Many insurance agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to stay competitive. New technologies provide improved ways to serve clients, but we find that insurers often don’t use these developments to their full advantage. In order to meet modern challenges and thrive, it’s imperative that insurers break out of their comfort zones and leverage software systems in their favour.
This article will look at three avenues you can take to refine your systems and the pros and cons of each approach. With this information, you’ll have the power to select the best system to take your company forward.
Option #1: Buy an off-the-shelf solution
There are a number of pre-developed systems that you can buy and fit into how you do business. The developers of these systems have considered what businesses need and put it all together for you. Your competitors are most likely already using these products.
The upside of ready-made systems is that you can have them up and running in your business quite quickly. The only potential barrier is the amount of time it will take for you and your team to learn the system and implement it in your business.
This is your lowest cost option as well. Because it has already been developed and rolled out to the market, the business can typically offer this solution to you for a reasonable monthly fee.
You can also expect good service and a dedicated customer care team from an off-the-shelf solution. This makes using the product a far less daunting task. If anything happens and you are out of your depth, there is someone you can rely on to help you.
The con of this option is that you are choosing an inflexible system. You’re going to need to fit how your business runs into the system, rather than fitting the system into your business. Although an off-the-shelf solution offers unparalleled convenience, the lack of flexibility may ultimately limit your company’s future value, especially when it comes to releasing innovative products that are unique to the market..
You’ll also discover that this offering has a limited lifespan within your business. Because your business is growing and you don’t have extensive input into which new features are added to the system, you may find that future system upgrades are no longer in line with your needs as your business grows. You’ll decide to head your separate ways at some point.
And lastly, you are dependent on the product provider for the system that you are using. You’re going to need to fit in with them to some extent and make the system work for you.
Option #2: Customise an off-the-shelf solution
There are some solutions that give you more input into your system’s features and design than a conventional off-the-shelf system does. Comotion’s offering falls in this range. As a pro, this model offers you a scaffold which can be customised according to what you need from your system. It has the ready-made structure of an off-the-shelf solution, but you can also focus on what’s important to your business.
With this option your business is the hero and your system is tailored to help you reach your objectives. You’re in the driver’s seat, rather than being forced to go along with someone else’s idea of what your business journey should be.
A customised off-the-shelf solution may cost more than a straight-off-the-shelf solution, but it’s not as expensive as a custom development solution. This additional cost covers the support you’ll receive to make the solution work for your business and to solve any problems you may encounter.
Even though this option is more customisable than an off-the-shelf solution, there are still limitations to the customisation you can do. You will still be choosing an option that is not specifically designed for your business. This is a possible drawback, as there will certainly be things you need to adapt to - but far less than with a purely off-the-shelf solution.
This approach also takes a little bit longer to get up and running for your business. This is because customisation needs to take place, along with the training time your team will need to use the product effectively in your business.
Again, with this option you are dependent on the product provider for the system that you are using.
Option #3: Develop your own solution
There is a freedom that comes with developing your own system. You can make it do whatever you want it to do and have it function in a way that works with your current systems and the way you would like your business to run. You’re also not dependent on a service provider and their way of doing things.
The power behind your own development process is that you can enhance the system as you go, implementing improved solutions as you discover them. This freedom is a big drawcard for development projects.
Developing your own system is the most expensive option you can choose, and it’s risky. It’s also easy to lose sight of the initial scope when developing your own system. While you’re developing your solution, you’ll think of other things you want to accomplish. You’ll often be tempted to change the way things operate because the first plan wasn’t the greatest and you only discover these speed bumps with practice and testing. Every revision will cost you money and increase the learning curve of coming to grips with the system and its processes.
Because you are creating your own system, the time to market will be much longer than the other two options, not to mention the additional HR demand of leading a development team. As with most projects, the timeline is likely to be extended because of changes you will want to be implemented along the way.
The main point behind this exercise is to help you understand and identify the solution for your business. At the end of the day, you need the right fit for you to make your business work more smoothly and be more profitable.
You can contact us for a demo of how Comotion works to get an idea of what the middle-ground between customisation and convenience looks like.