The introduction of the iPad has forever changed software users’ perspectives as to what they consider acceptable software; and most have no real awareness that these devices have so dramatically impacted their perspectives. The iPad and the tablet marketplace have had the greatest impact on software evolution compared to any other offering since Windows versions 3.1 and 95.
These tablet devices, which are readily available at our fingertips, multiple to the household and most importantly incredibly easy to adapt to when paired with the right software applications, fit perfectly into the insurance-focused sales environment. This is especially true when the technology leverages and builds upon existing knowledge of a forms-focused sales experience. By providing advisors and sales force with flexible, device agnostic and in-good-order data capture with direct on tablet screen e-signature capabilities, you provide an invaluable sales tool and process.
So, why is this important? What business value does all this provide?
In just four short years, tablet computing has provided software designers with the flexibility to provide a value proposition to financial advisors they had yet to envision. This is possible because it leverages their existing business processing knowledge in such a way that provides value that ignites a desire to adapt and adopt. By implementing automated business processes that utilizes the flexibility and mobility of these technological devices, advisors realize an overall cost, time and processing benefit, seeing valuable ROI to offset the impact of the change. These technology capabilities advances sales to a new level for advisors by enabling them to expedite sales processing in today’s demanding environment.
So how are tablets making a difference for advisors? Tablets are opening doors to different sales approaches that were never available before. The mobility of tablet devices provide advisors the ability to access information faster and with greater accuracy than before. Previous barriers to both advisor and client/consumer education are overcome by the use of tablets, with the ease and access to view and illustrate various insurance products on a tablet device. When clients have questions about products, advisors can quickly access website information or access a web-based brochure to provide answers and examples. When used as an educational tool, tablets become an invaluable sales resource for advisors.
Having a tablet device is becoming essential for advisors. It allows them to meet with potential clients, show them a presentation, hopefully close a sale and capture signatures all on one device in a single meeting. Tablets don’t just benefit advisors but the clients as well. Another key way advisors can utilize tablets is to speed business processing and reimbursement. When paired with the right kind of business software, advisors can conduct the full sales cycle right from the palm of their hand! From start to finish, advisors can demonstrate a product, collect client information (including e-signature) and submit an order seamlessly from their tablet. With the power of mobility, advisors no longer need to return to the office and submit paper forms. Tablets also support digital processing, eliminating errors and enabling orders to be processed within hours rather than days. This could have never been possible only four short years ago!
When new technology devices come out they sometimes are targeted toward a certain age group. But the great thing about tablets is that they have shown unheralded adoption across generations. An advisor of any age can use a tablet because the simple user experience it provides. The last time technology impacted advisors in such a profound way was the introduction of cell phones. It was groundbreaking that you could be reached anywhere, anytime. As time went on, cell phones became a daily essential. Tablets are following the same pattern and are becoming part of our day-to-day necessities, especially for people conducting business transactions. More and more advisors are demanding tablets for professional use, and if their company will not provide them one, they are bringing their own. Advisors see the need for a tablet just like they saw a need for the cell phone.
Just as early software for the computer meant having an application installed locally, the impact of the tablet computing phenomenon has followed the same path in beginning with a locally installed application from the app store. Now computing is using cloud based software as a service, providing a device-agnostic software experience. Moving from your desktop to your tablet and back to your desktop leveraging the same end user experience is providing the kind of value and flexibility that has never been available before.
As history has shown us, behavior changing technology advances provide a value we didn’t really know was possible. They are leveraged in a way that makes our lives, whatever that is, easier. It makes us look at things differently without forcing change—rather it makes us desire the change.
What started with entertainment focused applications on the iPad has now proliferated into the business world. What was once viewed as an escape from boredom on long flights has become a mission critical component to the insurance industry and a valuable tool for financial advisors.
Jim Ferrell is Vice President of Product Management at Insurance Technologies. Jim leads development of the company’s FireLight product.