Tag: Insurance.

Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the other industries are developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. Last six months, Service2Media gathered a series of stories, opinions, cases, white-papers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps. Each article was accompanied with an infographic. To conclude the series on app development, we combined the infographics into one infographic on the decisions faced when setting up the strategy, people and processes for app development.

#1: User driven vision as a basis for your app strategy – Focus from products to customers – Read article

#2: Advantages for in-house development vs. outsourced  app development - Read article

#3: How to manage a growing app portfolio? – Read article

#4: Develop apps for tasks not for processes – Systems of engagement – Read article 

#5: The six pillars for integration of mobile app technology in the enterprise – Read article

#6: Extend the app lifecycle – Read article

#7: How to use push for customer engagement – Context, relevancy, engagement - Read article

#8: Overview of security and privacy in mobile app development- Read article

#9:  Learnings & Basics Scrum for app development – Read article

Infographic App Development Steps

For successful app development you need the right people, technology and processes. For this week’s article we interviewed our project managers. They encounter the challenges and strengths of app development in their daily work, and have learned to incorporate Scrum methodology in app development projects.

What makes app development and Scrum a good match (vs. waterfall)?

Mobile app development is a highly dynamic process, as OS updates, (design) trends and non-mobile optimised back-ends influence app development projects. Next to that, Scrum invites the customer to modify the requirements slightly during the project. Although the initial requirements are still the starting point, the actual customers needs are most important. During the process clients become more educated on the opportunities of app development. They receive additional budgets, scale up development or extend the project scope, influencing the apps’ roadmap. On the downside, customers learn that app development is rather unpredictable and does not happen in insulation.

Compared to waterfall, Scrum enables clients to approach us with their changed needs and gives them milestone checkpoints to compare the deliverable with the required result. The waterfall method is more like carving the requirements in stone, putting them in a black box and hoping for an accurate end result. In the case of a mismatch between the requirements and the end result, scrum gives the possibility to rectify it within the same budget. In a finalised waterfall-based project, it is very likely that all budgeted development hours will have been used.

What are the four characteristics of Scrum that add most value to the quality of the project?

- Team Engagement: Developers work in empowered, motivated and self-organised teams, in which developers commit themselves to a sprint delivery. The client is part of the project team and as a team they are responsible for the product.
- Exposes Wastefulness: In app development it is key to focus first on the 20% functionality that will be used by 80% of the users. Frequent testing, feedback and milestone deliveries to stakeholders contribute to the quality of the end-result.
- Customer Centric: Scrum helps to define and meet the expectations of the customer by refining and polishing the end result.
- Adaptive and lightweight: Scrum has transparent steps and fewer bureaucratic processes as the priorities and speed of development are adaptive.

Great. But what are the pitfalls of Scrum?

In app development, Scrum can’t deal with fixed date, fixed price and fixed scope, whilst still providing flexibility in the process to the customers. As a result, Scrum has a higher risk of scope creep. Unless there is a definite end-date, project stakeholders are tempted to demand new functionality. Furthermore, Scrum requires more experienced software developers, as they need to deal with uncertainties, make assumptions, and give accurate estimations on development hours for functionalities. Making good estimations is extremely difficult for novice developers, as they tend to be too positive.

Scrum does not mean: let’s just start and see where this ends up. Clients need to be advised as to what they can refine in each sprint or stage of the development process. Each acceptance and every finalised sprint narrows down their options for adjustment.

basics-of-scrum

Basics of Scrum:

Sprint Planning: Success is clearly defined using the “definition-of-done” set up by customers in their role as product owner. The product owner is involved in the project and can adjust the output by setting priorities on the work to be developed.

Daily Stand- up: The team has daily updates on the progress. Each team member has several minutes to give a summary of the work done the day before, the tasks and priority for the upcoming day and possible relevant obstacles.

Sprint review & retrospective: The sprint review is a natural result of the end of a sprint and is held when the customer receives a working app. In addition, the way of working is discussed to improve for example the teamwork, productivity or quality.

