Originally published in Insurance Innovation Reporter
Employing a hybrid cloud software-as-a-service approach to customer communications management can improve data accessibility and security for an insurance organization and enhance customer experience.
A recent report from market research company IBIS projects the insurance software market will exceed $8 billion in 2016. Over the next five years, that growth rate is projected to increase to 3.6 percent, leading to revenues that will likely reach $9.8 billion by 2021. The company attributed growth in the sector to an increased interest in three areas: cloud computing, data accessibility and cybersecurity.
As insurance organizations consider software investments, they can address all three of these important areas of interest when choosing a customer communications management (CCM) solution.
Organizations today recognize that it’s essential to communicate with customers in a personalized, timely way. In insurance, as in many transaction-based industries, customers may interact with the organization primarily via periodic statements, so it’s imperative that every communication is effective. However, for many insurance organizations, getting the right data into the hands of business users and enabling them to enhance those communications remain stumbling blocks.
As the IBIS research notes, data accessibility is a key issue. Marketers and business users often don’t have a way to quickly access data or create, test and approve content across print and digital channels without involving IT. Making even the smallest change on an account statement, letter, policy or other routine document can take weeks or months and requires the attention of already overburdened IT resources. As a result, it is difficult, if not impossible to appropriately respond to the shifting needs of customers in a cohesive, timely and personalized way.
Cloud-based, SaaS CCM can enable data access and cybersecurity
A cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to CCM can solve these problems by centralizing data access, content creation and change management. This approach would incorporate an internal user management system that enables centralized control of individual and group rights to ensure consistency and compliance as well as an integrated workflow system that controls the required steps for creation, edits and approvals.
Cloud-based CCM can enable self-service proofing and testing by non-technical business users, who can see what their content will look like in real time. Once they are sure it’s correct, formatted properly, and being sent to the right customer, the communication can quickly be approved and sent to production using the organization’s existing composition and communications delivery channels. A configurable approval workflow can ensure that only the content changes that are approved by the right users make it into production.
Taking an approach of this kind will streamline the production and management of complex content assembly documents facing insurers—such as policies, ANOCs and EOCs. Business users would be able to propagate approved content updates across one or many contracts or plan-based material versions. Compliance approvals can be accomplished globally or at the version level, all controlled by the system that ensures only approved content is used when production takes place. This approach avoids the challenge and manual effort required to find and replace content across a sea of individual touchpoints.
A cloud-based SaaS CCM solution can achieve the same results with other communications as well, such as welcome packages, forms, letter correspondence, ID cards, monthly and annual health statements that are part of the customer communications lifecycle.
Another important benefit that can be achieved by taking a hybrid cloud approach is data security. A SaaS hybrid cloud CCM solution can address cybersecurity concerns if designed so that customer data is only required when digital communications are being generated at an organization’s premises. With this approach, business users can use the cloud component to manage all messaging content and rules and collaborate with one another to preview and approve content for use in production, while the executable decision engine software and sensitive data remains within the organization’s secure environment.
Overall, a hybrid cloud CCM approach enables a more agile, responsive and less costly way for insurers to achieve customized customer communications. Not only will the risk of penalties from non-compliance as well as operating costs be less, the opportunities to differentiate from the competition and enhance the customer experience through effective communications will be increased.