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How Top Insurance Companies Are Pushing Digital Innovation

Digital InnovationNew leaders in the insurance industry continue to invest in and drive digital innovation, which is particularly apparent in Europe. When research firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) surveyed 200 mid- to large-sized insurance companies in Europe, the company discovered that they are adopting a number of different strategies across the enterprise.
Paving the Way for Digital Innovation

Because of the appointing of new CEOs across 70% of Europe’s biggest insurance companies within the last 18 months, businesses are integrating more innovative IT strategies. As a result of the recent threat to traditional insurers from innovations in startup, manufacturing, telecommunications, and utilities companies, many insurers have taken steps to avoid becoming irrelevant.

Out of the 200 senior business and IT executives that PAC spoke with, 84% have developed formal innovation strategies with dedicated budgets and teams behind them.
The Need for Improved Customer Engagement

One of the biggest motivators behind digital innovation is the demand for better customer engagement, which is true for many industries. Mobile apps are one of the innovations made over the years that have helped improve customer relations and boost loyalty, subsequently increasing customer spending. PAC found that 60% of the insurers surveyed reinforced the need for improved engagement with customers, making it their core focus regarding digital innovation.

Learning from Retail Banking Companies

One industry that can teach insurers how to be more technologically innovative is the retail banking sector, which has gone from lagging in customer engagement to becoming one of the most tech-friendly industries. Many retail banking firms have developed and deployed mobile apps that make operations much more convenient for customers.

Insurance companies have also since transformed from firms with poorer customer experiences to those making waves through innovation. For instance, one free app that has made a difference is known as Trov, developed by Axa Insurance. This app allows customers to easily insure individual possessions using a smartphone, which was an impossible task not long ago.
Potential Obstacles that Insurers Still Face

Innovations may be taking place within the insurance industry, but there are still certain issues that these companies face. Some companies that PAC surveyed cited stringent regulation as the largest obstacle preventing innovation, while one-third stated that outdated infrastructures and technology have been the biggest problems. Others also mentioned that a majority of their business applications are capable of supporting future digital innovation strategies.

Despite the existing shortcomings, insurance companies will likely continue to evolve as they adapt to the digital age, implementing mobile apps and cloud-based communications.

The Importance of Wireless WAN Connections for Businesses

shutterstock_328634297Wireless internet connectivity continues to be an important asset for businesses, including wide-area network (WAN) connections. According to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), 96% of distributed companies rely on wireless for WAN connections in certain remote locations.

Even if businesses aren’t necessarily using wireless for all of their remote sites, it still stands that companies depend on this technology for parts of their operations. The continuously developing wireless technology in today’s IT industry keeps it relevant, with public Wi-Fi and LTE/4G among the most commonly used wireless technologies available for a variety of applications.
Benefits of Using Wireless Technology for Enterprises

WAN has used wireless technology for a long time, but in the past it served mostly as backup connections — which is how many businesses are still using it today. In the event of an outage that occurs in their normal wired WAN link, companies can use wireless 3G or 4G radio instead, helping avoid downtime.
Which Industries Use Wireless Technology the Most?

Some of the industries that rely on wireless technology for WAN connections include banking, insurance, and manufacturing. According to the same EMA study, banking and insurance enterprises use 3G and satellite connections more than others. A 3G connection would make sense in these environments because of the low cost for connecting many single-transaction devices at one time, such as ATMs.

At the same time, manufacturers experiencing dramatic growth may need to connect with an increasing number of remote sites in a timely fashion, and 4G/LTE connections offer an effective temporary connection until they can install wired WAN connections.
Increased Security with Wireless

Wireless technology isn’t only crucial for temporary connectivity. EMA also found that many companies turn to wireless for improved security, better performance, and expanded bandwidth. Only 18% of businesses used it simply because of a lack of a wired connection.

LTE/4G also allows for better security, with top-level encryption over multiple layers of security, making it an ideal form of wireless to install around the world.

EMA predicts that wireless technology will only continue to grow in popularity, and businesses will be able to see the benefits when turning to this technology to support a WAN connection.

Cloud-Based Unified Communications: A New Direction for IT Leaders

shutterstock_75581158It’s no surprise that IT leaders are exploring better ways to communicate effectively and efficiently. Communication lies at the heart of today’s collaboration-driven enterprise environment and organizations of all stripes have an ever-growing need for smooth and seamless information delivery across the corporate spectrum.

When it comes to the next generation of unified communications (UC), the cloud promises to play an expanded role in creating a more efficient and customer-centric medium for delivering agile and streamlined services.

The Cloud as a Gateway to Converged Solutions

More IT departments are paying closer attention to how end users utilize apps and features. As a result, there’s been a growing trend toward centralized UC deployments that harness the cloud’s numerous capabilities. For example, UC within the cloud can supplement or even supplant a number of non-cloud counterparts, including telephony, instant messaging, and mobile device management (MDM).

Meanwhile, the move toward service and support-oriented roles in IT has made the cloud all the more compelling within the enterprise environment. For instance, the simplified implementation features from cloud-based UC suites make it possible for tech leaders to embrace an operational expense footprint. It’s a move that could help enterprises realize improved gains in their bottom line while redefining their infrastructure.

The advent of the cloud-based UC suite is a trend that’s showing no signs of letting up anytime soon. In fact, a recent Research and Markets: Global Unified Communications Market Report predicts an increase in hosted UC deployments over a five-year period, with gains reaching as much as 14 percent CAGR by 2019.

Streamlined Delivery Methods

Cloud-based UC deployments also offer a way to utilize streamlined delivery methods, most notably the popular “as a service” method. UC as a Service (UCaaS) promises a streamlined, more agile way of offering high availability among end users. This is true whether enterprises adopt single-tenancy, multi-tenancy or hybrid approaches to app availability.

The focus on cloud-based UC deployments makes economic sense to many enterprise leaders. In addition to built-in training and support apparatuses, IT departments can afford to devote fewer resources toward purchasing and maintenance tasks. This helps tech departments free up additional resources for other major projects.

As UC and cloud developments converge, enterprises should take the opportunity to maximize their communications investments with the latest in network tools. Cloud-based UC deployments offer the perfect focal point for tech leaders to build a highly productive and collaborative environment for their workforce.