Refinement: The discussion with the product owner about the roadmap for the app, is on whether to optimise or improve the product.

In this article we discuss the security and data privacy of mobile apps. We’ve learned through our App Review initiative that at least 75% of apps show insecure and vulnerable designs or implementations. Derk Tegeler, Security Director at Service2Media advises our clients in mobile security. Read his short overview of app security and privacy.

Find out why mobile is different from desktop when it comes to security and discover the most important measures you need to take into account.

Mobile vs. Desktop

There are many reasons why security on mobile devices is different from the desktop or the web. Mobile devices are truly mobile. They are used everywhere; in the car, in the train, tram and bus and very often in public spaces. They can be lost, stolen, resold or thrown away, possibly exposing dangerous data to an unintended audience.

After dissecting all the potential dangers we have seen a structure emerging: storage, communication and the apps themselves.

privacy and security for mobile

1. Storage

Data stored on the device should be protected against prying eyes (or apps). This can easily be solved with encryption or by rendering leaked data unusable. Encryption needs to be done carefully and can be a pitfall in itself.

2. Communications

Similar to storage, communicating data through open lines invites its own set of confidentiality problems. Interception, or ‘the man-in-the-middle-attack’, is the number one problem with networks. This can occur due to rogue Wi-Fi hotspots, challenges with the current public key infrastructure and lawful (and less lawful) interception. Mitigation measures exist and should be carefully selected and implemented.

3. Apps

The apps themselves or the libraries apps use are often poorly written and potentially leak data. The paramount user experience requires a different thinking when designing apps, strengthening the need for good threat modelling and novel mitigation measures.

Although not explicitly required by law, this starts with threat modelling, which is nothing more than a formalised security analysis. This model shows the weak points of a system and enables the design of an exhaustive pallet of mitigation measures.

The Law: New European Requirements

Many data protection acts require the app manufacturer to implement ‘appropriate measures’ to protect against loss or leakage of personal data. Upcoming European directives will tighten the requirements with regards to overall responsibility; data location and opt-in. Proposals are under review to levy hefty fines for organisations found to be in breach.

The premise for secure apps is:

Do not trust a mobile device, and if you must, take appropriate measures. We urge you to consider your potential data confidentiality and integrity issues with great care, and rely on experienced mobile players.

More blogs from our Security Director, Derk Tegeler: How to build secure apps – creating a chain of trust (september 2013)


In this eight article we discuss the use of push messaging to set up an engaging messaging channel towards your customer.

In the few years that push messaging has existed, it has grown from a rough and simple message service to one of the most powerful and sophisticated customer communication channels available. This popularity can be attributed to three factors: context, relevancy and engagement.

Push Messaging: Context Relevance Engagement

Context

Customers seem to adapt well to push messages. They are offering you the unique privilege of directly communicating with them on their most personal device, their mobile phone. Moreover, they allow you to do this via an opt-in, actively showing you that they appreciate receiving your messages.

Customers want to receive the right message at the right moment, and the mobile phone is the ideal ‘context measuring device’ to provide location-, time- or environmental context. Customers want to be in control. They want to be able to set preferences so that the messages they receive are not intrusive.

Relevancy

At the starting point of the messaging chain, the enterprise is responsible for the content of the message. The enterprise should craft its messages carefully and in such a way that they are relevant to the customer. This means that attention needs to be paid to customer segmentation, probably right up to the individual level to make a relevant message-customer match. Connecting push services to marketing information systems, customer relationship management systems or other knowledge bases in the enterprise is therefore critical to the success.

Increased engagement

The voluntary context of push where users allow you to access them via their mobile device, combined with the proper back-end creation of relevant messages, form the basis of using push messaging as an engagement platform for the customer.Context and relevancy are required enablers for engagement.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact any of us at any time, or just click here.

 

Mobile Apps CX Workshop

Workshop Mobile CX and the use of Push Messaging:

Are you interested to join use for a customer experience (CX) Workshop and find out how mobile applications or push messaging can help to improve your customers experience? Learn more.

