Legacy. A word that often leads to negative connotations, but not here. At BGL Tech, there is a sense of pride in the technology platform that’s underpinned our success over the years, from award-winning customer service operations to an industry-leading Digital Transformation agenda.
But there’s no room for complacency. There are plenty of other companies who are rightly proud of what they’ve achieved. Blockbusters and Kodak are two that stick in my mind…
That is why we will continuously focus and invest heavily in technology to help drive the business forward. Ever increasing and changing customer demands, increased usage and value of data, and the rise of AI are all helping to disrupt and transform the insurance and financial sector, and we need to be able to respond to it.
So, we have the funding and we have the focus. This should be easy, right? Well, as anyone who has been involved in any large scale I.T. transformation initiative will tell you, they are not for the faint-hearted! Trying to balance the short-term needs of the business with longer term sustainability can be a dark art.
The first critical decision we took was how to begin re-building the platform for the future, which was a fairly easy decision to be honest. I’ve seen far too many companies try and do a wholesale replacement of their I.T. systems, all of which have failed. Our approach has been to break things down into smaller, key phases, keeping to our core principles:
1. People: THE most important aspect to any success. Invest in top talent to help drive you forward.
2. Ensure you align to business outcomes: Drive value from every technology initiative, avoid the pitfalls of over-engineering or adopting technology ‘for technology’s sake’. Collaboration with key product owners and stakeholders is vital.
3. Keep it lean: Deliver incremental value as often as you can. Software that isn’t live and isn’t used by customers is no use to anyone!
4. Choose the right technology to solve the problem: Enterprise products, open source and proprietary in-house development all have their place.
Driving innovation to stay ahead of the game
Recent phases have included a brand new, mobile first, white label website engine, a new security solution and a full API layer above our core back office capability. The API strategy is a key enabler to many commercial initiatives, such as:
1. Increased agility and capability: The ability to easily expose business processes and data, further supporting the Digital Transformation initiative.
2. More fine-grained integration with our partners: Enabling a single customer view across platforms.
3. The ability to adopt new and emerging technologies and channels.
We run Innovation Days which gives everyone the freedom to create and test new ideas. The only rule being that the idea must directly link to business benefit, so there are no restrictions around what tech or languages are used. In a recent session, one the teams managed to hook our core platform to an Amazon Alexa, enabling users to interact with their insurance policy — all built within a couple of days!
We are also focusing on the use of natural language processing for both written and spoken conversations. Via our online virtual assistants and contact centre phone systems, we are honing our NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) engines to be able to understand context and intent and ultimately serve the customer without the need for a human to be involved in the process. It’s still early days but progress to date is very encouraging.
All this has been possible thanks to the recent investment. But we won’t stop there! Watch this space for details of future phases…