Organic growth, changing customer demand and competition are the top factors driving independent agency and brokerage technology investments, according to survey results from Applied Systems’ Applied Net Technology Survey.

Taken from the responses of more than 100 insurance professionals who attended Applied Net 2014, the survey reveals the growing appetite for advanced technology solutions from agencies and brokerages to better meet the expectations for multichannel engagement, according to Reid French, CEO at Applied Systems.

“Digital technology is driving the fundamental and rapid shifts in consumer behavior, and changing demographics, including the economic and professional arrival of the millennial generation, are only accelerating this shift,” French says.

Key findings from the survey:

Technology investment trends

  • Organic growth (55 percent), changing customer demand (54 percent), and competition (48 percent) are the top factors driving independent agency and brokerage technology investments.
  • 60 percent of respondents indicated agency or brokerage management system updates as the highest-priority technology investment area; 47 percent of respondents indicated online client self-service as a top technology investment area; and 37 percent cited mobile technology as a top investment priority.

Growth and productivity gains

Forward-thinking agencies and brokerages continuously evaluate and evolve their customer service models, products and services, and operational processes to ensure productivity, client growth and overall business profitability. When considering technologies that drive growth and productivity, participants indicated:

  • Standardized agency and brokerage management workflows (64 percent) deliver the greatest value.
  • Client self-service offerings (44 percent), cloud technology (33 percent), mobile technology (32 percent), and business intelligence applications (27 percent) also were recognized as technology areas with the greatest potential for positive impact on the business.

Focus on business intelligence grows

  • Staff productivity is the most important insight to be derived from a business intelligence application, 58 percent of respondents said.
  • According to the survey, the two biggest perceived benefits of implementing a business intelligence application are identifying growth opportunities (46 percent) and increasing staff productivity (23 percent).

“Data growth and availability continues at an exponential rate, which is creating a wealth of untapped information that can deliver new insights into business operations, potential new markets, client retention and business opportunities,” said Michael Howe, senior vice president of product management, Applied Systems. “These findings clearly demonstrate growing agency and broker interest in business intelligence applications to improve business operations and ensure the greatest level of staff productivity.”

See also:

Insurance & tech: What is big data and how to use it?

Survey: Most insurance executives eye new social media tools

Tech tools to turbo-charge your practice