Workshop evaluations from other clients and partners:

“Interactive Workshop”; “Helps to link apps to the overal marketing and customer experience strategy”; “Well prepared and gives direct point of improvement for our mobile app development”; “Helps to prioritise on apps and use cases that matter most”.

Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the insurance industry is developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. In the coming period, Service2Media will present you with a series of stories, opinions, cases, whitepapers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps and their app lifecycle.

In this article we discuss the use of an App Lifecycle Platform to manage your app portfolio throughout the full lifecycle of all of your apps.

My app is ready, what is next?

After you have developed, tested and released your app to the app stores, you can safely close the project and look for the next app project. Or…?

We don’t think so. Your app needs to be future-proof, and the future is fluid.

An average app has a lifecycle of a few years. In these years, it will need to be available and supported, regardless of what happens in the mobile industry:

  • New devices will enter the market. Larger screens, higher resolutions, and new hardware capabilities may lead to the need for modifications to the app to service the maximum reach of customers.
  • Mobile operating systems will certainly have major new releases or will significantly change. Functionality that you use might be deprecated. This could lead to the need for refactoring or redesign work on your app.
  • New mobile operating systems, like Tizen or Firefox OS will become available. You will need to be able to react quickly and have your app available for these OSs.
  • New features may be required to compete against the competition.
  • Bugs might be found that need to be fixed, backend changes could occur that require update of the app interfaces.

Furthermore, this is the time the app needs to justify its existence by generating revenue, customer engagement, acquisitioning new business, maximising retention or by improving operational efficiency. Your analytics monitoring may lead to new insights in app user profiles or use cases. It could be of great benefit to modify the app according to this improved knowledge.

Therefore, you need to manage your app over its full lifecycle. It needs to be maintained, tested, supported and updated regularly. An App Lifecycle Platform is of great help for that.

How to extend the app lifecycle

With an App Lifecycle Platform, you can manage and control these fragmentation problems, now and in the future. Design your apps once, deploy them on multiple devices and evolve them throughout their lives.

You get efficient multi-OS app development tools, there is no need for native coding, a maximal user experience is guaranteed and you get an enterprise grade basis for your app development street:

  • Productivity tools for multi-OS development and maintenance of mobile apps.
  • Standardisation within existing defined IT architectures and infrastructures.
  • Overall manageability and security of mobile apps.
  • Shorter time to market.
  • Predictable cost levels.
  • Offering best in class user experiences.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact any of us at any time.

In this article we discuss the integration of mobile technology in your enterprise.

Your enterprise app portfolio needs to integrate in a robust way in the backend information systems. These apps drive internal business and operative processes, making them core and critical. Integration is therefore important in many levels of the organisation:

Integration of mobile in the enterprise

Integration of security

Since the developed apps tie into the backend systems of the company, privacy and security are of major importance. Mobile apps take business critical data ‘off premises’, therefore security needs to be managed well. All security layers, ranging from the protection of data cached on the device, via secure network transport, to authentication and authorisation towards backend services, need to be in place and need to be designed into the system from the beginning.

Integration of data

Data used in the apps needs to be accessible by the app. This means that the enterprise data needs to be available via data services that tie into the complex backends used by the insurance company. Connections using standards and open source like OData, when necessary combined with vendor specific interfaces, e.g. SAP SMP or direct SAP connections, can be realised.

Integration of development process

The development tool chains used for mobile development need to integrate in the existing development infrastructure. Version management, documentation and build systems need to be compatible with existing systems and fit in the quality management system used.

Integration and re-use of custom components

Besides the obvious efficiency advantages of re-use of code and custom components, this also offers large advantages in security, quality control and reliability of the developed solutions. Furthermore, it captures and keeps intellectual property inside the company.

Integration of maintenance

As the developed apps rely on the backend as information source and store, their update strategy needs to match the one from the backend. At the same time, the mobile app needs to be updated when the mobile operating systems are updated or when new systems are introduced to the market. Finally, the apps as developed for the different mobile operating systems should have similar functionality across these operating systems. Maintenance, service desk and support processes need to be in place for this.

