Implementers are advising that mobile technology continues demonstrate two characteristics: First, its use is growing rapidly among business users, and second, the raw technology and the applications continue to evolve with equal speed. The message to insurance IT professionals: Stay flexible and nimble.
An informal survey of conference attendees, conducted by FirstBest Systems, Inc., and reported in Property Casualty 360, found that half of the carrier/MGU respondents already had a tablet device (usually an iPad) and virtually all respondents had a smartphone (some more than one).
In terms of preferences, 46% of the survey respondents indicated that while away from the office, the tablet was the preferred device, versus 23% who preferred a laptop.
Use of mobile devices was both proactive and defensive. Of the 85% who indicated they would benefit from mobile access, 75% felt that mobile devices would allow them to provide better and faster service to customers, and 87% indicated it would allow them to take care of work that would cause a build up on return to the office.
While mobile continues to penetrate, it is also evolving, and evolving rapidly. As reported in Insurance & Technology, Michael B. Yetter, director of eBusiness Development, Independence Blue Cross (IBC), speaking in the session “Mobile Game Changers,” at the 13th Annual Insurance & Technology Executive Summit advised: “You can’t just deploy your mobile platform and say, OK, we’re mobile, now we’re done.”
Yetter’s organization has developed mobile portal applications for its members (customers) to find doctors, verify referrals, compare prices of drugs, track spending accounts, view health history and apply for a temporary ID card. But this is only the beginning. Yetter sees applications which will involve ‘gamification’, which Yetter indicated was the application of game theory to products. “It embodies several concepts, including the idea that it’s a process, not just a product” Yetter said.
In regards to the competition among mobile devices and platforms, Yetter didn’t see a single standard arriving any time soon, and advised IT colleagues: “You’ll have to develop [applications] based on customer need, and meet the platform where the customer happens to be”.
I guess we’ll have to use mobile location applications to find out where the customer happens to be.