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Digital Transformation in Insurance
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The European market has been slower than other areas of the world in adopting digital transformation, but that’s changing. With new regulations opening up the digital marketplace for fair competition, sizeable strategic partnerships, and providers embracing the latest cloud, automation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, Europe is poised to seize a leadership position in the tech landscape. But the region needs to act quickly and grasp the right opportunities to prevail. Read on to learn more about Europe’s road to digitalization by 2030.
COVID-19 accelerated the worldwide movement that has been underway for years by businesses to adopt digital initiatives. Amid the pandemic, digitalization was pushed into the spotlight as a means for businesses to survive by finding innovative ways to deliver services through digital media.
The European market, however, felt the impact because it has historically shown a slower rate of digital adoption in some segments and also bore the early onslaught of the global pandemic (starting with the outbreak in Italy).
Coupled with slowing macroeconomic growth and looming Brexit, enterprises in Europe have been facing significant challenges. The changes fueled by the pandemic have now pushed Europe to rethink its business models and talent and embrace accelerated digital transformation.
Gearing up for change
Combined with this market context, Europe’s dependence on global technology companies (versus homegrown firms) has increased. Various reasons exist for Europe’s perceived decline as the home of Big Tech companies, including a stricter tax regime, more active regulatory/legal frameworks, and a smaller homogeneous addressable market. Despite this, Europe outperforms the world in many pockets of innovation, such as financial technology (FinTech), blockchain, payments, creative agencies, and cybersecurity.
Now, new expectations that developed from the pandemic have led European organizations to gear up to fully embrace digital business models. According to an Everest Group key issues survey, customer experience is the most critical priority for enterprises and service providers over the coming few years, followed by operational efficiency, then launching new products and services. The image below illustrates Europe’s priorities in business model changes and areas of innovation.
To improve the customer experience, European enterprises are offering digital solutions for conducting simple interactions without physically going to a location or speaking directly to a customer service agent and delivering more personalized experiences for language support, channels, and availability.
Against this backdrop, Europe also is ramping up technology sovereignty efforts. Recently, the European Commission set the course towards a digitally empowered Europe by 2030. European governments and regulators are rethinking the enabling frameworks and legal structures to foster innovation and digital leadership.
The goal is to achieve digital sovereignty in an open and interconnected world and to develop digital policies that will enable businesses to adopt and seize a human-centered, sustainable, and more prosperous digital future.
Among the European Commission’s targets are ensuring 80 percent of all adults have basic digital skills, three-quarters of companies use cloud services, all public services are available online, and all households have gigabit connectivity.
To achieve these ambitious expectations, Europe will need to move fast.
To pave the way towards digital success, Europe has set in motion initiatives such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Digital Services Act (DSA), and GAIA-X, a project to develop common requirements for a European data infrastructure supported by representatives of business, science, and administration.
With data security, privacy, and technology sovereignty becoming key issues for the region, Europe is setting up the following sanctions to protect companies and ensure a competitive market:
With these new seminal regulations potentially changing the enabling framework of doing business across Europe, the market is at a juncture where it can take back the reigns of the technology landscape. But its success at capturing the next wave of digital transformation will hinge on how the region, its businesses, and regulators react to the current situation.
Europe has always had a broad range of innovative companies and countries with strong start-up and entrepreneurial cultures. Large partnerships over the past nine months that point to scaling digital transformation are also on the rise in Europe. These include deals like Wipro joining with Telefonica and METRO AG, Infosys with Daimler, and TCS with Deutsche Bank and Prudential Financial. For more details, please see our webinar, Why Europe is Poised to be a Major Factor in Digital Transformation Strategies, from earlier this year.
With increased digitalization accelerated by COVID-19, European organizations are moving forward with top digital capability priorities like cloud, cybersecurity, and analytics alongside automation and advanced automation AI.
Europe also provides attractive options to meet the need to shift to digital with different constituent countries offering local language and cultural context, and easier intra-region mobility (Brexit notwithstanding). For instance, vibrant technology ecosystems are developing in different clusters such as Germany for hi-tech and automotive, Eastern Europe for product engineering, and the UK and Ireland for financial services, to name a few.
Poised to be one of the main drivers of digital adoption, Europe will retain its central place in the world’s technology economy. However, spotting the right opportunities and actions to grasp will be crucial over the next few years.
