (in favor of cloud). “Enterprises are moving extremely rapidly toward more cloud and hybrid on-premises+cloud IT and business environments.”
Cloud platforms, hubs and solutions will accelerate and proliferate rapidly within industry-specific/vertical markets. “Through 2017, industry-specific cloud platform 'beachheads' will help newer cloud vendors differentiate by better meeting the specific needs of targeted customer segments.” Expect to see more specialization for insurance industry clouds.
The rise of sensor data and the “internet of things” will flourish. “The emergent cloud/mobile/social/analytics-centric master architecture offers a new way of consuming, processing, and delivering the data that is generated by a wide variety of sensors.” The insurance industry is already seeing this through telematic devices in automobiles and geo-location technology for property management. This is where big data will be created, and its value increasingly realized.
Business workflows will drive social networking ROI. “The real value of enterprise social networks will not be realized until they become integrated with business workflows and enable workflow-based collaboration, facilitating decision-making and information-sharing in support of that.” Workflow, of course, is a huge part of the insurance industry, and the blending of social media into these workflows represents an exciting new frontier for insurance business processes.
Independent software vendors transitions to the cloud will accelerate. This is important for any insurance executive to consider, especially if there still is hesitancy to adopt cloud. West predicts that within the next couple of years, “more than 75 percent of traditional ISVs will have launched cloud-based versions of their core solutions, or in adjacencies.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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