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Innovation in the ecosystem space




In June, I spoke with Manuel's Sushmita Munshi to film our first "Evolving Ecosystems" podcast . Munshi leads ManulifeMOVE a behavioral program that integrates activity tracking and insurance solutions to motivate healthy habits. The first blog looked at the importance of data, while the second examined how developed ecosystem partnerships [1

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Creating an offer like ManulifeMOVE is a complex technical commitment that marks the insurer as a pioneer in this space. Among the challenges: it had to deal with ambiguity, it needed to swing technology bars and it had to interact with customers much more often than before, often daily.

"They are multiple stages and, to be honest, there is never a playbook for doing this," says Munshi. "It was not a single path to success – it was continuous change. technology bars to support different proposals in each of our markets, and then we realized that it was actually not possible to drive. ”

At that time, the insurer moved away from several versions of the app that stem from decision-making at the country level to a more mature technology model.It centered around a single app for customers in the region, configurable by country and function; a single set of microservices for high daily customer volume; and a cloud for hosting, accelerating development and economies of scale.

In an important way says Munshi that the evaluation process has not stopped: Manulife is constantly looking at how its ecosystem works and where it can be improved.

This flexible approach has been the basis f for ManulifeMOVE since its inception, with the development team in two-week sprints with a new release every eight weeks. The key, says Munshi, is a mentality of continuous development, maximum transparency across core and broader teams and maintaining the mindset of "launch small, start fast, learn and iterate".

For ManulifeMOVE's developers and support team, the flexible approaches have proven to be very valuable. A change of mindset coming from the top of the team ensures that everyone involved understands the destination, what offers need to be launched quickly to generate the right value and how to make the next development even better.

Technical challenges

Operations in markets as diverse as China, Cambodia and Singapore also pose their own challenges. Although each market is unique, says Munshi, it was important to identify which aspects were universal and which had to be configured for local conditions.

"It was crucial, because if you have not drawn that line, you can go one way or the other," she says. "You may be over-the-counter or you may allow so much customization that you do not actually run a single proposal – and you run into all sorts of problems."

Drawing that line enabled Manulife to expand a single technology stack, utilizing its engine for API-driven technology, which created a solution that is flexible and scalable. Today, local markets can load products and services on their own, launch them quickly, measure the reaction and then refine them.

Collaborating with companies that have expertise in related areas was also important, says Munshi, who cites Apple and Google. to help ensure an integrated holistic experience for users of their devices. Accenture was also crucial – largely for its role in helping to develop the appropriate operating model, but also as an organization familiar with Manulife but one step further. It can therefore provide perspectives on problems, as well as provide specific skills to help with continuous iterations of Manulife's solution.

A healthier, tailored future

Summarizing the effects of ManulifeMOVE, Munshi explains that success is measured in three categories: how many customers the app reaches; whether the relationship is economically viable for Manulife; and if these customers get healthier.

"We have about one million customers on the program today – which is a big win for us – and a majority of them engage with us regularly," she says. "For an insurance company, it is a huge profit that leads to a significant financial benefit for us and health benefits for our customers."

In the future, Munshi expects more people to benefit from the fact that they can measure a variety of health effects. indicators daily where they would previously need to visit a doctor.

"People can measure how well they sleep, how much they walk, what their blood pressure is – pretty much every minute," she says.

The consequence of a more conscious population is that the nature of the diagnoses will change – evolve to examine data over a longer period rather than basing it on a moment.

"Customers are likely to want products that are more tailored," she says. "Instead of having very broad products, assuming a very broad cohort, people will expect products that are more focused on their needs or for people like them, which means we will see more specialized types of products. "It will also pose technical challenges that require the kind of agile, iterative approach that the development of ManulifeMOVE has helped the company sharpen.

For all companies that want to develop an ecosystem are the lessons Manulife has learned. As we have seen in this series, these include careful and careful use of data and a fluid approach to partnerships, as well as ensuring flexibility and transparency in technological development. Using a similar approach, companies in any sector can take advantage of the emerging opportunities that are developing as of ecosystem.

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