November 27, 2017
This blog is guest written by Marissa Buckley, VP of Marketing, Brand Experience, Security First Insurance.
Sometimes you don’t know the perfect partner exists until you find it. That’s how we felt at Security First Insurance working with PointSource for the first time.
Discerning the value of a strategic insurance technology partner is tough but it was even harder more than ten years ago when Security First opened its doors for business. As a Florida homeowner’s insurance startup at the time, our options were a handful of reputable, insurance-specific, core technology providers. Most people simply thought insurance was too complex to tackle.
Our options were pretty much the same – partners who followed an IT waterfall approach to resolving system issues. It took months to develop new business requirements and launch new technology. We also provided most of the growth direction for our partners and spent a lot of time defining business requirements for these relationships. As we grew and worked hard to diversify our distribution, the list of issues in our current system began to outpace our ability to simultaneously find solutions and develop new innovations. Simply put, we couldn’t move forward as fast as we wanted.
Flash forward a few more years and disruption was finally making its way into the insurance world. And with it came third-party technology and data providers offering unique solutions to automate our business and differentiate the end-user experience. Security First Insurance was expanding rapidly and needed to focus on delivering an unmatched brand experience that would set us apart from our competitors. As our leadership team realized this, it became obvious that we also needed a strategic partner who could take over front-end, user experience design and development.
That’s where PointSource came in.
Setting the Stage for Long-Term Partnership
We were first drawn to PointSource as an IBM partner with a responsive and engaging website – the front-end experience we were looking to implement ourselves. To get our feet wet and evaluate the expertise and value PointSource had to offer, we contracted with them to overhaul our instant quote application, a key driver of business growth.
Rather than jumping straight to business requirements and project scope, PointSource introduced us to agile development and their unique digital-transformation strategy. I’m not exaggerating when I say this changed everything.
Unlike past partners, the PointSource team helped us understand a more efficient, cost-effective way to go about technology and application development. MVP, validated learning, consumer research – these are just a few things that PointSource introduced to us that not only changed the way we develop new services but influenced our business culture as well.
Turning Unknowns Into Business Opportunities
At many junctures throughout our partnership with PointSource, we found ourselves thinking, “Oh! We could be doing that instead?” As humbling as it was to realize we couldn’t master all things digital, it was even more reassuring that PointSource could supplement our expertise and was thinking just as strategically as we were. And with that expertise came some serious “aha” moments.
Here are two examples of when having a true digital transformation partner helped us first discover an aha moment and then overcome its related hurdles/reservations:
1. Are you sure we should do things that way?
If you really want to transform your business, you have to be open-minded and think differently. Finding a strategic partner that knew more than us gave us a different perspective on operations, new business opportunities and a partner that could lead us to where we needed to be.
PointSource presented us with a user-focused, “outside-in” approach to digital transformation and partner relationships, which is a strategy we could not have successfully pursued alone. While we’d always talked to our customers, an emphasis on consumer research and creating open dialogues with target audiences ensured that we had a clearer picture of who our users were. PointSource helped us to listen better, learn from what we were hearing and then base our decisions on real-world analytics.
Thinking strategically alongside PointSource also helped us better manage our tech integrations and establish a technology strategy that’s fundamental to us maintaining and sustaining a competitive advantage. Now, innovation at Security First Insurance is a team effort and some of our most valuable and disruptive ideas come from external partners. We operate as one company, despite being miles apart and legally, two unaffiliated entities.
2. Digital transformation is just an architectural change, right?
Wrong. Change takes place internally, too.
True digital transformation doesn’t have a beginning or an end, or even specific milestones. Rather, it’s an iterative process where alignment happens just a few degrees at a time. And one of the best ways to encourage this evolution is fostering an internal culture ready to support it.
We realized our existing internal-team structure wasn’t fit for the collaboration required as we developed new technologies. PointSource helped us build out flexible collaboration teams that can now come and go as our priorities change. We had to rethink the way we operated internally to align with our new processes and framework.
As we began making those cultural shifts, PointSource encouraged us to have regular discussions about what’s working and what needs improvement. We also looked to PointSource’s own internal operations for additional guidance. When having these conversations, it’s important to think of your company and your digital transformation partner as one team. Alignment can only happen if you’re looking at every internal discipline, together.
Moving Forward With PointSource
Insurance companies typically treat migrating to a new partner as the hardest thing ever but working with a true partner makes transformations like these far easier than expected.
With our new technology strategy and the partnership we have with PointSource, we’re keeping pace with technology and developing creative, unique and incomparable experiences for our end users. The partnership also enables innovative user features and data-management capabilities. We’re already seeing big differences in the usability of our services, with more users enrolling in digital self-service transactions.
The icing on the cake? PointSource continues to be our go-to resource for innovation, in situations both good and bad. It’s great to have a trusted partner in periods of positive growth, but even better to know that we can confidently rely on our partners in times of crisis. PointSource has helped us navigate devastating events like Hurricane Irma and the insurance needs that come after such a large natural disaster.
The PointSource team has provided us with the strategic direction and framework to not only get ahead of competitors and customer needs now, but to stay ahead.
Visit the Security First Insurance case study page to learn more about our partnership.