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Top CIOs start the journey to the 'digital enterprise'

Michael Fitzgerald | Oct. 29, 2014
The buzzphrase 'digital enterprise' can be a bit mushy. What does it really mean? And how do you get there? Here are five emerging models.

AT&T hopes to have 80 percent of customer interactions happen in a digital form by 2020, up from just over 47 percent today.

Meanwhile, AT&T has begun the process of figuring out how to interact with connected cars, smart homes and wearable computing devices. "The lines between technology and what we do with our business are going to continue to blur," Arroyo says. "The first [step] is pulling down the barriers within the organization itself and really driving collaborative teams."

2. A Digital Process, Start to Finish

At Liberty Mutual, the company's personal insurance unit is further along the path to a mobile-based, all-digital process than the global specialty insurance business is, says Mojgan Le­febvre, who is CIO of Liberty Mutual Global Specialty. Today, Lefebvre says, consumers expect to interact with any service the way they do with Amazon.com — from their smartphones, with no need for paper and no need to physically interact with a person or place. "If the digital enterprise means to do the entire business end to end from a smartphone, the personal [insurance] lines are much closer, if not there," she says. The commercial unit is not as digitized. Her unit, which has nearly 250 products to cover high-risk, highly specialized insurance needs, is probably furthest away.

Customers in the specialty markets, which may include insurance for fine art, sea vessels or terrorism risks, for example, have widely diverse needs. But one thing they all have in common is documents. Liberty Mutual Global Specialty this year began replacing some of its document management systems, moving toward being able to trade documents over the cloud, no matter where in its 19-country market the document starts. It's also reworking APIs into its "book of business" — insurance industry jargon for listing customers by the volume of business they generate — so that application developers can more easily reuse the components of the system. For its largest books of business, the company has digitized most of the process, so the journey from quote to policy is all done digitally. It's now digitizing smaller parts of its business.

Complicating its future plans are the millennials, people born from roughly 1980 to 2000, who don't follow the insurance-buying patterns of previous generations. Lefebvre and other executives from Liberty Mutual are now doing things like spending time with Silicon Valley startups to get insight into how they think millennials will disrupt existing markets.

For now, "we don't say we have to digitize everything," Le­febvre says. "We try to look and see what makes sense and where the value is." Knowing what's valuable to the business isn't easy, though. "The new business models emerging and how you should engage with your customer — those are the biggest challenges and hardest things you need to think about," she says.

 

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