Governing and designing digital initiatives in insurance

I recently led a panel discussion on “Governing and Designing Digital Initiatives.” That assignment gave me an opportunity to think about what governance and design mean in a digital context.

Digital Governance
There are three domains in digital governance: Setting standards, allocating resources, and monitoring.

  • Setting standards: Brand (compatibility with corporate brand, user experience, etc.); technical (e.g. security, availability, on-prem vs. cloud, mandated digital solutions); and financial (such as ROI, total cost of ownership).
  • Allocating resources: Dividing available financial and human resources among competing projects.
  • Monitoring: During the build phase (typically via communication from a project or program management office); and during the post-implementation live phase (increasingly comparing the initial business plan’s hard and soft metrics against actuals).
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Colored wires connect a computer server at the CeBIT 2017 tech fair in Hannover, Germany, on Monday, March 20, 2017. Leading edge technologies in the digital world are showcased in this annual event which runs March 20 - 24. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Digital Design
There are also three design domains: Conceptualizing, building a business case, and creating an execution plan.

  • Developing a concept (i.e. the what and the how): Specifying the idea, for example, a radically better front-end and customer experience, or a no-touch claims experience (such as hypothesized in my 2017 blog Why Not a Bot? Adjuster Bots for Connected Cars
  • Building a business case: Starting with the value propositions for the prospect and policyholder, and/or the intermediary and/or the insurer itself; continuing to the level of detail specified in the governance process.
  • Creating an execution plan: Including enough detail to support the cost and time elements of the business case; while recognizing the organizational complexities of marshalling and utilizing required resources.

Digital Governance and Design vs. Incumbent Governance and Design
There are certainly dimensions of each domain that is more “digitally flavored.” For example, standards will put more emphasis on brand and experience. The level of requested and allocated resources for digital initiatives will often be noticeably lower than for incumbent technology initiatives. And digital execution plans will often feature speed, agility, and minimal viable products (or experience).

That said, one of the best things about becoming (more) digital, is that successful digital initiatives can nudge an entire insurance organization towards speed and greater responsiveness.

This blog entry has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

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