As all companies continue their journeys of digital transformation and with the ever-increasing influence of new technology, the way business is being conducted is fundamentally changing. Gone are the days when consumers had to wait for operating hours to get information, or for a physical, human interaction to complete transactions.
MIP believes that organisations need to make provision for today’s hyper-connected customers. Those that don’t, will end up losing customers to competitors who are transacting with them socially in the way in which they want to be communicated with.
Most consumers are already used to a highly digitised business environment, especially with millennials forming an ever increasing portion of the customer base – but this needs to be taken a step further. Today’s consumers are used to having always-on, always-connected communication with companies – whether it be through a responsive website, an application or social media. There is no longer room for one-way communication: people want a bi-directional conversation with the businesses that they deal with.
As a result, a “socialised” technology approach and strategy is necessary to building future-proofed industrial strength systems. Systems, people and media should all be hyper-connected. This has opened the heart of the business to the consumer, and where companies may have ‘massaged’ their data before, today’s apps and real-time processes allow consumers to see through the supply chain. This leaves very little room for organisations to ‘push’ communications on customers and hide flawed service levels. Many boards and CIOs are realising that it is not just a strategy to simply build an app. The real strategy is converting the app into an extension of the workforce. For example, a “socialised” app can replace a significant portion of a call centre function, new business capture or underwriting, and order entry for manufacturers or claiming in financial services!
The hyper-connected consumer base therefore expects responses in hyper time – just another major business process adjustment technology has forced on the overall supply chain of any business. This is opening the door to heavy-duty management systems. It really means that companies must architect the space between the legacy enterprise system and the “front-ends” consumers use to interact with businesses. These “front-ends” used to only be humans but in the next few years 99% of these “front-ends” will just be machines in different guises! Where humans are involved in the supply chain, new incentive systems such as gamification will manage service levels and response time back to consumers that will mimic the immediacy of machines! The term ‘B to C’ has been on the cards for a long time but now this term is being revolutionised and placed on steroids with the advent of “cognitive first” strategies in this new economically competitive landscape. MIP agrees with the statement that, “all companies are becoming technology companies”.
Automation is now permeating every enterprise, and it’s only going to increase as companies continue to look for efficiencies that will be gained from both process and predictive analytics. “Gartner predicted that 10% of all our online friends were going to be non-human by 2015. We are seeing this today, and 85% of all Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be – and in many cases, are being – answered by machines. As companies look to further reduce costs, this type of automation will become even more prevalent. Machines are going to consume the outbound basic service components of any company and the drive towards a knowledge economy is in full swing.
According to MIP, we are fast reaching the point where we are encountering the active equivalent of people sitting in “call centres”. Companies will have intelligent workflows managing our interactions with customers, answering FAQs and deciding where to route calls and queries. In light of this, apps, Internet of Things (IOT) or new digital front ends are becoming an increasingly important means of communication.
Apps allow for better responsiveness to customers, providing an avenue through which companies can directly interact with them. By apps allowing for one-on-one interactions, companies are able to collect even more data on their customers and use that to further tailor their offerings using ever maturing predictive analytics. In addition, the way apps or devices are designed makes them easy to connect to the back-end enterprise systems, and they are built to be service-orientated because they allow for personalised one-on-one communication all the time.
The one-on-one communication afforded by apps and devices has changed the way companies can – and do – talk to customers. Companies no longer have to wait for customers to be on the website, because with an app and chat, the customer is available in real time. Regardless of the fact that it may be automated, we have changed the dynamic by being able to send “Dear Joan” e-mails as opposed to “Dear Sir/ Dear Madam” e-mails. In addition, mobile devices enable notifications and chat, and there is a guaranteed consumer approved social technology reach that can’t be achieved otherwise: There’s no risk of security settings on a browser deleting or losing a communication sent to a customer. Likewise, how many times do important e-mails go to Internet clutter or spam folders as AI automation tries to clean your inbox, assuming it is only leaving relevant communication for you to deal with.
The continual generation of more relevant and useful big data through the above processes is becoming a valuable asset, but even more valuable is the ability to automate the relationship. Apps can provide automation to the point that they can escalate any communications in a service level driven environment to the right department in a company, and no human need to get involved until that point.
