Night of the Round Table
Monday, August 22, 2016
by Nigel Whitmore
The Round Table — a fabled English space where all seated are able to converse as equals. It’s a great metaphor for a UK event focused on the insurance industry planned for September 6th at St Pancras International Station in London. For those of you who can participate in this upcoming event, detailed information will be provided at the end of this article. For those unable to attend, we invite you to contact us to share your thoughts on this and other output-related topics.
The year is 2016. Robots are routinely cleaning carpets every day, automobiles are beginning to drive themselves, and computers have been beating chess champions for nearly two decades. Yet the more people I speak with about print and output management, the more issues and complexity they are still reporting within their organizations.
In this day and age, you would think that print delivery and print problem resolution would be simple. Issues from a bygone era. Yet this is not the case – customers increasingly ask me how they can consolidate their print servers, how they can resolve printing issues, and how to simplify their print.
All very good questions. And all areas that LRS output management solutions address.
I find that these issues are very prevalent within large insurance companies. With the margins on insurance policies ever decreasing, the pressures to reduce costs are at an all-time high. Many insurers hoped and believed that outsourcing their print to specialist ‘print fulfilment houses’ would be the answer to the ‘simplify my print’ requirement. But has this really solved the issue? These print fulfilment houses provide expertise in managing print and print streams, but do they offer innovation and sustainable cost savings?
I am finding many insurers have washed their hands of their batch printing. They are now far too reliant on their print outsourcers. From their perspective, ‘packets’ are sent down the pipe, and the outsourcer does all the clever stuff and sends the letters out to the customer.
This presents a vexing question for the insurer. Namely: how does the insurer appoint a ‘back up’ outsourcer in case of a disaster, and how does the insurer actually know for sure what is in the ‘packet’ and the nature of the ‘clever’ bit provided by their print outsourcer? Having used the same outsourcer for a number of years through multiple contract renewal cycles, most organizations find this question too difficult to answer.
It is a real concern, one which we will discuss at our upcoming Round Table event.
Another area where I see insurance companies struggle is in managing huge, antiquated report management systems. Typically installed years ago, these mainframe archive solutions were the obvious choice at the time. Now we live in the world of open systems, web-based applications, and increasingly ‘computer-savvy’ end users. As such, I am often asked “how can I take legacy reports, stored in legacy AFP and other formats, and make them available for my customers, brokers/agents and other stakeholders?” Again, this is a topic we’ll discuss at our Round Table event.
A final (yet equally important) question I hear is: “how do I digitize my output — removing the need and high cost of physical delivery – without costly and resource-intensive application code changes?” The challenges here are both varied and complex.
Our ‘Round Table’ event will be held from 11:30 to 2:30 local time on September 6th at the salubrious surroundings of the St Pancras International Station in London. I can promise an informative event with no ‘death by PowerPoint.’ Instead, we offer the chance to meet your peers within the insurance industry, see what challenges you have in common, and discuss how these may be overcome.
Hope to see you there!