Europe must take advantage of current changes in the market by:
Our recent research shows that European enterprises plan not just to recover but exceed projected financial goals. With the end of the pandemic in sight and the reopening of business throughout the continent, digital innovation and opportunities to scale will be ripe for Europe’s taking.
How do you view the European digital transformation opportunity? Share your thoughts by emailing [email protected].
It’s time to revisit your digital transformation strategy, given the disruption and organizational changes that occurred during the pandemic.
“IT leaders need to differentiate between what they had to do to survive out of desperation versus as part of a thought-out strategy,” says Yugal Joshi, Vice President of digital, cloud, and application services research for Everest Group.
Digital transformation is accelerating as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more and more companies starting to achieve tangible and meaningful business results. Companies are also undertaking the grand adventure of implementing new operating models that offer better competitive positioning and a lower cost to serve. In addition, we now face an acute talent shortage, and companies must shift their focus away from controlling or cutting costs to instead focus on building an assured supply of the necessary talent. As a result, increasingly, focusing on risk is more important than focusing on profits.
Low-code platforms are here to stay because of the rapid application development and speed to market it enables. But why is no one taking the same “life cycle” view for low-code applications and workflows as typical software development? A new model of Low-code Development Life Cycle (LCLC or LC2) is needed for enterprises to realize the potential benefits and manage risks. Read on to deep dive into these issues in this latest blog continuing our coverage of low-code.
Our market interactions suggest enterprises adopting low-code platforms to build simpler workflows or enterprise-grade applications are not thinking about life cycle principles. Though enterprises for ages have adopted Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to build applications, it is surprising no such initiatives exist for low-code applications.
As we previously discussed, low-code platforms, requiring little or no programming to build, are surging in adoption. We covered the key applications and workflows enterprises are focusing on in an earlier blog, The Future of Digital Transformation May Hinge on a Simpler Development Approach: Low Code.
Given its staying power in the market, it’s time to consider Low-code Development Life Cycle (LCLC or LC2).
Here are some recommendations on how LCLC can be structured and managed:
Rethink low-code engineering principles: Enterprises that have long relied on SDLC concepts will need to build newer engineering and operations principles for low-code applications. Enterprises generally take long-term bets on their architecture preferences, Agile methodologies, developer collaboration platform, DevOps pipeline, release management, and quality engineering.
Introducing a low-code platform changes most of this, and some of the typical SDLC may not be needed. For example, these platforms do not generally provide an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and rely on “designing” rather than “building” applications. In SDLC, different developers can build their own code using their IDE, programming language, databases, and infrastructure of choice. They can check in their code, run smoke tests, integrate, and push to their Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery pipeline.
However, for most low-code platforms, the entire process has to run on a single platform, making it nearly impossible to collaborate across two low-code platforms. Moreover, enterprises might be exposed to performance, compliance, and risk issues if these applications and workflows are built by citizen developers who are unaware of enterprise standards of coding. This also might increase the costs for quality assurance beyond budgeted amounts.
Even professional developers, who are well aware of enterprise standards while building code in an existing manner, may not know how to manage their LCLC. Many low-code platforms allow SDLC steps within their platform, such as requirement management. Therefore, all the collaboration will have to happen on the low-code platform. This creates a challenging situation requiring enterprises to have different collaboration platforms for low-code applications separate from the other standard tooling they have invested in (such as Teams, Slack, and other agile planning tools) – unless they are integrated through APIs, adding overhead and cost.
Also complicating issues is the desire by some developers to have the developer portal of these low-code platforms extend to their IDE. Most platforms prefer their own CI/CD pipelines, although they can also integrate with third-party tools enterprises have invested in. A different mindset is needed to manage this increased technological complexity. Because low-code applications are difficult to scale for large data sets, some of the scaling imperatives enterprises have built for years will need to be rethought.
Manage lock-in: Most low-code platform vendors have a specific scripting language that generates the application and the workflow. Developers who are trained on Java, .net, Python, and similar languages do not plan to reskill to learn proprietary languages for so many different platforms. While enterprises are accustomed to multiple programming languages in their environment, they normally have selected some primary languages. Though low-code platforms do not extensively rely on developers coding applications, enterprises generally would want to know “under the hood” aspects around architecture, data models, integration layer, and other system elements.
