Here is the latest article in an eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.
Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.
These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.
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Today’s Topic: Building a More Effective CX for Sales Agents
Name the problem to be solved: Based in West Bend, Wisc., West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (WBMI) has been offering insurance services to customers throughout the Midwest for more than 120 years. However, management saw that the inefficiency of WBMI’s quoting system and the difficulty of using their portal was decreasing the number of quotes generated online. In the words of WBMI IT Director Ken Hunt: “Our previous system was not intuitive or easy to use and as a result, the agents were reluctant to quote new business.”
Things had gotten to the point where less than 20% of quoted policies came from the web, with inefficient email and even paper quotes being used as an alternative. As a result, WBMI began looking for a solution that would offer a robust feature set combined with the power to integrate marketing information with back-office systems.
Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: WBMI went through an extensive evaluation of leading digital experience platforms and, eventually, determined the best fit for a solution was based on Liferay Digital Experience Platform (DXP). Liferay DXP was chosen as the basis of a new agent portal because the offering’s robust out-of-the-box tools allowed WBMI’s IT team to roll out the features they wanted and effectively scale with the underlying solution. In particular, WBMI’s IT team was interested in rolling out features that delivered needed functionalities such as user registration, security, campaign management and content management.
List the key components of the solution: Liferay DXP was used alongside React and React-native architecture to build WBMI’s new portal for independent agents.
Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: In order to ensure the success of the implementation, WBMI partnered with solutions provider XTIVIA. The project leveraged an agile methodology, with WBMI and XTIVIA team members working together in refining the product vision, UX/UI design, API development, integration with back-end systems and testing. According to Ken Hunt: “XTIVIA partnered with us bringing their expertise not only on the Liferay platform but also what they have seen in the marketplace. We collaborated on designs and implementation allowing for a successful launch.”
Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: WBMI’s new portal built with Liferay DXP allows insurance agents to get results much faster. The new system begins by asking agents a few basic questions to assess the eligibility of risk so that they’re not wasting time entering information on a customer WBMI will ultimately be unable to serve. Only once eligibility is established are agents asked to provide the minimum amount of information necessary to generate a quote. In addition, an improved UI makes information easier to gather. As a result, what used to take hours now takes five to ten minutes.
Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: The new efficiency delivered by WBMI’s agent portal resulted in the number of agents writing policies and generating quotes online more than tripling, reaching more than 65% of new quotes generated just five months after going live. In addition, WBMI rolled out a new modern, mobile-first portal for personal and business policyholders. This marked the first time WBMI was able to deliver such detailed policy information online, substantially reducing calls to support staff and subsequent costs.
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