Michael Costonis, executive director of Accenture’s Insurance practice for North America, just released the consultancy's annual “Technology Vision” overview of what's making the greatest impact on the insurance industry.
The report discusses powerful new technology initiatives such as context-based services—which includes vehicle telematics—and social media as the key drivers of competitive advantage.
In this post, we'll focus on the intertwined initiatives—data and cloud—that are driving this forward. Take “Big Data,” for example—those terabytes and petabytes worth of information streaming into the enterprise from transactional systems, the Web, customers and devices. “The ability to process ever larger amounts of data in multiple forms will be a signature technology breakthrough for insurance companies that successfully generate real-time customer insight and accelerate claims processing,” the report states. Fraud prevention by tracking data patterns is something already employed at many insurance companies. The same technology can also be instrumental in identifying high-value customers. In another example cited in the report, remote sensing data such as satellite images can be used to help it improve real estate risk assessment.
Related to Big Data is data services—also an area that will provide potential competitive advantage to insurance companies, the report states. Currently, a lot of the data that can be employed in new initiatives such as vehicle telematics and customer analysis is locked away in silos across many insurance organizations. Accenture urges insurers to look at it as a “data supply chain,” which can bring in data from across the organization and offer it in a consistent, service-oriented fashion to end users.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is still an under-recognized opportunity within the insurance industry. Which is unfortunate, Accenture says, because this tier of cloud computing for middleware and capacity on demand services offers insurance companies the ability to act and react more quickly to market opportunities. “PaaS will also encourage business innovation by providing a level of agility that lowers innovation barriers and overcomes longtime IT challenges such as rigid application development, provisioning, and deployment.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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