Integration of push services

Besides unified access to the push networks of the mobile operating system providers, access via a secure API is of vital importance for the enterprise. Sending notification messages is often an automated process and not a manual operation, so bypassing a portal and direct API access of the push service is important. In this way, an automated mechanism can be created, helping to keep apps relevant and on the user’s attention horizon.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact any of us at any time.

In this article we will discuss the interaction between user tasks and company processes and how a successful mobile app should intermediate in this.

Apps for tasks:

Modern customers want to help themselves by interacting directly with company data without having to rely on a support desk, phone call or e-mail. In return, the customer expects direct and personal contact from the company when something of his particular interest occurs. Mobile apps are well suited to support such a task-oriented approach and therefore apps can be seen as an extra functionality layer on top of the automated processes the company already uses, for example simple apps for entering or reviewing your expenses, or apps to request holidays or reporting sick leave. The damage claim app, discussed in last week’s article, gave a perfect example of a task that has a ‘natural fit’ with a mobile app.

Systems of record and systems of engagement

Most companies use IT systems in their organisation. These systems process and store business related or company related information and are developed to enable, assist or optimise company processes. Examples of these systems are a customer database, financial software, a library with product information or an overview of current stock positions of the goods in the warehouse. These internal systems are referred to as ‘systems of record’. Their primary task is to support business processes.

The company’s customers reside outside the company. These customers have a relationship with the company and therefore have the need for a dialogue with the company. They are not directly interested in the internal processes, but have a strong interest in what the company can do for them. This is the domain of mobile apps. Mobile apps are developed to manage the dialogue from a customer-oriented perspective: they are customer task oriented and not internal process oriented. We call these ‘systems of engagement’. Systems of engagement are crucial for customer satisfaction. When a customer needs to deal with a system of records directly, it often does not match his task and this could lead to a ‘moment of misery’, something that is counter productive for the relationship between the company and the customer. On the other hand, a good system of engagement can lead to a superior customer experience and make the difference between you and the competition.

Apps systems of engagement task oriented approach

Matching the key to a good app:

A good app speaks the language of the customer. It is a system of engagement. It should provide a task oriented front end, helping the customer to reach his goals. At the other (invisible) end, the app should be able to connect to the right systems of record to retrieve and store the data needed for the task. Matching and connecting these systems is key to a good app. This means that there is often not a direct connection between the app and the backend, but that the app needs to retrieve and combine data from several sources. Optimisation of this using a mobile backend or proxy database will therefore be required in many situations.

Next week we will dive into enterprise integration. We will discuss how to connect your mobile app in order for it to talk to your existing internal systems and receive data back.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact us.

Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the insurance industry is developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. In the coming period, Service2Media will present you with a series of stories, opinions, cases, white-papers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps in the insurance industry.

Customer Journey: Moment of misery

On her way to the office this morning, Jane tried to make her way through the usual traffic jams. Unfortunately, the guy in the car behind her was not paying enough attention. When she slowed down while approaching heavy traffic, the driver of the other car reacted too late and connected with the back of Jane’s car. Fortunately no one was hurt, but her car was mildly damaged. Of course, she wasn’t carrying her insurance info or damage claim forms, and the sticker with emergency phone numbers on her car window was worn and unreadable. She was on the highway and it was dark and cold and it had started to rain.

Customer Journey - Service App

In user experience technology, the situation above is classified as a ‘moment of misery’. It is very important for the insurance company to help Jane in this particular situation. If they succeed in doing so, Jane will be happy and the insurance service will have impressed her. It will have impressed her more than any marketing campaign could do and will guide her to a stronger, longer term relationship with the insurance company.

Saved by the Damage Claim app

A mobile ‘damage claim app’ can be used as an effective instrument to assist in the case described above. It can give relevant service information and can guide users through the tasks that need to be performed in a transparent and effective way. Another strong advantage is that modern mobile phones contain functionality that is especially suited to help in this situation.

