New SMA Blog by Mark Breading, Partner, Strategy Meets Action
Boston, MA (Apr. 19, 2019) – The insurance world was caught by surprise last October when Google’s Capital G investment arm announced a substantial investment in Applied Systems (north of $100M). It was seen by many as an endorsement of the independent agent (IA) channel. If Google believes they will make a nice return on investment in a company serving the IA channel, then they must believe the channel will survive and grow in the future. From the Applied Systems viewpoint, in addition to the extra capital to invest in the platform, they were anticipating access to world-class technology and expertise from Google. So now that the investment/partnership is six months in, what can we say about the progress?
Recently, I was fortunate to witness some of the activity first-hand, as Applied invited me to join them at the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco. For me, it was a chance to “experience” Google and meet some of the players in the Applied/Google partnership. I’ve come away with several observations about Google and Applied Systems.
- Deep partnership: As originally promised, the Google investment was more than money looking for a return. Applied and Google are collaborating at the development level, with dozens of Applied developers being trained and exposed to Google tech.
- Future promise: It is still early in terms of how Google tech and expertise will influence Applied/IVANS systems, but there are indications that the first fruits will be visible this summer, and more enhancements and capabilities will be built into the product roadmap over the next several years.
- New era of computing: The shift to a new era of computing is well underway. The event was focused on developers, and the entire event was filled with sessions and discussions about containers, connectors, Kubernetes, APIs, big data, cloud, edge computing security, AI/machine learning, and other technologies and approaches that are transforming how computing systems are designed, built, and managed.
My one disappointment at the event was that insurance was not very visible. There were hundreds of speakers and dozens of use cases, but nothing for insurance. Banking, retail, and health care use cases and solutions were prominent (as were those from many other industries), but insurance only received a passing mention. Hopefully, the Applied/Google relationship will change that. And more technology harnessed to address specific insurance use cases will be in evidence by next year’s event.
About the Author
Mark Breading, a Partner at Strategy Meets Action, is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methods and his ability to incorporate InsurTech and emerging tech into business strategies are unparalleled. Mark also leads SMA’s research program, has overseen the publication of over one hundred research reports, and directed custom research projects for insurer and tech clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, emerging technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him rankings as a “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the 10 finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”
Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM, where he co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.
He is a frequent speaker at industry events; an InsurTech mentor with the Global Insurance Accelerator; and a frequent contributor of articles to Insurance Thought Leadership, Insurance Networking News, LOMA Resource, and many other industry publications.
Exclusively serving the insurance industry, Strategy Meets Action (SMA) is an advisory services firm offering retainers, research, consulting, events, and innovation offerings to both insurance companies and solution providers. Learn more about SMA at www.strategymeetsaction.com.
SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)Tags: Applied Systems, Google, independent agents, Mark Breading, Strategic Investment, Strategy Meets Action (SMA), technology investment