Build governance: We previously covered how low-code platform proliferation will choke organizations that are blindly prioritizing the speed of software delivery. Therefore, governance is needed not only in the development life cycle but also to manage the proliferation of platforms within enterprises. Enterprises will need to closely watch the low-code spend from subscription and software perspectives. As low-code platforms support native API-based access to external platforms, enterprises will need to govern that spend, risk, and compliance (for example, looking at such issues as whether some third-party platforms are on the blacklist).
Low-code platforms can provide enterprises with a potent platform. But, if not managed well, it can be risky. To manage the potential risks, enterprises need to be aware of these three considerations:
Enterprises’ desires to drive digital transformation will make low-code proliferation a reality. Currently, most low-code vendors derive a small $100-500K revenue per client, indicating the focus is mostly on Small and Medium Business (SMB) segments or small line of business buying. As a result, we expect consolidation in this market with large vendors such as Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Microsoft furthering eating into small vendor’s share. Enterprises should keep a close watch on this M&A activity as it can completely change their low-code strategy, processes, and the business value they derive out of strategic investment into a low-code platform.
What has your low-code journey been like, and how are you using life cycle concepts? Please reach out to share your story with me at [email protected].
Every company wants to create new value for competitive advantage. One component of value is hyperproductivity. In the past, I blogged about eight levers that help achieve hyperproductivity; and I have observed more than one company achieve a 350% productivity improvement in a year using these levers. I now want to focus on one of those companies and key strategies the CIO used to produce the outcome.
Over the last decade, the subscription economy has become synonymous with how we consume everything from music to beauty products and videos. Could the same type of customer-driven model work for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to rent or provide access to their machinery and industrial equipment to users for a recurring fee? The rise of devices connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors might make this the right time for Equipment-as-a-Service (EaaS) to take off but let’s look at the obstacles that first need to be overcome.
Subscription-based e-commerce has been the biggest gainer in recent years, with firms like Birchbox providing monthly beauty samples and Spotify providing access to millions of songs at one go. The winners of this phenomenon have been Netflix which forced giants like Blockbuster to close shop and led Disney to change its operating model.
The subscription model demand has been resonating with manufacturers around the world who would like to shed their capital expenditure (Capex) heavy model of acquiring assets instead of directly purchasing outcomes. OEMs typically ramp up production to meet demand or look to slash costs when sales are down.
With the pandemic onslaught, OEMs specifically catering to the travel and hospitality industry as well as certain sectors in manufacturing saw a steady decline in production. This makes the case for creating new sales models that generate more consistent revenue streams for OEMs – and EaaS could provide a needed solution.
EaaS represents a business model that aims to reduce the Capex for enterprise customers while the OEM retains ownership of the asset and charges the customer subscription rates. This helps the OEM create a recurring revenue stream while ensuring the asset ownership remains in-house. EaaS was pioneered by Rolls Royce when it trademarked “power by the hour” as a notion to sell power jets based on performance. This model further allows airlines to pay for their engines based on their usage, such as the number of flight hours.
IT has witnessed this model with firms like Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Cisco selling IT equipment through an “as a service” model. Hyperscalers like Amazon Web Service, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform have also been selling their infrastructure services on a pay-as-you-go model where these data center operators continue to own the physical servers. However, IoT-enabled solutions in manufacturing would not be as easy of a transition as seen in IT.
With the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) across the manufacturing landscape, it has become easier for any manufacturer to measure equipment usage or performance, which can then be used to compensate in the EaaS model. While giants like Caterpillar have initiated EaaS, more time is needed for industry-wide adoption.
IoT devices have rapidly grown across the ecosystem, finding applications in the industrial space as well as in our homes in the form of voice-enabled Alexa. IoT in the industrial area generates large volumes of data collected from smart meters, delivery trucks, and equipment. This has given rise to IoT analytics. IoT analytics can help organizations by monitoring and alerting them in case of anomalies, identifying problems, and answering pertinent questions to make better forecasts and future decisions.
IoT also is being used across devices for flexible pricing and billing. As the IoT sensor captures pertinent data, it can help create pricing models based on consumption patterns.
