We have all heard the phrase information is power. When we heard this phrase in B-Schools or business magazines or in a business discussion we all nod our heads in agreements. Let us face it. This is far from the truth when it comes to IT department in our own companies.
Really in most companies IT department is doing nothing than a lip service. Most CxOs use IT as though it is a necessary evil. Most “C” and “V” level people invest in IT as though they invest in paper. “We have to invest 2% of our revenue into IT last year. Let us cut that to 1% this year. We are going to have a tough year” or “I know Jack has bought a new ERP or a Rating system. What can we do?” (Having budget this way itself is a mistake but that is a discussion for a different time.)
I am sure you have all heard things like this. In the last nearly 20 years of working with different companies in every possible business line and every possible place in the world, I have realized on thing for sure, that companies that think like the ones I have mentioned above don’t have to worry about a long time plan. Because every one of the companies that have thought this way have died a horrible death.
You must be thinking “Nonsense! That is just Techy talk”. Well, let me tell you the other side of the coin. I have seen more companies literally go bankrupt because they got caught up in building ivory towers with technology or tweaked technology too much.
Now you should be thinking “What on earth??!!! Then what is the right answer?” It is really simple. You follow the steps mentioned below and you will invariably come out ahead.
Treat IT and IT people for what they are. IT and IT folks are tools that can provide you visibility of what is happening in you shop floor (whether you are in the Services or Manufacturing sectors). Examples include: Transaction system, workflow systems, Dashboards and Decision support systems.
Decision Support Systems:
From ‘IT around Processes’ to ‘Processes enabled by IT’ mindset. One of the biggest mistakes we have seen people do time and again is to build automation around what they are doing today. Instead it makes more sense to see what is available in terms of technology and then decide how your processes can be streamlined to better serve your customers with these IT driven processes. In other words you can use decision support systems to enable that your IT performs as a differentiator. The Airline industry has been optimizing revenue for the last 20 years through better software and hardware solutions to their problems.
Connectivity or Electronic Supply Chains
Every industry has a supply chain. Look at the area in your supply chain that makes the biggest difference your end customer and the entire supply chain. Then build a solution using today readily available technology to help reduce that bottleneck and see how entire industry can be spurred with better technology solutions.
Let us not take a look at the insurance sector and see what is happening there in terms of technology.
Example 1: Transparency and connectivity in the insurance supply chain: The battle over the independent agent/broker is won through ease of use, transparency of accounts and compensation, as well as productivity-enhancing tools. Technology plays a critical role in enabling and integrating agency distribution channel. Similarly, the direct-to-consumer distribution channel is defined by better use of technology. This is a classic case of Rule #3 mentioned above.
Example 2: Business analysis capabilities in P&C carriers: For P&C carriers, business analytic’s and predictive modeling are becoming increasingly important performance visibility and control mechanisms. Therefore, we help firms to implement leading practices and to value the associated business impact.
This video talks about IT spending and the areas where insurance players are likely to spend read more…
In conclusion it is important for you as a company to have the right attitude and use the IT as a strategic tool than doing IT for the sake of it. This can not only have a positive impact but have a game changing impact on your company and industry.
To learn more about how you can use IT as a strategic tool please contact anyone of us at VA.
About Vantage Agora
Vantage Agora (VA) is a global provider of back-office solutions, custom IT services and consulting services for companies in the insurance, finance, and healthcare sectors. As a SSAE 16 Type II audited company, Vantage Agora utilizes advanced data processing and quality control systems on a secured network to ensure efficient, comprehensive management of back-office functions such as insurance, accounting, financial and administrative tasks. Founded in 2004, Vantage Agora has offices in Cleveland and Dallas.