Accelerating the Transformational Journey: Future-State Vision Imperative

New SMA Blog by Deb Smallwood, Founder & CEO, Strategy Meets Action

Boston, MA (May 14, 2019) – I am excited to share our latest research report, Bringing New Focus to the Transformation Journey: Accelerating Transformation with a New Lens.”  This report highlights much of what we have been talking about at our client engagements and various speaking opportunities over the past year. It’s all around the transformation journey and having a new lens. This new lens is having a clear future-state vision and using it to anchor both the outside-in lens (prioritizing the customer and their experience) and inside-out lens (prioritizing operational optimization) which together balance and propel the journey forward.

Acknowledging that the world and insurance are changing at an unprecedented pace, the first step to defining our future state is recognizing that the business of insurance may be very different ten years from now. This more-open-to-the-future view lets us begin to explore possibilities and strategic watchpoints. It also alerts us to the fact that if we, as an industry, continue to seek only incremental change and do not change our approach to transformation, we will wake up in three to five years to discover that we have fallen behind, have lost our relevance, and missed out on a widening array of opportunities to advance.

The second step is bringing the future-state vision and applying it across all initiatives. This means focusing, not on the traditional approaches (in areas of standalone investment such as core systems modernization, new portals, or business intelligence) but on the transformational “step beyond” tied to the future-state vision. Then inside-out and outside-in views need to be in sharp focus. But at the same time, they must complement each other. Each insurer’s individual transformation journey will draw on both in different orders and along different paths.

Throughout this strategic research brief, we illustrate SMA’s new approach to insurers’ transformation journeys with a series of use cases and proof points from the Chubb Small Business Marketplace initiative. With a clear future-state vision, Chubb took a multi-pronged approach to transformation from both the outside-in and inside-out perspectives – from creating new internal roles to launching new products and customer research, starting several strategic initiatives, introducing new portals, and modernizing core systems … all linked together with the common future-state vision … to provide an amazing customer experience for agents writing small business. Their clear but simple vision of Chubb’s future state has guided them throughout their transformation journey and will continue to do so in future investments.

All transformation journeys require new perspectives and new approaches. Insurers, make sure you develop clarity on your future state, and make sure it is all encompassing. Have a clear vision of where you want your company to be before embarking on your journey toward that future. Think beyond the traditional approaches, beyond incremental change. Approaches that aim for incremental improvements are simply not going to be enough. And ensure that you are infusing every initiative with the future-state vision.

The changes in our world and our industry are transformational. Maintain your transformational focus. This is your opportunity to advance your journey. Make sure your focus is always directed toward transformation.

Figure 1: SMA Transformation Journey to Future State

Figure 1: SMA Transformation Journey to Future State

Bringing New Focus to the Transformation Journey: Accelerating Transformation With a New Lens

The transformation journey is a requirement for all insurers, but despite a great deal of progress, many insurers and the industry at large continue to approach transformation in a traditional fashion, fostering incremental change through various internal initiatives. This report outlines a new approach to the transformation journey that includes defining the future state and progressing toward it using one of two perspectives (or lenses):

  • The inside-out perspective prioritizes operational optimization, with the intent that its effects will ripple through the organization to increase ease of doing business for the employees, partners, and ultimately the customers.
  • The outside-in perspective prioritizes the customer and their experience, emphasizing ease of doing business and a seamless customer experience.

SMA illustrates how both of these “lenses” can be used to effect change with examples from Chubb’s Small Business Marketplace. This new approach to transformation helps insurers achieve their future state and accelerate their transformation journeys.

Click here for the table of contents or to purchase the report.

About The Author

Deb Smallwood, the CEO & President of Strategy Meets Action, is widely recognized as an industry thought leader who is known for her expertise in helping companies rethink the traditional business of insurance and position for success in the changing insurance world. Deb’s passion is to advise insurers on innovative ways to leverage InsurTech and the emerging technologies that are required in today’s digital connected world. Deb provides insights that guide insurers on their journeys to becoming the Next-Gen Insurers of tomorrow. For over 30 years, Deb has helped customers understand how to leverage technologies, shift strategies, and make the right strategic investments. Deb has worked with hundreds of insurers and solution providers over the years, enabling them to create high business value and differentiate their businesses through their decisions and investments. Read more.

About SMA

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

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)

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