Functionality alone is not enough. To truly succeed, businesses are well advised to account for human behavior.

For the 2017 installment of Accenture’s global Technology Vision, we surveyed more than 5,400 executives across 31 countries to get their perspective on the impact of technology on their organizations, and to identify their priority technology investments over the next few years. We used these insights to define five technology trends that we believe are likely to have the greatest impact on companies, government agencies, and other organizations.

 In this series, I will give you an overview of designing technology for people as the new frontier of digital experiences. I will also share our conclusions and predictions for the next few years.

Understanding people is more than personalizing technology

Today, most technology operates at a machine level. It can do a lot with data and facts, but when it comes to understanding people, technology comes up short.

80% of surveyed executives agree that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be.1

So, how can technology operate at a more human level? Can technology understand personal and workplace behaviors and goals, and respond appropriately?

Today’s virtually unlimited data stores make this a real possibility.

  • With the vast amounts of data about how customers live and employees work, and with sophisticated analytics, companies now have a potential level of insight they’ve never had before: an insight into how people think, what they want, and how they react.
  • Accounting for unique human behavior expands not only the quality of experience, but also the effectiveness of technology solutions.

Importantly, these changes don’t end at personalization. Companies are using an understanding of behavior to deliver technologies that are more adaptive, responsive, and aligned to the goals and actions taken by customers and employees alike.

And by doing so, they are making technology more human.

In the insurance industry for instance, carriers across different segments are taking personalization, adaptability and responsiveness to new levels.

  • Many auto insurance carriers are leveraging telematics data to adjust premiums to customers’ actual driving and not just their driving history or the histories of similar drivers. Beyond “pay as you drive” and “pay how you drive” models, many carriers are now investigating “manage how you drive” models, where drivers are coached to improve their driving habits. In the future, insurers might partner with technology companies such as Mobileye, which provides a collision avoidance solution based on vision sensors.2
  • Insurance start-up Trōv offers on-demand insurance for consumer electronics, allowing customers to insure single possessions for as long or as briefly as they like.3 Claims can be filed with a chatbot using contextual verbiage.4
  • In the home insurance sector, carriers such as USAA, American Family,5 Liberty Mutual and State Farm in the United States, and AXA6 and LocalTapiola7 in Europe are using connected home technologies to personalize premium setting and help customers avoid claims in the first place. Offerings may include incentivization for good home safety habits, or alerts about maintenance issues.
  • In life insurance, some carriers are exploring ways to help clients reduce health risks with new digital services. LocalTapiola, for example, uses a Smart Life product combining financial cover with fitness tracking and health coaching.8 Europ Assistance’s Connect et Moi fragile care offering employs a smart box in the home that can send automatic alerts or help when it detects deviations from a client’s daily routine that could signal a health problem.9
  • Commercial insurance carriers are using new technologies to partner with customers and help them avoid business losses and interruptions. The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), for instance, has introduced a service based on the Internet of Things (IoT) to remotely monitor business equipment and facilities.10

The examples listed above are just the beginning. We believe that enterprises should consider every application throughout their systems as a potential window through which they can understand customers, and as a testbed to refine business offerings. This approach requires an adaptive framework where applications not only observe, capture, and use customer-provided data, but also continually adjust.

Enabling adjustments provides opportunities to:

  • Strengthen interactions.
  • Experiment with different approaches to understand behavior.
  • Learn and evolve models that predict how systems react.
  • Capture the changing nature of customers themselves.

Using such an experimental approach can help companies uncover new and improved ways to address customer needs.

Transparency is key

It is important that companies commit to transparency as they begin to respond to human behavior.

  • Accenture research from 2016 found that 75 percent of people surveyed are generally comfortable with companies collecting personal data if the company is transparent about how they’re using it, and lets customers control how data is used.11
  • But the danger of misusing data cannot be overlooked. One study found that if a company was misusing personal data, 45 percent of customers would cease interacting with that business entirely.12

People should trust that when data on their behavior is used to build a path through a company’s products and services, it will ultimately help them reach their own goals. With this trust, companies can turn more extensive data into an even stronger partnership and deliver on larger, more challenging goals.

By offering technology that helps people reach their goals, businesses are strengthening their relationship and graduating to a larger role in their lives: that of a “partner”.

In my next post, I will continue with a look at how businesses can create long-term loyalty with more human technology.

Until then, take a look at the full Technology Vision 2017 report. I also recommend our Trend 4: Design for Humans page.

 

References

  1. “Technology Vision 2017: Technology for People – The Era of the Intelligent Enterprise,” Accenture, 2017. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-disruptive-technology-trends-2017.
  2. Mobileye, retrieved March5, 2017.
  3. Trōv – the Standalone Digital Platform that Enables an Entirely New Way to Insure the Things People Care About”, Daily Fintech, November 26, 2015.
  4. AXA Partners with Silicon Valley Startup Trov to Launch Insurance ‘as Simple as Tinder’ for British Millennials”, Business Insider UK, November 22, 2016.
  5. Why Insurance Companies Want to Subsidize Your Smart Home”, MIT Technology Review, October 12, 2016.
  6. The Home (Insurance) of The Future”, AXA, April 7, 2016.
  7. LocalTapiola Builds Intelligent House-Service Concept with our Customers”, LocalTapiola, December 12, 2015.
  8. Multi-Billion European Insurance Companies Moving into Preventive Health Services”, Wellmo, December 20, 2016.
  9. “Connect&Moi Téléassistance Personnalisée”, Europ Assistance.
  10. HSB Uses Internet of Things to Help Insurers Prevent Losses”, Munich Re.
  11. “Personalization Pulse Check 2016,” Accenture, October 13, 2016. Access at https://www.accenture.com/us-en/service-propelling-growth-through-personalization.
  12. “Whose Data Is It Anyway?” The Chartered Institute of Marketing, 2016. Access at https://cimcomms.uberflip.com/i/729663-whose-data-is-it-anyway.

 

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