A digital revolution has swept the globe over the last few decades. Twenty years ago, it was hard to imagine working without a PC on every desk. Then the flatscreen monitor banished the cathode ray tube forever. Today, life without constant internet access is unthinkable.
Recently, the pace of change has acceler- ated wildly. When smartphones first launched in 2008, just 17% of early adopters owned these revolutionary little devices. Ten years on, that figure had leapt to 78%.(1)
Many enterprising businesses have embraced digital transformation with incred- ible results. Who had heard of Uber, Airbnb or Monzo Bank 10 years ago? As customers flock to book rides, reserve rooms or bank online, Monzo’s revenues increased by 241% in 2019,(2) while Airbnb enjoys a global compound annual growth rate of 153%.(3)
The key question is, should the corporate advisory industry follow suit?
In a word, yes. Employers (clients) are weary of the time-consuming headache of paper- based employee benefits administration. Evaluating the success of a benefits scheme without instant data access is challenging. Many valuable policies languish unused by employees because, in this notification-fuelled era, they don’t get enough reminders. It’s a missed opportunity to ensure that they under- stand what their employer provides and how it could support their families.
Employees are hungry for digital delivery. There are thousands of tech-savvy, device- wielding workers who want to update their life assurance or health cover as easily as order- ing a pizza. If protecting our health and our families is far more important, shouldn’t it be just as easy?
The recent mass move to remote, online working during the Covid-19 pandemic makes the case for digital benefits with integrated communications even stronger.
In other words, lack of technology leads to poor employee engagement and client dissatisfaction – which is bad news for advisers. It’s time to change.
Perhaps many advisers feel that ‘it’s not what we’re known for.’ Despite the rewards to both the business and its clients, there’s a belief that introducing technology could be costly and painful. Changes to IT infrastruc- ture, integration with other systems, end-user training, not to mention the worrying pros- pect of ICO fines for data breaches – it all contributes to a dimly-held belief that this is a paradigm shift too far.
Flexible benefits providers haven’t fully embraced digital transformation either. Those who offer technology as part of their advi- sory proposition require significant investment, usually by their clients. Many benefit providers are staying safely within their comfort zone, slow to develop products which fit the digital delivery model and all the services it offers to end-users – employers and employees.
No wonder there aren’t many intermediar- ies seizing digital transformation opportunities. A few larger players have invested in their own technology, but to be fair to the rest, there just hasn’t been a truly flexible, cost-effective solution – until now.
A new breed of benefits software is emerg- ing, inviting intermediaries, corporate advisers and employee benefits consultants (EBCs) to join the digital party. It offers the end-user a simple, accessible window onto a wealth of choice. It’s mobile-friendly and available 24/7, catering for the needs and expectations of today’s employees.
Thanks to affordable, secure, cloud-based technology, advisers can adopt this benefits software via an inexpensive licence model. It lends itself to integration with provider sites and HR systems, while delivering a stylish product platform. It offers all the MI advisers need to truly customise their service and deliv- er advice tailored to their clients’ demographic.
A prime example is Beam at Work from Cloud8. Beam is powerful, cloud-based software which showcases benefits via a mobile-friendly, intuitive interface. It’s easy to use, encourages employee engagement and offers sophisticated reporting. It comes with all the materials and support required to onboard clients quickly and easily.
When it comes to digital benefits, there’s motive (profit), means (technology) and oppor- tunity (client need). For those advisers who are ready to take the plunge, treasures lie in store. Not only will the visibility and ease-of-access to their own products increase, there will be a chance to expand their portfolio with partner services on the same platform. With digital transformation, intermediaries are poised to become benefit brands in their own right.
Yes, it’s a paradigm shift – in technology, business model but most importantly of all, profitability.
(1) Communications Market Report, Ofcom (2) https://sifted.eu/articles/a-comparison-of-uk-top-three-digital-banks/ (3) https://fortunly.com/statistics/airbnb-revenue#gref
TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE ROUND TABLE ‘UBER FOR BENEFITS: DIGITAL DELIVERY IN THE POST-COVID WORKPLACE’ – CLICK HERE
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