Irrespective of the type of administration system, a common set of components serves to better the user and customer experience. At MIP, we have grouped these common components, or modules, into what we refer to as the DIGITAL STACK components. The MIP DIGITAL STACK is designed with the needs of the business in mind and is a highly flexible and scalable component-based system that takes all the above into consideration. It focuses on various system areas, including:
Leads & Campaign Management allows you to manage large batches of sales leads or any other work, through configuration, to ensure that you meet the needs of your business.
To look at just a single use case, Leads & Campaign Management can be used together with its powerful workflow capabilities to process all your incoming leads – and help you convert them into new business. It manages the amount of work flowing into the business according to set parameters; do you only have capacity to process a set number of leads a day… or do you have a set amount of leads you want to process within a given timeframe? Don’t stress – configure your campaign and let the DIGITAL STACK do the heavy lifting for you. For each item in the campaign, a workflow will be created and driven through to completion – ensuring that work is done in a consistent manner.
Need to motivate your staff or drive targets? No problem! Combine Leads & Campaign Management and Workflow with Gamification to reward staff for the number of leads that were followed up and converted to new business.
Leads & Campaign Management are, however, not limited to managing incoming leads but can succesfully be used for any large batch of work, including outgoing work. To illustrate this with an example – as part of a collection rejection file, you may need to contact various customers to update banking details that were identified as incorrect. This can easily be managed by an outgoing campaign which will kick of an individual workflow per customer for which the collection failed. In the financial services world, Leads & Campaign Management can therefore play a significant role to manage the regulated requirement for “Treating Customer Fairly” or which is commonly referred to as TCF.
With the DIGITAL STACK’s ability to seamlessly integrate with the policy administration system, access its product information and combine it with the DIGITAL STACK’s powerful modules, including Business Rules, the sky is the limit!
The way in which work flows through an organisation is unique. It is in tuning and optimising these flows that companies gain a competitive advantage, allowing them to reduce costs and maximise customer engagement to deliver the best products and services possible. Business process management, through workflow, provides you with the ability to dictate the flow of work through your business and adapt quickly whenever change is needed. A major shift today is that the consumer is digitally connected to the business process and can therefore interact with, and adjust, a process in real-time.
The workflow module allows you to configure processes and flows of varying complexity. You can define re-usable activities that integrate with system and/or user interfaces and/or Apps and/or devices and reuse them in any number of processes.
To achieve an even greater amount of flexibility and reusability, processes can be nested as sub-processes. Extremely complex processes can be broken down into manageable and bespoke sub-processes, and then later combined into a single unified process.
In addition to deciding how items of work flow through the business, you also need to have an automated and configurable decision-making ability. There are always rules that influence a business decision – and these can be defined and managed through a business rules engine.
Business rules are rules that can be configured by business analysts using the familiar spreadsheet paradigm. Once hooked into the system’s existing business logic, these rules can be updated without the need for developers. This means that changes can be made to the system’s behaviour without having to compile or deploy code changes, keeping your business agile.
An example of typical business rules are rules that determine whether an applicant for a loan qualifies or not or even which interest rate the applicant will qualify for. A business rule interacting together with workflow may also be to route an incoming call by a customer to specific claims assessors, dependant on the size/extent of the claim. A minor claim might be auto-assessed whereas a more complex claim might be routed to an assessor. Rules could also be used to flag potential fraud.
Communication is central to an engaging customer experience and can be facilitated by our Communication Management Module through a variety of channels, including:
The DIGITAL STACK makes it easy to store all business-related documentation and to classify the content type for intelligent storage and linking to the appropriate meta-data in the system. For example, an ID document will be linked to the ID number of the person concerned whilst a photo of accident damage to a vehicle might be linked to the claim record concerned. Integration with system context makes for easy natural searching when combined with our powerful configurable indexing. The actual images can be stored in a 3rd party image repository system of your choice, or MIP can offer its standard product called Virtual Postman (VP).
The system is, however, generic in nature, allowing multimedia, other than only images, to be stored and linked to the appropriate data element as well. For example, a voice recording is stored in the same manner as an image of a document but the recording is linked to the actual call record or claim, as the case may be. Another typical example is mandates to collect premiums and the regulatory requirement to manage mandates. A mandate might be a signed document which is scanned and stored; an email received from the customer, or even a voice recording.
