Implementing reporting process transformation has to be a multi-discipline, collaborative exercise.
Continuing our recent series of blog posts on the driving forces behind reporting process transformation in European insurance companies and some tips for achieving it, we move on to the implementation phase.
Once you’ve got a clear objective, whether it’s time savings or better information, you’ve made sure to enlist the help and support of the right mix of people, and you’ve decided a systems approach, attention can move on to how you’re going to make it work for the business. These tips, gleaned from supporting clients over recent years, have proved invaluable.
Tip 4 — Leverage technology
Whatever the pre-determined transformational objective, operational efficiency will be an overarching theme – if it is not the primary goal itself. The new business as usual target process must be quick, stable, repeatable and tightly controlled, while delivering the right information to the appropriate people. Achieving the desired efficiency will rely on two fundamental tasks – process acceleration and process improvement – with the mix and order tailored to meet the objective. Essential to achieving both are power and automation.
The power needed is computing power, with options available, including grid computing and pay-as-you-go capacity on the cloud. The automation is provided by workflow management technology and is essential to building in controls and to limit the manual interventions that are frequently at the root of growing reporting pressures. The value-adding efficiency benefit is releasing highly skilled employees from mundane manual process tasks and focusing them on value-adding analytical activities.
True reporting transformation without good and adequate technology is impossible, so doing the research of available tools and getting them on board and working early is essential
Tip 5— Take your people on the journey
Companies in transition underestimate the people element of reporting process transformation at their peril. It’s not all about systems and technology; the main impact will be on your people. In the end your company is the people and you are creating a new way of working. However, most people are naturally resistant to change and, as a designed change, the program must take this into consideration. To make the process work as intended, you need to change the mindset and redeploy the valuable human resources as you implement your new technology.
Elements within the ‘people workstream’ will include: new organizational design, revised job descriptions in some cases, training plans; redeployment guidelines, key person risk planning; and impacts on performance targets and rewards. An objective, external view of these requirements can be invaluable.
Tip 6 — Manage interactions with other corporate initiatives
As important as your transformation program is, it won’t be the only strategic program in which your company is engaged. So it is critical to ensure your project dovetails with other related business initiatives. Although there may be multiple and different stakeholders across these initiatives, consider implementing the following elements to gain the best outcome; one lead stakeholder to oversee consistent project governance, combined success targets where appropriate and aligned remuneration. Knitting together the related business initiatives as closely as possible will be the key to overall success and lessens the risk of one project running off track.
Keeping up the good work
If companies have invested the money, time and effort to implement a reporting process transformation project with a well-defined objective, the last thing they want is not to be able to enjoy lasting benefits. Our next blog will offer some tips for helping to avoid this situation.
Richard Waller and Joyce Simmons are directors in the life insurance risk practice at Willis Towers Watson.