Professor Feng Li, PhD, FBAM, Head of Technology and Innovation Management, Cass Business School Many business leaders underestimate the scale and speed of digital disruption that is bearing down on them. Innovation is on every organisation’s agenda, and although most don’t have issues developing strategies or generating new ideas, they often fail in their execution; implementing new business models or turning […]
Being #1 has its own kind of pressure. When you’re #2 in the market you have a clear goal: topple the #1. What’s the mindset of a market leader? Watch your back? Protect what you have? Ignore everything?
Harel lnsurance lnvestments & Financial Services is the leader of Israel’s insurance market. It has four big rivals competing for its business and must be conscious of outside disruptors turning the market on its head. An understandable strategy might be for Harel to sit tight and protect what it has.
Instead, Harel wants to transform its entire approach. It doesn’t just want to be big, it wants to be fast. It wants to succeed by being the first to launch new services, by exploring new forms of customer engagement, by being innovative.
Harel, formed through a series of mergers and acquisitions, wants to create an efficient, flexible IT infrastructure to support its entire operation. Where possible it wants to automate every human process, shifting IT’s focus from maintenance to new service development.
Harel wants to remove barriers to storage, performance and network, allowing developers to be faster to market with new services. IT will become the ‘silent leader’ of change throughout the business, proactively steering future strategy.
By deploying VMware NSX® Data Center and VMware vRealize® Network Insight™ Harel is now better able to segment its network virtualization. The former delivers networking and security entirely in software, abstracted from the underlying physical infrastructure; the latter accelerates micro-segmentation deployment, minimizes business risk during application migration and enables Harel to confidently manage and scale its NSX Data Center deployment.
As a result, Harel has become more secure, more efficient and more agile. There is greater automation, and a clearer audit trail of what piece of infrastructure is responsible for what service. Ultimately Harel is faster to market with new insurance services, and dynamic in the way it engages customers.
For instance, Harel now enables customers to buy short term car insurance a via link in a WhatsApp chat, one of the first times an insurance provider has used the new WhatsApp Business API. It is not a massive revenue generator but indicates Harel’s willingness to explore new channels to reach new customer segments.
It also sends a strong message to its rivals: don’t expect Harel to act defensively, Harel will pursue innovation.
In the confident words of Amir Levy, Senior Vice President for Infrastructure, Technology, and Cyber Security at Harel Insurance: “Innovation can cost time and money, but the outcomes can be fantastic. We don’t see new ventures not succeeding as failure. Perhaps it’s not the outcome we wanted, but we’ll benefit from the knowledge and experience.”
To learn more, here’s a video where Amit talks more about the deployment, or this video where Amir, as part of our Agents of Change initiative, talks about the silent secret behind his company’s digital transformation.