Gamification refers to the application of game elements to other areas of business or general life to encourage engagement with products and services. It can be a useful tool for incentivising, budgeting, and monitoring purposes.
Use the DIGITAL STACK to configure behaviours, group them into challenges, missions and levels, and attach rewards where applicable. Monitor and incentivise the desired behaviours to achieve your business’s goals.
Games can be configured for staff, intermediaries and customers to drive different aspects of the business and behaviour. It is also critical to understand that individuals and teams alike can be incentivised in this manner.
Gamification is tighly integrated to Workflow to ensure that the accumulation of points and badges is seamlessly achieved in the system and communicated to the participants as work progresses through its logical stages.
Good examples of where Gamification is used are: on leader boards in a call centre environment, or as mentioned earlier, to incentivise sales staff and teams to both churn leads and to convert leads into sales; or to incentivise a policy holder to regularly update mileage and service history of the customer’s insured vehicle, using the app.
In a business, a lot of larger batch-type system tasks need to be completed at set intervals and or times. The System Automation Module allows you to schedule routine tasks according to your unique requirements through an advanced scheduling engine.
All scheduled tasks are linked to a system user’s login, allowing for full auditibility.
Through our System Automation Module, long-running requests can be offloaded for asynchronous completion – such as a typical month-end process or billing run. High-load processes can also be scheduled for parallel processing, to reduce overall runtimes in large volume environments, catering for millions of in-force policies on one instance of the MIP platform.
The System Automation Module also seamlessly integrates with the other capabilities of the digital stack, such as Workflow and Enterprise Content Management. For example, a process that produces a monthly statement for all customers will also create the statement in Multimedia, and link it to the customer record, before mailing the statement to the customer.
Today’s services-oriented systems are required to interface with a variety of other systems – and the number of connections will continue to grow in the future, due to, amongst others, the advent of the Internet of Things (IOT).
The Universal Integration Module incorporates a very powerful and fully configurable data transformation tool that supports semantic mapping of data formats and code mapping of data elements, through numerous communication protocols. Whenever a new system needs to be included, there should be no need for code changes or deployments anymore – just configure the new routes into, and out of, the system. The integration tool will facilitate the integration of devices into an enterprise architecture.
The Consumer Timeline provides a single, centralised consumer calendar, that delivers a unified view across your business relationships and interactions, in almost the same way that Facebook gives a view of one’s life within the application. It allows for full visibility of resource utilization – of both human and physical resources within the business. All business entities and interactions, such as staff, intermediaries and customers, can be included. MIP sees this tool managing, protecting and disclosing the holistic view of a consumer relationship, that the “Protection Of Personal Information” (POPI) act will demand of all businesses in the future.
A classic example of a consumer timeline is managing a rules-based schedule of doctor’s visits for a diabetes patient, and the consequent recording of the insulin levels at those intervals.
In the legal insurance environemnt, one could manage the appointment between policy holder and legal advisor or in the vehicle insurance market, one could schedule the repair of a vehicle seamlessly in the system.
Stay in touch with your customers using the DIGITAL STACK’S Call Centre Module. Drive consistent and desired company/staff behaviour by using pre-configured templates based on your unique requirements and standards. The system will allow you to log and attach any call to any relevant policy, customer or other data element in the system. Combine our Business Processes Module and ensure that not a single call gets lost. The Call Centre Module can also be tightly integrated with your Telephony System. Likewise, the call centre templates can be used to expose “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ’s) on any front-end device, to any consumer and enrich with content specific to that consumer. This service becomes extremely powerful when used in conjunction with the Business Process Management Modules processes; and can be managed between the system, employees and consumers in real time.
Customers are required to complete questionnaires through various stages of a business process. These can be configured electronically, using the Questionnaires Module available within the DIGITAL STACK.
Configure your questions once and reuse them in as many questionnaires as required. Questionnaires can also be nested as sub-questionnaires to reduce setup, and to achieve a greater amount of flexibility and reusability. Questionnaires also support scoring, based on the answers provided when filling out an answer sheet.
When running multiple systems, it can be a challenge to present a unified view of a customer’s data. The DIGITAL STACK’s One Client view allows us to create a consolidated view of the customer.
