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Improving Employee Productivity in Insurance

Posted by Amy Chu
information accessibility is critical for insurance professionals

Insurance companies are facing two big challenges, and both have to do with content. The first challenge is making content available to an increasingly mobile workforce, despite the fact that it is distributed across multiple content silos and protected by rigorous security controls. The second challenge is content security—keeping personally identifiable information (PII) safe from malicious or careless insiders, and dangerous outsiders like hackers and criminal syndicates. In this blog post, we will focus on the first challenge.

Challenge #1: Employees and Independent Contractors Need Convenient Access to Content

At the same time that companies need to make content more secure, they need to make it more accessible to employees and independent contractors.

Content accessibility has long been a challenge in the insurance industry. One example: insurance companies often grow through mergers and acquisitions. Combining companies often produces disparate IT systems, which can be difficult and expensive to integrate. All too often, insurance company employees and independent contractors have to make do, accessing information in “stovepipes,” un-integrated enterprise content management (ECM) systems, such as Windows File Shares, Microsoft SharePoint, Box, Open Text, etc., managed with their own access controls and usage policies.

The “stovepipe” approach to content management makes access and management more complex, and often impedes efforts to leverage content for Big Data analysis. Consultant and author Joe McKendrick described the problem this way in a column for Insurance Networking:

The issue may be too many stovepipes across the industry. I've spoken with many insurance CIOs . . . who had five or more policy administration systems under their domain, the result of acquisitions and new product line launches. These separate systems continue to function for their narrow product lines. This also reflects the challenges in getting to a single enterprise view of these applications and data sets, to facilitate analytics.

The typical knowledge worker is spending 1.8 hours per day looking for information. In the insurance industry, this number might be even higher because of the unusually high volume of content (e.g. documents such as forms and claims) in a typical insurance organization.

But distributed ECM systems are just part of the content access problem facing insurance companies. Distributed devices are another critical component.

The typical mobile worker is now carrying three mobile devices: a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop. For 40% of these workers, at least one of these devices is personally owned rather than provisioned by the company. To be useful, all of these devices need access to the data that employees create, review, and manage every day. Synchronizing data across devices can be difficult, though, if that data is locked away in different ECM systems with different passwords and permissions. Accessing those content systems remotely through VPNs only compounds the difficulty, especially on mobile devices where VPN access is notoriously cumbersome and slow.

To improve productivity, insurance companies need a way to give authorized employees and independent contractors convenient, secure access to the content they need, across all their devices, all the time. Integrating all of an organization's content silos to achieve this universal access seems unlikely. Such a project would cost millions of dollars and take years to complete, disrupting existing workflows in the process. It would also be extremely risky given how integrated these systems are with other IT systems. Employees and independent contractors need access to information now, and IT organizations need a way of providing that access without depleting their budgets or introducing unnecessary risk.

The Solution: Private Cloud Content Collaboration

Fortunately, technology is currently available to address the challenges of data access.

To improve productivity, insurance companies should implement a content collaboration solution that spans ECM systems and provides uniform content access for employees. A content collaboration solution makes it easier for employees and independent contractors to find and use the content they need, whether they’re in the office or working remotely.

kiteworks, Accellion’s enterprise-class, private cloud content collaboration platform securely extends legacy content systems, without requiring any migration of content. By keeping enterprise content in their systems of record, employees and independent contractors can maintain their existing workflows and processes, while IT organizations can avoid risky and costly migrations.

More than 15 million business users and 2,500 of the world’s leading enterprises—including insurance companies such as Pacific Life, Kaiser Permanente, Tower Group, Sequoia, and many more—trust kiteworks to securely connect people to enterprise information from any device. 

To help insurance companies and other enterprises address the challenges of content access, kiteworks provides:

  • Single Pane of Glass View Employees and independent contractors gain universal access to content stored in ECM platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint and Documentum, file shares, home drives, and cloud storage services, including Microsoft OneDrive for Business, Google Drive for Work, Dropbox, and Box. Employees and independent contractors can easily access content from all these systems through a common interface that enables the ease of access IT organizations have long needed.
  • Seamless External Collaboration Insurance companies can extend their existing ECM systems to external users to enhance collaboration with consumers, agents, adjusters, inspectors, brokers, and other third party partners. With kiteworks, employees and independent contractors can find, share, edit, and collaborate on content from any location, using any device. Features such as activity view, task management, notifications, and others enhance collaboration with partners, enabling projects to be completed quickly and efficiently.
  • Secure Access Across All Devices Insurance companies can enhance user productivity, without compromising security with native mobile apps designed for their business units. A mobile-first user interfaces enables users on smartphones to perform file and folder operations quickly and easily.
  • Leverage Private Cloud Whether on-premises or in a dedicated hosting facility, private cloud content collaboration helps ensure the security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of enterprise content. kiteworks customers have full control over their content and the encryption keys used to encrypt it.

Enterprises of all sizes will continue feeling pressure to increase productivity and operational efficiency. External content collaboration—delivered through kiteworks—can help insurance companies address both these challenges and make their employees more productive and successful.

To learn more about the kiteworks solution, please contact us.