How Warta uses agility to create a new sales system

Warta’s strategic approach puts its agents and customers at the centre of the action. This is reflected in the day-to-day activities of the Polish insurance company.

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Published in June 2020 Author: Dawid Korszeń / Supported by MDP-Team “Agile me!“

The key distribution channels in the Polish insurance market are mainly multi-agents who cooperate with a large number of insurers operating in the market – compared with tied agents who sell the products of a single insurer and are a minority in Poland. It is therefore essential for insurers to provide agents with easy-to-use, comprehensible and intuitive solutions. This includes the entire system of insurance products, IT solutions, business processes and contractual arrangements.

This is why Warta decided to provide a key element for this system in the form of a brand-new, integrated sales and after-sales IT platform for its agents. The new solution should be a perfect fit with the needs of Warta’s agents. With this in mind, the colleagues at Warta made every effort to set up the project as successfully as possible. They identified two key factors for success:

  1. Early involvement of the end users (agents) in system creation and design with a high level of commitment.
  2. Use of flexible agile methods for system delivery.

 

The key users were involved in the early design of the system and they also played an active role at every stage later on in the process: during development, final testing and in the pilot phase. Their input was very valuable to the colleagues at Warta – and the solution was modified along the journey in order to take account of suggestions put forward by the agents. An important principle is that the sooner you define a change in the IT solution the more cost-effective the solution becomes.

In view of the competition in the marketplace, the project team concentrated on convenience and usability during developing the solution. The team analysed various ways of working including the approach to new sales, renewals and production settlements.

Lukasz Piskorski, Project Manager at Warta
Photo: Warta

“We have designed a system on this basis that empowers efficient work to take account of various business models and different business scales. Our ‘eAgent’ is a common working environment for our agents and their team members: sales managers, back-office employees and underwriters. The agents involved in the design process have become the solution’s ambassadors during ramp-up and allies in social media discussions. This cooperation model has been a success and we are continuously adding new functionalities and products,” commented Lukasz Piskorski, Project Manager at Warta.

The team was confident that using the agile method will shorten the lead time to rollout and ultimately deliver better results. Warta’s experience in the past has demonstrated that using the traditional waterfall method for delivering complex projects is very challenging.

Monika Muszyńska, Head of the Sales Technology Department
Photo: Warta

“When using the agile approach to delivery, we have constantly been verifying our outcomes with the agents and we have incorporated their feedback into our solution. Such a flexibility is not possible in the waterfall approach. We started implementation at the beginning of 2016 and six months later we were already delivering the first tangible result to the production environment – sales dashboards. The main part of the project – sales processes for our key products – was launched in the second quarter of 2016 and production had gone live by the end of 2017,” explained Monika Muszyńska, Head of the Sales Technology Department.

The response from agents was very positive from the first day when the new system was up and running – over 60 percent of them rated the new system and the rollout process as “good” or “very good”. Results like these are extremely encouraging – the introduction of a new sales system is always a challenge and constitutes a source of disruption in the routine of agents’ daily work.

One of key benefits of Warta’s approach – agile and high level of user involvement – is the limited training required to work with our new solution. Once the agents had started working in eAgent, they got along very well.

Video
eAgent is being tested by members of the management board and sales network directors.

The project team is continuously using analytical tools to monitor the solution with the aim of improving the efficiency of system utilisation. The performance of individual modules and the way they are used are being analysed. This makes it easy to identify areas that already ideally fulfil their functions and to highlight areas that require modification, enrichment of tooltip or further in-depth product and sales training.

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