The One Client View simplifies searching for customer data across multiple participating systems, making it easy for customer service staff (such as call centre agents, brokers and representatives) to have a complete view of the customer and thus to provide optimal customer service. This consolidated view can even be exposed directly to the customer through the App, or web site.
With a growing trend towards mobile device usage, MIP recognises the need to invest in its mobile strategy. To this effect, MIP has developed its own Mobile Apps Toolbox to fast-track the development of any app you might require.
The toolbox offers an ever-growing set of building blocks, including:
The MIP FINANCIALS is a fully-fledged web-based accounting system that can be implemented as a standalone system, or as an integrated solution with any of MIP’s policy administration systems.
Accounting information can be processed for multiple companies within a single database. This allows for the consolidation of company accounting information in any number of reporting structures. Multi-company organisations can process financial information without the need for time-consuming and error-prone data-conversions, manual capture, and recalculation between disparate systems.
Transactions can be processed in any number of currencies. Exchange rate tables can be pre-defined or corrected as actual information becomes available, with automatic posting of adjustments to the General Accounting module. All transaction processing within the MIP FINANCIALS supports triangulation in accordance with the requirement for financial transactions in all major currencies.
Accounting transactions for both General Sales Tax (GST) and Value Added Tax (VAT) types can be processed within MIP FINANCIALS. Multiple tax codes allow for the identification of applicable tax categories to every transaction. Tax rates can be defined with an effective date for every tax code used in the system. This facilitates completely transparent changeover, should tax rates change, as these can be set up in advance and will become effective on the specified date.
The organisational structures you are able to define allow you to maintain multiple accounts for all trading partners of a Company. This makes MIP FINANCIALS highly flexible in managing debtors and creditors in multiple accounts, yet allows for consolidation of information if required.
Through the very nature of business, all financial transactions for a fiscal period are not always captured when the month ends and management reports become due. The MIP FINANCIALS system facilitates the processing of transactions into prior financial periods if necessary. Access to this can be controlled using the DIGITAL STACK’s security module. Complete auditing of transactions is also available.
It focuses on various system areas, including:
The MIP FINANCIALS application brings a very high level of flexibility. Account types and transaction types can be configured to allow for processing any type of transaction for any type of account. General Ledger account codes and the usage of those codes in the various modules is highly customizable. This allows not only for an easily configurable and user-customisable accounting system, but makes for easy integration into other applications.
The MIP FINANCIALS Debtors and Creditors modules were created to use the same base in both design and layout. This makes for two modules that provide a predictable interface that is easy to navigate and control.
The two modules provide a very intuitive interface for processing invoices, payments, and credit notes. Identifying information such as reference numbers, addresses, contact numbers, contact people and their respective roles in organisations can be stored for any trading partner. Financial information such as banking details, credit status, trade references, tax numbers and tax exemption information is also standard.
Transaction processing can be backdated or future-dated into any open fiscal processing period – again subject to the security configured using the MIP DIGITAL STACK.
Recurring transactions can be set up once and will automatically be recreated in the selected fiscal periods. Comprehensive reporting makes key information available in a clear and concise format to allow for effective management of any business.
The MIP FINANCIALS General Ledger forms a powerful, highly customisable cauldron of financial information. A chart of accounts can be shared across multiple companies or restricted only to a specific company.
A structure of cost centres can be set up to allow for easy consolidation of financial information within a company, or a group of companies.
The General Ledger provides efficient entry of Journals – with complete tracking and drill-down into transactions. Drill-downs are also available on transactions that originated in modules other than the General Ledger.
A powerful budgeting facility makes the planning and tracking of business decisions easy and flexible.
The MIP FINANCIALS Cash Book supports multiple bank accounts per company. It also allows for pseudo bank accounts and can reconcile information for more than one bank account from one source of information.
Reconciliation is a highly-automated process and allows for the import of bank statement detail in a variety of formats. Matching of statements can be fully automated, semi-automated or completely manual. When integrated with the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable modules, reconciling a large number of transactions become easily manageable.
The MIP FINANCIALS Fixed Assets module provides an excellent solution for a sometimes very laborious business process. Fixed assets can be categorised in a number of user-defined categories.
Provision is made for stock take of assets, as well as insurance and lease information. Depreciation formulas are highly customisable and can be set up for book and tax purposes.
Integration into the General Ledger ensures that all financial information is automatically kept up to date.
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