Technology and innovation: Priorities for the new era of superannuation
Bravura Solutions conducted a poll of superannuation professionals at a recent conference in Melbourne, yielding some interesting results. We sought to ascertain the general sentiment in terms of business and technology priorities and what it will take to differentiate in this new era; post-GFC, post-SuperStream and post-MySuper – at the dawn of innovation.
Reaching for the cloud
As innovation and technology investment moves to the forefront, interest in the cloud is ramping up. When asked where their organisation was on its move to cloud based solutions, 93% of poll respondents were either already there, putting it on their agenda for the next three years, or thinking about it. The cloud is clearly well and truly on the radar for funds. Cloud based solutions will enable the necessary scale to survive in the post-MySuper environment, making it near imperative to have a plan in place to enter this new frontier. But what is going to drive this scale? How are funds going to attract the members they need to achieve the scale required to stay in the game?
Communication is king
A dominant theme apparent in the results is a desire to engage more effectively with members and enhance service levels. It seems that this will be an undisputable differentiator of the future, and a key buffer against industry consolidation. 41% said that customer service levels will be the key differentiator in the post-MySuper world, followed by 37% saying that it would be delivering consistent customer experience across all channels. When asked what their priority was in terms of innovation and technology, 46% of respondents elected personalised and targeted member communications, the biggest challenge to which would be customising communications based on an individual members’ life cycle (38%) and developing innovative real-time life cycle tools to engage with members (31%).
Statistics such as these show that rapid product innovation will be a key priority (36% say it’s their main priority), but that communication and engagement is pivotal. It seems that the common opinion is that the future will be defined by the ability to provide an excellent customer experience, and that this will be a key differentiator for funds going forward.
The question this begs is whether the existing technology in place at super funds will be a facilitator of this experience or an impediment. Funds should be asking themselves, “do I have a single customer view?”, “when my members contact the call centre, can they expect rapid service and to be presented with accurate, up-to-date information?”, “am I sending personalised, meaningful communications to my members, through the channels they use?”, “can my members interact with their fund online?”.
So, what does this mean for the future of technology?
Scalability, automation, flexibility, configurability and integration are key. Without technology that can fulfil these imperatives, achieving the scale, the agility and the depth of member understanding and interaction necessary will be difficult. These concepts will not be novel to funds, and the poll points to have been well and truly considered, with 21% saying that big data and predictive analytics technology investment will be necessary, 29% saying that funds will need to invest in business process management technology, and 36% believing funds will need to invest in mobile technologies.
Now is the time to ensure a tight ship IT-wise. Funds need to make sure they have the tools in place to unlock the best member experience possible in order to be ready to meet the challenges of a consolidating industry and increasingly competitive landscape.