For insurers, long product development cycles have been a hindrance to agility and their ability to change along with their customer and the marketplace. These days, a short product development cycle is essential to win competitive advantage and SAP customers have proven that Improved Product Quality can be a byproduct of efforts to improve Speed to Market.

Our experience has proven that true speed to market isn’t just about how fast you can bring the next new product offering to market, but how well you recalibrate your entire product development process.  And this is all about simplicity, stability, and reusability as well as flexibility and scalability in terms of how fast you can respond to market shifts and emerging opportunities.

Recalibration of processes improves quality 

Economists cropped circle.jpgFine tuning your entire product development process not only allows you to shorten time to market, it also builds in quality.

Indeed, two of our customers, one a P&C carrier from North America, and the other, a healthcare organization in the UK, both reported improved product quality as a positive and unexpected consequence of taking a transformative approach to product development using a product agility engine. 

While documenting as much as a 30% to 60% improvement in speed to market, these customers have also improved the quality of product implementations and reduced the number of day two production issues.

Work on multiple products at the same time

Whereas legacy environments traditionally limit the number of concurrent changes you can make to your product portfolio, a focused product agility engine allows you to develop or modify multiple products in parallel. Utilizing multiple sandboxes, you’re not constrained by bandwidth so you can implement significant or multiple new products in the same development cycles.

Following the lead of manufacturers

Using advanced product planning and sophisticated consumer analytics, leading insurance companies are developing a more structured process around product development and innovation.

Following a typical manufacturing process, products are broken down into elemental components of similar processes, rules, forms, rates, and user interaction. 

In this factory, marketable insurance products can be assembled or bolted together using components from the library.  Changes to rates, limits, or rules can be made in a sandbox and tested step-by-step in the repository before being published.  

Give business users more control

With this scenario, you give business users the ability to enter and test rates and product versions with start and termination dates all prior to the effective date of the changes.  Moving the work closer to the end user that
has the most hands on knowledge, while reducing the translation required in typical IT coding requests, dramatically increases the quality of the outcome.   The sophistication of the SAP versioning capability, along with the granularity of
changes that are possible, provides two strong differentiators in the market. 

With all product related information in one spot, the factory provides a single version of the product truth, and increases
the visibility of changes across the entire product portfolio to all designated users. This enhanced visibility helps support both quality improvements in development and implementation, and reduces the number of requests for changes.

The concept of a centralized product factory for configuration and product change management as well as for viewing completed products as a runtime component was central to the development of the SAP technical
architecture.

SAP Innovation

Over a period of ten years, working with multiple companies in several countries, SAP has refined the separation required to enable a common configuration factory – and one that allows product information
to be published in a way that can be consumed by a wide variety of applications. 
So a business person can step through the calculations and process in a sandbox prior to publishing. This new layer of
testing leads to the improved quality as experienced by our customers. 

We have successfully integrated this level of product agility into Web portals and digital front ends for brokers and employees, as well as into self-service capabilities for end customers.   Integration with CRM, claims, and billing systems, as well as multiple legacy policy administrative environments means you can publish to 30+ different systems of varying technologies.

One of our customers told us that with this innovation from SAP, it was better able to respond to fluctuations in the marketplace, all while improving quality and speed to market.

This is a third blog focused on Product Agility, more information can be found in my prior two blogs:

Speed and Flexibility: The New Mantra For the Insurance Industry

Insurance Product Development: Streamline the Entire Process for Speed-to-Market Advantage 

Interested in finding out more? Why not discover how SAP is helping insurance companies around the
world turn product agility into significant competitive advantage. 

I look forward to your Thoughts. Please follow me on Twitter @Mike_Key.

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  1. Danilo Buttarello

    Excellent, this third part complement the other two and closes the series giving a small taste of the integration between the downstream systems and the product configuration tool.

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