In my last post I gave a perspective on the changing industry dynamics and what organizations should leverage on to outpace the challenges with their next-gen transformation journey. In this post, I will delve into each of those success factors and see how it drives successful transformation amongst organizations.
The technology landscape of the future will be product based, each being fast, flexible, easy to maintain and mutually compatible with other solutions. IT Solutions will become a conglomeration of products solutions from competing firms working in synchrony. For example, a CRM solution will involve best of breed innovative core products like Kana Enterprise, Verint Workforce management coupled with value accelerator products around mobile CRM like ZineOne/Nuance and WhatsApp. IT departments will not have the luxury of treating non-core products as "nice to have" since business wants the whole nine yards to differentiate.
So how do we ensure successful execution of this multi-product strategy? There are two fundamental changes that can provide the key to this new delivery paradigm. The first is around program management. Gone are the days where we could follow the standard IT siloed waterfall approach. Program management needs to be far more holistic to manage emerging business requirements, invest more in stakeholder management as it grapples with a multitude of product partners and be far more flexible as we learn and unlearn during the process. There is a reason many organizations are imbibing the culture of agile, as it does help lead to success. When your user stories change frequently, business value is expected faster. Agile development guided by a strong multi-faceted program management team becomes an important constituent of success.
The second driver will be access to specialized talent. In today's world, we see an inordinate proportion of dependencies on critical and specialized talent - unfortunately needed in larger numbers for a specialized solutions landscape. Disparate technology means disparate skill sets to build and service them. The skill sets for the future will be specialized, with fewer talent pools and will geographically scattered. As a technology service provider, traditional methods of IT delivery with a dedicated development center, housing large number of resources, may not be the most efficient approach. IT departments in Insurance companies are not equipped to manage this multitude of technology & the skills needed for it. Increasingly, a specialist in a product or technology may feel that maximization of her return will involve being able to her services on demand, at a moments' notice. Could the solution to this changing labor landscape be the emerging on-demand work economy?
The surge and success of the on-demand work economy has taken many by surprise. As the recent edition of The Economist reasons out, cheap computing & changing social habits are fuelling this work trend faster than ever. It is already estimated that the United States has over 53 Million workers working as freelances1. The trend is not only limited to creative or operational jobs but extends to strategic and transformation leading roles as well. We are seeing Tier 3 insurance firm's staff key program managers and product expert roles from temp pools, to run strategy change programs. However, specialized technologies still experience a shortage of key resources. The on demand workforce allows specialized workers to split between different deployments and clients over an extended lifecycle.
This is the right time for vendors and Insurance IT departments to aggressively experiment in freelance project execution. We have to select the right projects, collaborating with competition, establishing stronger alliances, freelancer profile authentication and validation, long-distance teamwork, supervision, payments, firewalls & VPNs, feedback management, monitor progress and build rating & recommendation engines to match scales. It will leverage cloud tools like Mobbr, elance, freelancer and other on-demand innovations.
In summary, firms, IT departments and vendors will be increasingly looking at embracing the on-demand economy to enable timely and cost effective transformation for the future. As they move from strategy to execution, we will need to relook at our workforce management approaches to project execution in order to address the specialized talent problem.