Content services in insurance

Enterprise content management (ECM) has evolved and morphed over the years. Now, some are using the term content services to encompass a broader view of the access, management, and delivery of digital content to provide people with the right information when and where they need it. We are in the digital age, after all, so having a sophisticated ability related to digital content is essential for success in any organization.

For insurers, the capability is even more important because the product is digital and insurance companies collect, create, and use vast amounts of information. Insurers rely heavily on data, and they are increasingly gaining advantage by leveraging unstructured data.

What are content services?

Our view at Strategy Meets Action is that there were three original stages in the evolution of ECM systems: first, as using them for imaging and as a repository; second came advanced functionality like document workflow and new content; and third was an evolution into integrated content and process management.

With content services, we are talking about a fourth stage. A necessary stage in a world of rapidly expanding digital content, cloud computing, and new approaches for building and integrating systems.

What is the scope of content services? The big-picture view is that it enables content-as-a-service, delivering content in real-time to users via subscription models.

There are three types of capabilities you must bring together to create a modern content services solution:

1. A platform to support the management and delivery of content via cloud models

2. Apps to find, access, and use content

3. Content elements (images, e-mails, documents, video, and so forth)

What technical aspects should insurers consider?

Ultimately, a content services solution needs to manifest as a layer in the technical architecture. From a technical viewpoint, this has several dimensions.

First, the solution must support open systems and extensively leverage application programming interfaces (APIs). This type of approach allows insurers to implement new capabilities faster via the ability to integrate with existing systems more rapidly.

The second area – vital, but in its infancy – is microservices. This approach results in more fine-grained services (beyond large monolithic, components). With microservices, it is possible to engage in parallel development and more rapid testing, a requirement in today’s fast-paced world.

The third area is security and compliance. As insurers accumulate more digital content, especially content related to personally identifiable information (PII), it has become mandatory to have world-class security in place to manage that content.

In insurance, there is also a great deal of regulated content, so a content services solution must have extensive capabilities for versioning and analysis to ensure compliance.

Why are content services important to insurers?

Modern content services solutions are a central requirement for insurers as they strive to implement digital strategies. We are in a period of industry transformation. One in which insurers are leveraging new data sources, partnering with InsurTech startups, rethinking workflows, and continually driving out operational efficiencies.

It is challenging enough to effectively manage existing data sources – including digital documents, e-mail, social media, structured data feeds, and images, among others. Add in new data sources from smart homes, connected cars, drones, and other sources and the task becomes monumental. Yet there is enormous potential for insurers that can effectively capture, manage, and analyze data from all of these sources.

Insurers with legacy systems will find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the new opportunities presented by digital data. Leveraging content services – especially those that are integrated with sophisticated process management and case management capabilities – will be a hallmark of successful insurers in the digital age.

* Editors note: This is Strategy Meets Action’s view of content services. Click here to learn more about Hyland’s take on content services.

Mark Breading

Mark Breading

Mark Breading is a partner at Strategy Meets Action. Mark is a recognized expert in advanced technologies and their implications for the insurance industry. He has exceptional knowledge of the customer experience, analytics, digital content management, and maturing and emerging technologies. You can follow him at @BreadingSMA on Twitter.

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