Guidewire Software, Inc. (NYSE: GWRE), a provider of software products to general insurers, today announced in its latest Dossier the importance of IT-led, technology-driven innovation for the ongoing success of the German insurance industry. This follows a recent study, sponsored by Guidewire, and conducted by EY Innovalue and St Gallen University, in which German insurance companies, of various sizes, and with varying focuses took part. Participants were asked about the impact of digitalisation in their IT departments. The study confirmed that most insurers have a moderate level of digitalisation in place, and an awareness of digitalisation in the industry, but it identified a disconnect between IT and Business strategies, as well as an ad hoc approach to digitalisation that lacks operational integration.
The study recommends three overall areas for improvement:
Processes: move towards more automation and the use of Agile methodology;
People and organisation: insurers must address knowledge gaps, retain and train existing staff, and proactively recruit new staff with the necessary technical skills; and
Technology and infrastructure: increase co-operation with Business, stronger customer focus, optimized processes (including integration with new technologies and use of standard software).
“Guidewire recognizes the need for IT in digital transformation, and the significance of its role in driving forward entire companies,” said René Schoenauer, product marketing manager - EMEA, Guidewire. “Digitalisation plays an important position in supporting increased interaction for all stakeholders in the insurance industry. Nowadays, this Age of Interaction, or Engagement Era, is characterised by digital technologies, bringing customers to the fore. The challenge is to achieve a comprehensive customer experience, including personalisation, convenient mobile and multiple channel interaction, and fast service. Modern technology for IT - core systems, digital portals and data analysis – supports end-to-end interaction in real time, and is vital for a real digital user experience.”
In more than 300 implementation projects around the world, Guidewire has amassed extensive experience working with general insurers of all sizes. In “Agile” projects where inter-functional teams are equipped with decision-making skills, projects can be fast, flexible, and very successful. According to Guidewire customers, one of the most important factors in successful projects is the close cooperation between IT and Business departments. “Agile” methodology and good quality software products also play a major role.
“In the past, IT departments have often been limited to the role of internal service provider,” commented Keith Stonell, managing director – EMEA, Guidewire. “With better cross-functional collaboration, and with increased use of Agile, IT personnel are better placed to handle larger, faster, and more synchronised projects. To ensure the continued success of German insurers, IT departments should become active innovators; develop their staff, deepen their customer understanding, and step up as full strategic partners of the businesses they serve.”