ORLANDO, Fla. — May 23, 2005 — Today at the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, Microsoft Corp. furthered its commitment to the insurance industry by launching its experience Insurance initiative, offering a comprehensive approach for addressing market pressures facing the insurance enterprise. The initiative is focused on significantly improving three key areas: the insurance companies’ customer, employee and operations experience.
Microsoft’s experience Insurance initiative features a wide variety of activities including sales training, partner development programs, customer advisory councils, experience Insurance business and technical briefings, and in-market and Web educational events.
The initiative integrates business value and architectural vision into new programs and new methods of interacting with Microsoft that are critical in its continuing efforts to become the preferred enterprise provider for the insurance industry. Founded in ever-increasing customer evidence of the business return on investment derived from the Microsoft® platform and Microsoft’s industry-leading vision for service-oriented architecture (SOA), the initiative will enable customers to better determine which Microsoft technologies and partner solutions are best for them by understanding specifically which areas of business improvement they are best suited for. Its primary focus is to enable Microsoft to change the “experiences” that its enterprise customers are trying to create or achieve.
Microsoft technology is designed to make mission-critical applications easier to build, integrate and deploy, at a lower cost than traditional platforms. Combined with partner solutions, Microsoft technologies help insurance companies innovate while leveraging the value of existing systems and technology investments, respond more rapidly to changing market needs and competitive pressures, and increase employee satisfaction and productivity.
“Operating in an environment as complex as insurance demands an approach that can streamline workflow, improve operations, increase productivity and reduce costs,” said Kevin Kelly, managing director of the U.S. insurance industry for the Financial Services Group at Microsoft. “The experience Insurance initiative is designed to help insurers better understand and access software solutions that can reduce the complexity of the insurance industry and fundamentally change the customer experience, the employee experience and the operations experience.
“Instead of dealing strictly in technical decisions at the end of a business analysis, we will now be able to engage the customer in joint decision-making and planning regarding the business value to be derived from Microsoft technologies and partner solutions up front,” Kelly said. “This program allows us to provide better advice and counsel to our customers on a wide array of assets at their disposal for improving their business results.”
Microsoft’s Partner Program: The Insurance Value Chain
The experience Insurance initiative builds on Microsoft’s ever-growing ecosystem of Insurance Value Chain (IVC) partners that address key areas across the insurance industry — from point of sales and service to policy administration and claims processing — by leveraging Microsoft’s core strengths in consumer, industry-specific and enterprise technologies.
The IVC has grown from a handful of insurance application partners to more than 40 member insurance solution and service providers, with the common goal of providing innovative straight-through processing for insurance on the Microsoft platform using Web services, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and industry-specific standards.
The experience Insurance initiative is supported by more than 35 of Microsoft’s IVC partners. Companies supporting the experience Insurance initiative include AdminServer Inc., AQS Inc., AscendantOne, Avanade, BearingPoint Inc., Blue Frog Solutions, Bluebook International Inc., Compliance Architech LLC, Decision Research Corp., DSPA Software Inc., Duck Creek Technologies Inc., EDS, Fiserv Insurance Solutions, GlobeNet Technologies Inc., HP, Impact Technologies Group Inc., Infosys Technologies Ltd., Injury Sciences LLC, INSTEC, Insurance Technologies, Insuresoft LLC, Insurity Inc., Interactive Business Systems (IBS), Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd. (L&T Infotech), Micro Focus, NEON Systems Inc., NIIT Technologies ProcessClaims Inc., RDA Corp., Riskclick Inc., Satyam Computer Services Ltd., SOLCORP, SunGard, Vertafore Inc., VerticalPoint Inc., Visibillity Inc., Wildnet Group Ltd. and XDimensional Technologies Inc.
Key Improvement Areas
Microsoft helps insurance companies take a balanced approach in assessing three key areas of their business that will help them differentiate their brand to increase market share and profitability: the customer experience, the employee experience and the operations experience:
Customer experience. Insurance customers expect convenient and consistent service from the multiple channels they access, including agency, call-center, Web self-service and others. Insurance solutions based on the Microsoft platform can integrate information from many sources, creating a seamless experience across the channels. Meeting customers’ increased expectations helps insurance companies improve and innovate in the area of customer experience and provide a pathway to brand loyalty and retention.
Employee experience. Productive and satisfied employees are essential to a positive customer experience. Familiar, easy-to-use technology helps employees learn faster, which in turn should help reduce training time and costs.
Insurance companies’ employees need ready access to a complete view of customer information; however, this is challenging because information often resides on disparate systems. Microsoft-based solutions help insurers conveniently give employees access to a broader range of data and better insight into customer information. Giving insurance companies’ employees a 360-degree view of the customer can lead to better decision-making, improved cross-selling, and increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Operations experience. For technical operations, Microsoft is committed to providing insurance companies with a platform that is reliable, scalable and security-enhanced to help keep their systems available 24×7. Partner solutions based on Microsoft technology are designed to integrate with insurers’ existing systems and provide the flexibility and agility insurers need to more quickly and cost-effectively implement enterprise applications. For business operations, the developer productivity that leads to speed to market, timely and aggregated reporting capabilities, and the financial return on investment of the Microsoft platform significantly enhances the experiences of management and financial executives.
Microsoft’s Commitment to the Insurance Industry
Microsoft’s Insurance group has grown from a U.S.-focused team to a globally focused team in under 10 years. Last month, Microsoft announced that it would increase the size of its U.S. sales force and its commitment across all vertical industries, including insurance, adding up to 10 percent more industry sales and product specialist positions nationwide.
Microsoft plans to invest almost $7 billion (U.S.) in research and development this year on technologies that fulfill its evolving vision for the future of computing. The company also has created an internal group focused on understanding the long-term vision of its companywide R&D efforts and deciding how these efforts apply to vertical industries, such as insurance. The group is playing a key role in demonstrating how innovations based on Microsoft’s current and future technologies can come together to meet evolving business needs. More information can be found on Microsoft’s Web site.
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