The introduction of the iPad has forever changed software users' perspectives as to what they consider acceptable software; and most have no real awareness that these devices have so dramatically impacted their perspectives. The tablet marketplace has had the greatest impact on software evolution since Windows versions 3.1 and 95.
These tablet devices, which are readily available at our fingertips, multiple to the household and most importantly incredibly easy to adapt to when paired with the right software applications, fit perfectly into the insurance sales environment. This is especially true when the technology leverages and builds upon existing knowledge of a forms-focused sales experience. By providing the sales force with flexible, device agnostic and in-good-order data capture with direct on-screen e-signature capabilities, you provide an invaluable process to the end user.
So, why is this important? What business value does all this provide?
In just four short years, tablet form factor computing has provided software designers with the flexibility to provide a value proposition to financial advisors. This is possible because it leverages their existing business processing knowledge in such a way that provides value that ignites a desire to adapt and adopt. By implementing automated business processes that utilizes the flexibility and mobility of these technological devices, advisors realize an overall cost, time and processing benefit, seeing valuable ROI. These technology capabilities advances sales to a new level for advisors by enabling them to expedite sales processing in today's demanding environment.
It's truly amazing when we look back at past software as to what was acceptable to the general population of end users. Historically, change within this space hasn't been triggered by end users clamoring for new technology; rather it has been driven by compliance, oversight and recordkeeping. Now, end users are more rapidly changing their outlook and desire for instant gratification via technology as they see platforms that leverage what's possible.
But how did we get here? What are the factors that caused this evolution? Did the iPad suddenly open technologists' eyes to what is possible? Was it simply the intuitiveness or immediate ease of use capabilities?
You could build an argument for each of these questions. However, it all began with the introduction of the iPad and it has not been apparent to most people that this impact has even happened. It's only in hindsight, leveraging sales and usage statistics, along with anecdotal experiences, that the impact of mobility is becoming clear.
What started with entertainment focused applications on the iPad has now proliferated into the business world. What was once viewed as an escape from boredom on long flights has become a mission critical component to the insurance industry and a valuable tool for financial advisors.
Just as early software for the computer meant having an application installed locally, the impact of the tablet computing phenomenon has followed the same path in beginning with a locally installed application from the app store. Now computing is using a cloud-based software as a service, providing a device-agnostic software experience. Moving from your desktop to your tablet and back to your desktop leveraging the same end user experience is providing the kind of value and flexibility that has never been available before.
These behavior-changing technology advances provide a value we didn't really know was possible. They are leveraged in a way that makes our lives, whatever that is, easier. It makes us look at things differently without forcing change--rather it makes us desire the change.
About the author: Jim Ferrell is VP of Product Management for Insurance Technologies. He is in charge of defining marketplace entry and compliance necessary to ensure product alignment with client business needs. He is actively engaged within industry organizations including IRI, DTCC and ACORD.