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January 14, 2021

How Low-Code Accelerates Change

Summary:

Here are three tangible ways that low-code programming lets carriers accelerate change and provide new benefits to customers.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

The insurance market’s newfound confidence in SaaS has had a knock-on effect for the possibilities and future of low-code platforms – to the benefit of both carriers and their customers. 

Talking technology, you often hear about “revolutions,” but I like to think of them as evolutions instead. 

Take low-code. Change has accelerated as a result of environmental stimuli (much of which was unexpected before the pandemic). For carriers, the issue became about how quickly and smartly could we design, implement and push out product. Oh, and once we’re there, let’s double down to promote speed and efficiency in areas that have a direct impact on business operations. 

Tackling the pressures of tomorrow meant innovating where we could today.

The knock-on effect from all of this? The “how can we leverage low-code” conversation no longer was simply about cost-cutting and innovating in the market – it quickly became a business priority. 

Smart individuals will tell you this was coming for days, months, years – you get the point. But I challenge anyone to have predicted the speed with which the shift occurred. Many can be forgiven for not being 100% prepared.

In the case of the pandemic (as we’ve seen before with catastrophes), the expectations on systems changed. Pressures increased, as did what’s demanded of software systems, as well as the stresses they are put under. 

This isn’t a siloed event, either. Pressure on systems puts pressure on processes and, in turn, pressure on people. If you’re not clear, cracks appear. 

So, what’s being asked of core systems now?

It’s all about velocity – plain and simple.

This need is directly related to using more effective technology and rethinking processes and workflows to solve both business and market problems in as close to real time as possible. 

In a nutshell, this is what organizations are trying to achieve with low-code. (This doesn’t mean all at once. For those organizations that didn’t have the ability, resources, etc. to make this transition, the change can be undertaken in bite-sized chunks. One product, one line of business, one region/deployment – or, in some cases, entire core platforms.)

How can we get there with low-code?

Here are three tangible ways that low-code makes achieving this pursuit of velocity possible for carriers:

  1. Broadening the tools at your disposal: Quite simply, low-code allows you to do more, with more tools at your disposal. These tools, when adapted to the right business problem, allow you to solve for more and uncover opportunities to truly reimagine workflows, refine processes and empower talent. 
  2. Making integrations easier: Many will argue this is the chief selling point – low-code makes interoperability easier and opens the doors to integrate data from a wider pool of sources. As insurance becomes closer to real time and increasingly personalized, these integrations (i.e. the speed with which data can be captured and used for a product or service) will go a long way in determining winners and losers in the new year and beyond. This won’t stop, either. More data, more analysis to do more with that data, quicker ways to act on what the data informs. It’s a snowball effect, and this is an area truly ripe for tools like automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more. 
  3. Simplifying content/creating better content: You can’t speak about low-code without content. At the end of the day, low-code tools make it easier to build content and to help customers, in addition to reduced implementation timelines. Having content that is ready-made to be used by a platform is invaluable. Anecdotally, there’s a shift happening where there’s now a focus on using “rules” to create and adapt content that solves for business problems in different regions or geographies. That’s the level of maturity we’re nearing in a highly regulated industry like insurance – which should excite those innovative problem-solvers out there.  

Anyone familiar with games or gaming systems? Here’s an analogy for you. Low-code and SaaS’s ecosystem of tools is the console. The content being hosted, produced and tailored – that’s the games. The more games you have, the more value your console is providing and the vaster the experiences you can provide. The games themselves? The more powerful the console (the tools), the deeper, wider, smarter the games are – which, in turn, provide ROI to the owner of the console. 

See also: Designing a Digital Insurance Ecosystem

For those who didn’t gravitate to that example: With platform maturity comes the ability to solve business problems with robustness and completeness. This is exciting and will be realized in 2021 and beyond.

What does this say about the current (and flourishing) SaaS-driven ecosystem in insurance?

In my opinion, it’s pretty clear the industry has (finally) moved from closed to open. Now, you’re not judged on a closed ecosystem; rather, you’re judged on solution partners and how easily you can integrate with others. 

It’s an open-book test, and the richness of ecosystems (and how they iterate and evolve over time) brings others into the fold. There’s no more set-and-forget – cloud-based platforms are always up to date, and it’s where low-code tools thrive.

Being open becomes key – and the cloud provides both access and security. Accessing these tools becomes even easier still – APIs, content kits, solution exchanges, etc. It’s all there and satisfies all comers.

More good news? Talking talent brings excitement – and the prospect of continued technology acceleration

Another reason I’ve heard excitement around low-code – the doors it opens for talent in the industry. Insurance will always be highly regulated, highly specialized, and highly dependent on human empathy. 

What this doesn’t call for is an army of developers to make solutions and products to solve for these problems. 

What it does call for is smart application and solution architects, for example. More brainpower to solve some of the industry’s biggest problems. Innovators bringing more intelligent and elegant solutions to solve for problems and improve value and experiences. 

With low-code tools as a part of your organization’s arsenal, you can shift hiring foci to meet these needs. Don’t worry about keeping the lights on; worry about being creative, innovative and groundbreaking in your approach to serving customers.  

New flavor will make us stronger.

In the end, what does this SaaS and low-code transition mean for customers in 2021 and beyond?

Empowerment. 

Ultimately, it will give individuals and carriers the power to choose what’s best for their organizations and strategic goals. It truly is a constantly refilled smorgasbord of the best tools the enterprise can offer, packaged in an accessible way that makes sense for insurance.

Leave overhead behind. Get on with driving greater ROI. Think long-term about improving total cost of ownership (TCO). Solve those bigger business challenges that can return greater satisfaction. 

Empowerment. It’s exciting to see insurance companies go on the offensive rather than playing catch-up. Watch and see!

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About the Author

Richard Barbarino leads Solution Consulting for Duck Creek globally and has 20 years of experience in the insurance/insurtech industry.

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