XL Catlin unlocks freedom to explore disruptive technology

  • Posted on July 5, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
AR technology

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Daniel Reardon

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of augmented reality (AR)?

If you said, “video games” or “movies,” you probably aren’t alone.

But over at XL Catlin, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, they are likely to come up with a few other, less traditional answers: risk assessments, flood prevention, amazing customer service.

Just ask Gemma Watson, team leader at XL Catlin’s incredibly named AR/VR/MR, Drones & IoT division (dream job). In the last year, Watson and Avanade have worked together to explore how emerging technologies, such as AR, might be used to change the way XL Catlin serves customers and competes on the global stage.

And while the results have been eye-opening (quite literally), this initiative offers a crucial lesson for all enterprises seeking to find a sustainable path to innovation: If you want to disrupt, you first need the ability to explore.

An industry being disrupted
XL Catlin has little time to lose. The insurance industry is one of the fastest growing sectors for emerging technology, with droves of competitors and scrappy startups promising more personalized service for customers, a context Watson is quick to note: “What we are doing is not just innovation for the sake of innovation — it’s really about a new way to do business today. It’s also a way to differentiate from our competitors.”

But exploring new technologies, while juggling traditional needs and limited resources is easier said than done. Which is why Watson and her team went looking for an innovation partner to speed up their exploration of AR technology — and get results in a matter of weeks, not months.

It opted to work with Avanade’s Advisory Services team, thanks to our human-centric solutions, agile and design thinking methods, and a deep understanding of modern workplace technologies.

Getting to exploratory insights, fast
Our work together began, as all great innovation projects should, with a clear definition of the business value, use cases and the real-life experiences of end users. After initial brainstorming, we decided to build a use case around risk assessments, an extremely time-consuming and manual process.

From there, we applied agile methods and worked collaboratively with XL Catlin’s own product owner from our Digital Studios in London, bringing together cross-functional capabilities and stakeholders under one roof, to explore, build and test — at speed.

A model for building the future, today
After just seven weeks, XL Catlin had a finished product in hand — one that could speed the time it takes to create a risk assessment report to a few days, from up to four weeks.

Leveraging voice dictation, hand gestures, and the camera and screen on a 3D headset to automate and enrich a time-consuming process — and ultimately mitigate risks (and costs) — XL Catlin’s trial AR use case was a stand-our success.

But the value it offered was far more than just a revolutionary way to deliver risk assessments.

It underscored a new way that enterprises must act in the face of unabated disruption. By teaming up with a partner like Avanade, XL Catlin was able to reach insights, test ideas and explore the new, without spending too much time stretching internal resources too thin.

I invite you to learn more about Avanade’s Advisory Services.

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