Technology’s Full Potential

By | February 22, 2016

Technology has transformed how we operate in almost every facet of our life. It has changed the face of business for every industry. Insurance is no different.

Yet, as I look within our industry I see a problem. I see technology being underutilized, overutilized or, worse, completely ignored. The majority of people’s technology usage will fall into these three categories. Which one describes your technology use?

The Technologically Timid User

Scared of technology? Tired of those darn Instagramming kids posing on your lawn? Want to go back to the good old days of pencil and paper? You’re not alone.

People of all ages struggle with technology. This is usually caused by a lack of familiarity with the technology. If you don’t understand it, you don’t want it. This mindset leads down a dangerous path of shunning technology for traditional methods.

Where do you start when you want to begin your introduction to the digital world?

Start small. Take pictures and upload them. Play your favorite card game on your computer. There is a whole generation of keyboard only users who learned how to use a mouse through solitaire.

Once comfortable with that, continue with incremental steps. Maybe ditch the old pen and pad, and use an application like OneNote to take notes. When you convert handwritten notes to text and see how they can be searched across all your devices, you’ll be hooked.

The Matrix User

Are you the type of person who is plugged in everywhere? Is every aspect of life and business tech driven? If you cannot do it electronically, you don’t need to be doing it, right?

Unfortunately, over-reliance on technology might be worse than ignoring it completely. While technology is there to support daily life, it is not infallible. It is just software and hardware that humans have created, built and coded. Technology will and does fail all of the time.

A user who over-relies on technology to support daily needs should assess whether that technology is actually hindering productivity. Is that email marketing software working as advertised? Or, is it over-spamming your loyal client base? Just because it is “working” does not mean it is actually working for you.

Make sure you have a backup plan for when technology betrays your trust. Nothing strikes more fear in the hearts of tech heads than a battery with less than 4 percent charge on a Wi-Fi-free flight with an hour until touchdown.

The Everyday User

Do you have a tablet and smartphone while knowing your way around Excel? Do you post a lot of cat memes to Facebook and Twitter, yet still need your nerdy relative to install the Uber app?

Everyday users understand technology and know just enough to be dangerous. You might not realize that although you use it daily, you’re not using technology to its full potential.

Sure, your iPad is great for playing Candy Crush, surfing the web and replying to emails. Did you know you could run your entire agency from one? Rate quotes, manage clients, document claims, scan and sign documents, and take payments on your tablet of choice. Take the gadgets you are already familiar with and see what else they can do. Research problems in your life. Ask yourself (or your youngest child) how technology can help.

Technology needs users to realize its fullest potential. Users need technology to realize our fullest potential. Without both working in unison, no one wins.

About Laird Rixford

Rixford is the CEO at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), a marketing, rating and management software and services provider to the insurance industry. You can reach him on Twitter at @lrixford or email: lrixford@getitc.com. More from Laird Rixford

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Insurance Journal West February 22, 2016
February 22, 2016
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