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Applied Systems: Digital path forward

  • Planning for the new normal in the Insurance Industry

    The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace, industries, economies and relationships around the world. 

    Overnight it created personal isolation, remote workforces and for many businesses, revealed cracks in operational foundations that weren’t previously apparent. Many found themselves scrambling to get the tools in place to enable remote working and stay in communication with their customers when face-to-face meetings were no longer an option.

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    The insurance industry is at the front line of this outbreak to support customers in this time of need and for many brokers this situation poses the same operational threats as in any business. Technology investment that was perhaps included in a 2-3 year plan, has become an urgent requirement for brokers in order to reassure their customers who are fearful at not having access to their brokers and critical documents during uncertain times.

    This sentiment was recently echoed by the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, who stated, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” 

    While we are leading the way for our customers and helping them build their digital path forward, we too, are looking at the digital future to see how we equip our employees of today and in the future for success. As business leaders move from crisis management and continuity planning in light of the ongoing impact and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, many will use this crisis as a catalyst for change. The success of many businesses will depend on the performance of their technology and the essential capabilities it delivers every day. This fundamental shift in how we interact with the world around us will expedite the demand for cloud based solutions, self-service portals and mobile apps and the insurance industry is embracing these new technologies at a fast pace to support the evolving needs of their tech savvy customers and changing market dynamics. 

    As we navigate these unknown times, there are some leadership and management principles that we also are applying here at Applied to keep our team connected and well prepared.

    Remember we are all human

    Seems obvious, but it means that you might experience different fears and anxieties from your team than typical day-to-day business. Economic, social and personal concerns are floating in people’s minds each day, so consider how you can give your team a listening ear. Relate to their commentary and stories, and they’ll know they are not alone. 

    Stay in touch

     We’re sure you never thought you’d see so many online communications as you have as of late, and that is not by mistake. Fear of the unknown can cause people to unknowingly panic and remote work can feel isolating. Keeping in touch with your team has never been more important. People want to feel connected and protected, so don’t overlook the power of a quick email, text, or IM checking in on your team beyond the standard meetings.

    Flexibility is key

    We know that many of you have had questions related to policy changes and shifts working hours. With ever changing restrictions and schools working hard to stay open, we know that the usual day-to-day operations will be different right now. People will be working potentially unique hours while they support family needs at home, so acting as a team has never been more important. See how each of us can help one another to balance workloads differently and keep communication channels open.   

    Think outside the box 

    These are uncharted territories and we will need to get creative in how we navigate our business during the crisis and support our customers rebounding on the other side. Start getting the creative juices flowing now. Consider if you want to share a cup of coffee via Zoom with your team in the morning to touch base on how everyone is feeling – from how their family is managing the situation to an update on the latest team project. Times like this provide an opportunity for people to come to know one another and establish bonds that will endure long beyond this time period.

    While none of us has a perfect understanding of how and when we might return to a more normal life, at Applied we are excited about the future here in Belfast. With new products in the pipeline, ongoing product evolution and plans to grow the workforce, we are keenly focussed on working with top technical talent who will bring their innovation and development skills to our team. 

    This article first appeared in the 'Future Tech' edition of the Sync NI magazine and it can be found here. 

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