The move to SharePoint 2013 fulfilled several business needs for the broker portal. Our broker extranet was launched in 2002 and had functioned as a mainly static html website, with links to the Autoplan point-of-sale system and supporting applications. By 2013 ICBC’s portal technology for its broker extranet had reached the limit of its usable lifespan and did not support desired capabilities such as self-service functionality or personalized content. As our key sales channel, our network of broker partners needed better access to resources and services. New portal technology was required to set the stage for a current project, to assign individual administrative credentials to brokers, and eliminate the need for shared extranet ID’s. Most notably, the static HTML site did not meet the need for swift and responsive web content management.
The Broker Connect migration and redesign addressed these needs through the design, build, and implementation of “foundational portal technology” to replace the existing broker extranet and give us the platform on which to build and sustain future improvements. The redesign allowed for better access to policies and standards to support governance, branding aids to improve user experience, superior metadata and taxonomy capabilities to guide information architecture, and clear workflows and web analytics to inform data-driven decisions. Additionally, administration of broker identification is now managed in the Oracle Identity and Access Management suite and brokers will soon be able to log in with individual ID’s specific to their work station – a current project, made possible by the new platform.
With regard to design, the new broker portal incorporates a much cleaner header and navigation with a “fly out” menu that means brokers can get to deeper content right from the home page. Frequently used tools such as the Forms Index are much more usable, with more descriptive information and direct links to the relevant section of the Autoplan Manual. More timely news articles can be surfaced on the home page and the search function has been greatly improved with filters for category and content type. Additionally the Broker Connect portal remains linked to the existing Autoplan Data Capture/Host Access Transformation Services (ADC/HATS) mainframe-based point of sale system and supporting legacy systems. The portal will be used to integrate a new point of sale system in the future.
The entire redesign and re-platforming process took 18 months to complete, with the project commencing in January 2013 and going live in June 2014. The project team involved 30 internal ICBC employees. Accenture/Avanade were chosen as the portal integrator vendors. Simeio Solutions was chosen as the vendor for identity and access management. KPMG was chosen for security and penetration testing.
One of the chief accomplishments of the redesign has been sustainment enabled by a “one-platform” approach which has provided benefits in terms of IT support as the Broker Portal, Employee Portal, and Customer Portal are all now running on SharePoint. Working with our in-house SharePoint development team we are now able to prioritize portal enhancements and are able to implement four releases per portal each year, increasing our overall responsiveness. The new broker portal also features a feedback mechanism so that we can answer broker queries and act on their suggestions for enhancements, helping to demonstrate that we are listening and want to work together with our broker partners.
Analytics show that the updated extranet has improved efficiency in broker offices. Brokers are accessing their desired content more quickly and via less clicks, with time spent on the portal down by 78%, and average pages viewed per session down from 13 to 1.6 – meaning they can get back to serving their customers rather than searching for information. Bounce rates also decreased by 33% showing a marked improvement in search relevance and navigation.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is a provincial Crown corporation that provides universal auto insurance (Autoplan) to B.C. motorists. ICBC works with a distributed network of over 900 licensed independent Autoplan brokers, providing them with the necessary tools and resources to help customers choose the right insurance protection for them and their vehicles. For more information, visit www.icbc.com.
SOURCE: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)