​Shifting the technology focus

by BN25 Sep 2014
Phil Quin-ConroyPLAN CEO Phil Quin-Conroy says the focus of technology has shifted from IT to business

Phil Quin-Conroy, CEO of PLAN Australia, is passionate about technology. He’s particularly interested in the way tech trends are shifting, and the way this could deliver new benefits to brokers. Quin-Conroy is fond of quoting research by Gartner that states that chief marketing officers are now spending more on technology than chief information officers. This, Quin-Conroy says, demonstrates a marked shift in the focus of IT.

“From our perspective in PLAN, what that means is that we are ensuring that our technology focus is business-led not IT-led, so we look to get lots of input from brokers to build our technology solutions from the outside in,” he said.

This means rethinking the way the company builds technology for its brokers, he said.

“It’s not having talented IT people focused on building solutions, but business-focused people identifying what the opportunities are,” Quin- Conroy said.

And from PLAN’s standpoint, shifting the technology focus to identifying business opportunities means anticipating the needs of its broker network.

“It is a balance of responding to [brokers’] needs, but also looking for opportunities to innovate as well and perhaps get ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of brokers in the future. A classic example of that for us was the E-client functionality which we’ve developed. That technology allows a broker to very quickly send a client-needs-analysis to a customer, via a secure web link... It cuts down the amount of work a broker needs to do, it enables a quality digital interaction with the customer and ultimately it can improve the efficiency of a broker as well. So you might not actually get that request from a broker but in terms of opportunities you can take a big leap forward in the interaction brokers are able to have with customers,” he said.

As for brokers, Quin-Conroy urged them to be on the lookout for new technology trends and the opportunities they present. One of these opportunities, he said, is social media engagement.

“If you look what is happening in the social media space there is a big trend towards social and it is starting to have a real business impact. It is changing the sales process. Something like 20% of social users are using social today for product and service research. Typically that was the web previously but now that is increasingly shifting to social. They are the sorts of customer focused trends that as an industry we have to stay focused on.”

This article is from Australian Broker issue #11.17. Download the issue to read more features.