The damage claim app can help in useful ways:

  • It can give step by step instructions on how to act when the user is involved in an accident, making sure the user follows the right protocols,
  • The camera in the phone can be used to collect a video and/or photographic evidence,
  • The GPS receiver in the phone can register the location of the accident within an accuracy of better than ten metres.

Other possible functionalities that could be included:

  • The app can give relevant information like phone numbers or maps to local police stations, garage companies and other emergency services, offering a push button to directly call the relevant numbers,
  • The app can function as an insurance wallet, e.g. it can contain critical policy info and a copy of the insurance card,
  • All collected data can be submitted immediately via the phone’s internet connection for processing to the insurance company.

Jane was lucky to have the damage claim app on her phone. She only needed to follow the step by step process of registering the damage and entering the claim at the spot. She even called the nearest garage and received help in minutes. The mobile app significantly relieved her ‘moment of misery’.

Advantages of a Customer Experience Approach:

The above case illustrates the use of a damage claim app as a task oriented, relevant and suitable solution for the customer, all leading to a higher service level towards the customer, more loyalty and an increased basis for a long term customer relationship.

Second, the app provides direct advantages for the insurance company as well:

  • Higher quality input including GPS location, multimedia to make a better assessment,
  • No rewriting of paper process,
  • Instant feed into the company IT systems, cleaner claim entry.

Next week we will discuss the interaction between user tasks and company processes and how a successful mobile app should intermediate in this.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact any of us at any time, or just click here. 

 


Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the insurance industry is developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. In the coming period, Service2Media will present you with a series of stories, opinions, cases, whitepapers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps and mobile app portfolio management.

Lots of apps!

Insurance companies often have large portfolios of mobile apps. One reason for this is that the business is multi-faceted; there are often multiple insurance brands and multiple market plans, each having their own business strategies and corresponding internal company processes. Second, there are many types of insurances such as car, life, house, damage, health, unemployment and pension that can benefit from mobile apps, sometimes used multiple times in rebranded versions.

Just as in the case for app development centres, it makes sense to see whether it would be useful to manage all these apps in a centralised way rather than setting up multiple overlapping app management processes in the company’s different business departments.

achmea-devices

What is an app portfolio?

As mobile app acceptance in the insurance enterprise succeeds, an evolution can be seen taking place, from the earlier lead and ownership in app development in the separate business departments and brands towards the enterprise’s IT departments. IT actively takes charge of managing the consolidated lifecycles of the mobile apps in the enterprise. After the introduction of app development centres, consolidation of the company’s mobile apps in managed portfolios is a subsequent, evident step in this direction. Managing your mobile apps via a portfolio strategy can have several advantages:

  • Measure. Deliver a wide and integrated overview of the KPI measurements you set for your apps, whether they are internal enterprise apps, apps for your sales channel or apps for your end users. See which apps are used, which are not, when they are used and how they are used. Use this feedback to optimise existing business processes and to make forecasts and plans.
  • Monitor. Monitor your app portfolio in real time. Register and analyse crashes, exceptions and other problems. Minimise the resolution time, reduce crashes and improve up time.
  • Control. Have full control of the distribution of your apps and their access to shared back-end services. Unlike traditional desktop apps, you have much more control over the distribution of your mobile apps. Using mobile device and application management techniques, you can fully control your apps, even when they are already on the device. You can update, install or revoke software installations, manage user- and backend access and wipe sensitive data when necessary, all remotely.

manage-your-app-portfolio-measure-monitor-control

Closing the circle

App portfolios fit in the same product lifecycle as the app development centres described in the previous blog; they seamlessly connect and together make a powerful mobile app lifecycle proposition for multiple apps, where the insights gained during the active life of the app can be used as powerful input to improve the quality of next app releases or extensions of the portfolio, retaining customers and users, and increasing engagement. This has a positive influence on the business results.