With the success this model has seen on the IT side, EaaS looks attractive and has the potential to be a sure-shot success, or does it? EaaS is plagued with a few fundamental flaws that inhibit its spread across the manufacturing industry, with only a few large players opting for it.
OEMs need to figure out these two key issues before jumping on the EaaS bandwagon:
Of course, no enterprise can shift overnight from a product selling model to services. Some companies have found success in making this change. For example, German-based manufacturer Heller offers HELLER4USE, which provides customers with pay-per-use of their machinery and insurance during equipment downtime. Companies specifically focused on coffee vending machines and 3D printing have moved significantly towards the services space.
As OEMs move into this space, it would open a completely different revenue stream in the form of IoT integration, data analytics, and system design. These high-value add-on services would ensure OEMs maintain a constant stream of recurring revenue rather than a one-shot sale of equipment. OEMs initiating the EaaS model would gain a first-mover advantage in making close relationships with buyers as they get entrenched into the data ecosystem generated from the industrial unit, making them much more valuable partners. We predict these first movers will become key players in grabbing the full-service models that will float in the future.
If you have any questions about how an enterprise can go ahead with EaaS, or if you would like to share how your organization has used EaaS or any other innovative business model, please write to me at [email protected].
Stuart McGuigan, the former CIO of the U.S. Department of State and, earlier, the CIO of Johnson & Johnson, says innovation-driven companies (like pharmaceuticals) usually “either furiously spend money to support the launch of new products or later go back and then cut costs. To do both at the same time requires an operational mindset and an incredibly focused use of technology.”
The rapid shift to digital payments due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for banks to modernize their antiquated payments infrastructure as demand rises for contactless payments and automation of accounts payables.
While banks’ corporate and retail customers have constantly strived for faster and secure payment experiences to ensure seamless business operations and fulfill commerce needs, now is the time to act.
According to GlobalData, in the next decade, 2.7 billion transactions worth $48 trillion will shift away from cash to cards, interbank payments, and alternative payments instruments. This can be attributed to changing customer demands in this digital era, where users want immediate execution, security, transparency, and a low-cost and omnichannel payments experience.
Payments modernization is also a key imperative for banks as the industry transitions to real-time payments infrastructure. Across the globe, government and private organizations are collaborating to launch real-time payment schemes to support innovation in low-cost multi-currency payments processing. This is pushing banks to invest in the consolidation of fragmented legacy payments systems to achieve interoperability and support these payment schemes.
Regulations also are creating pressure. Market infrastructures such as the Federal Reserve, The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), European Central Bank, and Bank of England have announced the go-live date for the ISO 20022 payments messaging format. ISO 20022 will become the de-facto standard by 2025 for high-value payments systems of all reserve currencies. As banks face compliance deadlines for ISO 20022, they need to invest in convertors or translation systems to upgrade their existing payments infrastructure that cannot support the new messaging format and leverage opportunities it presents.
On top of this, the cloud-native and integrated platforms offered by BigTechs and FinTechs to disrupt the digital payments industry are also forcing banks to rethink their payments strategies. As central banks do not completely regulate these new market entrants, they have more freedom to innovate in the payments market. They can leverage their customer base to commercially distribute payments to end-users and utilize payments data to build other profitable overlay services.
As banks face the triple mandate to meet customer requirements, comply with emerging payment regulations, and control costs, it has become imperative for them to either build a proprietary system or leverage a third-party modular payments platform.
Banks should keep the following in mind in their modernization journey:
As banks undergo their payments modernization journey to bring payments innovation for their customers, reduce the cost of payments processing, and manage evolving regulations across geographies, they are leveraging payments platforms from third-party vendors such as ACI Worldwide, Global Payments, and Temenos.
These payments technology vendors are expanding their payments offerings to deliver integrated payments solutions and provide support for multiple global real-time payments schemes by investing in partnerships and augmenting their digital technology capabilities.
Some examples of these investments by payment technology vendors include:
In our recently released report, Payments State of the Market Report 2021: Modernizing Data, Applications, and Infrastructure for the Next Phase of the Payments Revolution, we take a deeper look at the payment technology market trends across products, experiences, infrastructure, regulations, data, and technology themes. We also study how technology vendors and service providers are gearing up their investments to cater to these demand trends.
Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] to share your experiences.