CEO at Avenga
Customer focus at the front-end is the key element for a successful digital project. This is because success comes only through acceptance on the part of the users. Some examples of customer centricity in the following three industries: Insurance, Healthcare and Real Estate.
For around 20 years, we have been accompanying our customers in the digital transformation process. During this time, we have learned that successful digitalization begins with users and their expectations, and not with internal processes or technological basics. Anyone who digitizes and wishes to succeed must rethink and culturally, structurally and technologically position themselves in such a way that the rapid development of new products and services fully meet the needs of their users. The best idea can be technologically perfect in its implementation but if it is difficult to use, or is launched too late, users will not accept it. Additionally, an optimal user experience at the front-end or (graphical) user interface is the central success factor for digital products and services.
However, it is a challenge to keep the focus on users in a complex project over a longer period of time as well as in many sub-projects. Many companies also begin with transforming their internal business processes and attempt to modernize their companies culture. This also directs the focus away from the needs of end customers. So how can it be maintained? Let us look at three classic industries whose product development traditionally takes place with little customer involvement: Insurance, pharmaceuticals and real estate.
So far, the creation of new insurance products has been characterised by long cross-departmental development cycles. An entire year – from brainstorming to the start of sales – is not uncommon. To cover customer’s need for security, insurers take two paths: either they offer highly personalised insurances which is time-consuming to configure, or they offer all-round comfort packages (leading to some customers overinsuring themselves). Either way, the focus is on risk selection: “Bad” risks for the portfolio should be avoided.
As these insurance products need to be explained, they are hardly suitable for direct sales. Compare the online completion of an insurance contract with the shopping experience at Amazon or the Opel new car configurator. So, for the insurance industry as well, the key now lies in reducing complexity and offering customers understandable, needs-based insurance products. To ensure success, the guiding principle must follow the customers’ wishes.
Working with various insurers, we have identified three key points which customers want:
In the pharmaceutical industry so far, the pressure to transform has been comparatively low. But there is an increasing shift in thinking. New suppliers, whose products, services and internal organisation are based on customer centricity, are entering the market. Something so important in the digital age. Established pharmaceutical companies are now looking for ways to meet the needs of their customers better and faster. This is complicated because there are four target groups to consider: patients, doctors, pharmacies and health insurance companies. It is feasible, however, to focus fully on the customer here as well. To simplify this, we distinguish between two sales lines based on products: over-the-counter medicines (OTC) and prescription-only medicines (Rx).
The real estate industry is currently making very targeted attempts to digitally transform. Here, too, one is guided by what the customers wishes. The “Internet of Things” and new “Smart Home” technologies have opened up new opportunities to offer residents and commercial users new services. In the medium and long term, new business models for the industry should, and will, emerge from this. Applicable here, too, is that just like during the gold-rush mood at the beginning of digitalization, a positive user experience is equally central to success as the actual fulfillment of customer needs. What do customers want? Here are three examples from our project work:
Not only residents, but also administrators are important target groups for digital solutions in the industry.
From our long experience with digital transformation projects, we have derived a procedure which implements a customer-focused mindset and combines it with agile development methods and a flexible technology. If these three cornerstones are taken into account, projects become feasible which were previously only a vision.