Second, such an approach eliminates duplicated processes in the enterprise, resulting in improved efficiency, higher quality and better process control, having direct positive influence on the business cost.

Next week we will dive into a practical use case for insurance, the damage claim app.

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact any of us at any time, or just click here.

Case Study: Achmea: Achmea’s App Factory

achmea-leafletAbout: The app portfolio in the insurance industry is a widely discussed topic. This paper elaborates on the App Factory initiative at Achmea, a large Dutch insurance group, to execute their app portfolio strategy. To respond to this vision, Achmea introduced their own app center: The Achmea App Factory, a complete in-house app development and maintenance ‘assembly line’. The App Factory is a special department within the company’s IT organisation, fully geared towards efficient production and management of apps.

download button

Following the early move of media apps and banking into the mobile arena, now the insurance industry is developing mobile technology as one of their key communication and service channels towards their customer. In the coming two months, Service2Media will present you with a series of stories, opinions, cases, whitepapers, interviews and webinars to sketch our views on apps and app development centers

Last week we explained that a user driven vision is key for your company’s app strategy. We explained that the insurance industry has interesting opportunities to service and engage their customers using mobile apps. These opportunities originated from several characteristics of the insurance processes and the maturity of the digitalisation in these organisations.

in-house vs outsourced app development

App development centre

The choice between in-house development and outsourced development for insurance companies is not a trivial one, but depends on a number of complex factors. Second, this choice is not a one-time choice but needs to be reconsidered when the situation changes, or it can even involve a gradual transition plan from outsourced to in-house development.

One of the possible outcomes of this evaluation is the setup of an app development centre; a complete in-house app development, deployment and maintenance ‘assembly line’. The centre is a special department within the company’s IT organisation, fully geared towards efficient production and management of apps.

By centralising the app development in-house in an app development centre, the insurance company creates an environment for robust app development:

  • The development processes used will be scalable.
  • Knowledge will be secured inside the company.
  • The entire app lifecycle will fit completely within the company’s quality, risk and cost control environment.

Scalable development process

The development processes used for app development will be scalable in several ways. First, setting up libraries of components will make re-use of these components feasible. Basic functionality like communication protocols, encryption, authorisation and authentication, back-end connectors and CMS connections can be developed once and can be used whenever needed through the entire app portfolio of the enterprise.

Second, re-using these components will result in clear and common functionality for the end user that is shared across multiple apps. The user will recognise parts of the app easily and therefore the learning curve will be less steep.

Third, when components are created that interact directly with the end user, it is much easier to maintain the corporate design guidelines and keep a coherent appearance of the app portfolio. At the same time, changes in these design guidelines will propagate much easier through the app portfolio of the company.

Using these building blocks, the developer gets a powerful head start in developing new apps and the app creation efficiency increases.


Case Study: Achmea: Achmea’s App Factory

achmea leaflet app factoryAbout: The app portfolio in the insurance industry is a widely discussed topic. This paper elaborates on the App Factory initiative at Achmea, a large Dutch insurance group, to execute their app portfolio strategy. To respond to this vision, Achmea introduced their own app center: The Achmea App Factory, a complete in-house app development and maintenance ‘assembly line’. The App Factory is a special department within the company’s IT organisation, fully geared towards efficient production and management of apps.

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Securing knowledge

During the app development cycle, knowledge will be captured and employees will gain expertise. Knowledge about app development, automation of certain business processes, interfaces and data connectors, all will contribute to the accumulated knowledge and intellectual property inside the company, resulting in value increase.

Quality, risk and cost control

The in-house app development centre is an integral part of the company. The department’s interfaces will mainly be internal, simplifying the communication. The entire app lifecycle will match the company quality, risk and cost control environment.

Next week we will introduce app portfolios. What options does one have to setup, manage and maintain an app portfolio?

Besides our side of the story, we are also extremely interested in your own thoughts and opinions. We would love to learn your vision, remarks, comments on what we say and start a dialogue or a discussion with you on this subject. Feel free to contact us.

 

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