- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Mobile: Is There An App for Core Sytems Replacement?

It is patently obvious that mobile technologies – including smartphones and tablets – are becoming increasingly useful tools.  As a result, a number of insurers have undertaken initiatives to extend selected functions – finding an agent/broker, getting a quote, reporting a claim to mobile devices.  What is less obvious is that mobile is entering the core of systems and business processes and could drive the capabilities of core systems (legacy and modern).  How do you see the Mobile trend evolving?

What Waiters Can Teach Us

While on holiday recently, Forrester analyst John Brand observed several uses of mobile technology  which, he wrote on his blog, “were clear examples of where mobility changes the economics of IT.”  One of Brand’s examples focused on  waiters using their own smart phones for order taking.

The use of wireless for order taking is not new. The use of personally owned devices is.  The result for the restaurant was improved economics. Brand writes:  “Previously, the expense incurred by restaurants having to purchase proprietary devices meant that only high margin operations could afford to use mobile order taking systems.”

What Brand does not say, but seems obvious to us, is that this benefits the wait staff as well.  Restaurant owners will bear the cost of developing the apps that will be used by the waiters, who will have the ability to move from one restaurant to another with ease, potentially taking non-proprietary information collected on their devices with them.

Mobile Factoids

Here’s some factoids to consider in assessing the impact of mobile:

  • Ipsos reports: “Among tablet users, one out of five (19%) say their tablet is their primary computer. Among those under 35, it’s nearly one out of every four (23%).”
  • Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft’s latest strategic direction was a response, in part, to “years of investor criticism as the rise of mobile devices and Internet services eroded the influence of the personal computer-era kingpin.”

As with most technologies, the real power comes in the ability to integrate functionality. Mobile not only supports, it’s utility increased geometrically with the level of integration that is available.  Some examples:

  • First On-Site Restoration achieved finalist status in the 2013 Technology Awards for its tablet based application allowing field project managers access to corporate resources to improve services and automatically track activities against KPIs.
  • State Farm achieved the same finalist position in the 2013 ICTAs  for offering its auto policyholders a mobile device which tracks driving characteristics to determine a driving score, meant to improve driving behaviour.  This clearly supports a potential transition to using the data for more that drivers’ eduction.
  • Crawford released mobile app connected to its databases to provide customers worldwide, location aware information to “search for, contact and appoint the adjuster of their choice based on a wide variety of specialties, experience and industries from anywhere across the globe.”

Each of these examples shows the power and extensibility of Mobile when correctly integrated with production systems.  Senior IT and business managers are paying attention.    Insurance & Technology recently reported on a survey of insurers conducted by SAP at the 2013 IASA Conference on what factors are driving core system replacement. Twenty-two percent picked ‘Mobile’, which includes “workflows and apps for employees, agents and customers”.

To restate:  One in five feel that Mobile is driving the the need to replace core systems.  Granted, this is not a scientific survey, but given the scale of such projects, it is a significant indication of the importance placed on Mobile by some industry leaders.

What do you think?

Do you think it is Mobile is a big enough trend to drive multi-year, multi-million dollar projects? Did you think that Mobile could becom this big a trend?

Leave a comment below.  And let us know what type of device you are using to record the comment.