Keep the Change

We’re nearing the end of 2018. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might be tempted to think legacy replacements are behind us by now. But you’d be wrong, in part because technology is the least of the challenges we face. A bigger one is change management. And change management is all about people.

Here’s the short list of things that need to be managed with people in change:

  • It’s one of the more frustrating parts of human psychology that we prefer devils we know to those we don’t. That’s why our Suite is developed with input from our users.
  • If people prefer to do things thisway, they’ll resist doing them thatway. That’s why our Suite is easily configurable.
  • Legacy systems are likely to be connected to myriad systems, data sources, and people. That’s why we do our homework before the contracts are signed.
  • Expiration Dates. Nothing lasts forever. But if you didn’t plan to replace your legacy system, the change is that much harder. That’s why we earned our development and delivery stripes before we founded Finys.
  • The Secret Code. Okay. It’s not really secret. But building, adding, and automating business rules can seem daunting. That’s why we created an English-like common language to preclude the need for translating terminology and data and to eliminate inefficient layers of communication.
  • Investing in a new system doesn’t negate the value of legacy IP. That’s why we enable our customers to fully leverage our IP, even as we migrate their legacy IP and data.
  • Idle Hands. Downtime, non-productive people, and lost revenue are significant challenges. That’s why we work with our customers in our virtual Design Lab to create workflows, establish functional objectives, and teach them how to configure the Suite, products, and LOBs.
  • Fear of change can be paralyzing. That’s why we dedicate teams to our customers before, during, and after implementation to support the roles of their people and to make sure they know everything they want to know when they want to know it.

Go With the Flow

In a 1789 letter, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” In the 21st-century world, we can safely add change to Dr. Franklin’s list. It’s as unavoidable as it is inevitable. Its pace will only quicken and its magnitude increase.

Since we have to keep the change, we may as well manage it effectively.

Digital Transformation? Really?

We recently came across the 2018 edition of Top Issues: An Annual Report from PwC. Given how late it is in the year, as well as the accelerating rate of change, we were quite interested to see what might have transpired since the Report was issued in December of 2017. On page 5, we found this:

The companies that … design and implement digital platforms … will be the most likely to quickly adjust and grow as the industry continues to become more digital.

While a little vague, that seemed to make sense. After all, the Internet, on which business is increasingly conducted, is a digital medium. And the companies that don’t adapt to all channels of digital accessibility, including mobile, inevitably will be left behind.

But just five pages later, the Report said this:

Most of the industry has adopted digital agendas.

Okay. So, what’s left to do? Much.

Let’s Narrow it Down

One of the most constructive things we might do is ignore all the commotion about digital transformation. While organizations might need to transform (more likely they need to adapt and evolve), digital transformation has become all but indecipherable because it can’t be defined consistently. And it can’t be defined consistently because it’s too broad and, so, too vague.

More important, digital transformation is almost always interpreted to be about technology. It’s not. Here’s why: Unless we manage to experience some kind of once-in-a-millennium event sometime soon, there won’t be any technological transformations. But what we do have is a data transformation.

More specifically, with the digitalization of data — and with the technological progress we’re making in storing, extracting, analyzing, and applying data — that’s a transformation worth heeding and on which we should be capitalizing. And it feels like progress.

What Can We Accomplish?

From risk analysis to claims experience, from risk selection to loss mitigation, from consumer trends to policyholder profiles and more, everything we need to affect real transformation is in the data we collect and process every day.

Yes. We’ll require technology to aggregate that data, to extract and report what we need from it. But that won’t constitute a technological transformation any more than it’ll constitutes a digital one. It might, however, constitute an operational transformation.

Maybe that’s the perspective by which we’ll accomplish the most anyway.