NTUC Income Case Study

Introduction

NTUC Income was founded in 1970. NTUC Income is the only real insurance co-operative in Singapore. It was proven to make essential insurance accessible to all Singaporeans, they are actually a head in life, health and general insurance. On June 1, 2003, Income succeeded in the migration of its information systems and business procedures to an electronic online system. Following a major IT Ventures, the Orange Revolution premiered in past due 2011, targeting existing and potential prospects. Orange aspires to make insurance at NTUC Income "simple, honest and different" and also to change procedures in the insurance industry by "doing things differently".

Case Review Questions

  1. What types of Information Systems and business procedures were utilized by NTUC Income before migrating to the new digital systems? What were the issues from the old systems?

NTUC Income used the HP3000 mainframe that hosted their core insurance applications together with their accounting and management information systems. The machine was unreliable and sometimes broke down. NTUC Income's in-house IT team preserved years old COBOL programs which also regularly broke down creating disruptions.

The business functions used by NTUC was a paper based system as defined in the following diagram;

Problems associated with the old systems;

  • Income's insurance processes got become very tiresome and entirely newspaper based.
  • The collection routine of completed applications could create delays in handling documents of two to three days and nights. Increased delays might lead to financial and reputational damage to the business enterprise.
  • All original documents were sent to warehouses for storage area. In all, newspaper policies comprising 45 million documents were stored in over 16000 cartons at three warehouses. The storage area system utilized by NTUC Income could have led to high financial costs in logging and storing the documents. Also, NTUC Income would have needed to commit heavily in the security of their warehouses to ensure customer information was properly protected.
  • Retrieval of documents took two days and refiling an additional two days. This was a sluggish process rather than a competent service for customers.
  • HP3000 mainframe was unreliable and sometimes broke down.
  • COBOL programs regularly broke down triggering disruptions. NTUC Income's in-house IT team found it troublesome to develop products in COBOL which long new product kick off times.
  • Transaction handling for insurance policy underwriting was still a batch process and information had not been available in real time. When staff processed a new customer software for electric motor insurance, they did not know if the applicant was a preexisting customer and cross sale product opportunities were lost.
  • Various departments did not have up-to-date information and acquired to complete physical documents among each other.
  1. Describe the digital systems functions at NTUC Income after migrating to the new system. How does the systems deal with their problems?

In 2003 NTUC Income turned to a Java-based eBao Lifesystem from EBao Technology. As part of the eBao implementation, Income decided to replace its whole IT infrastructure with a far more robust, scalable structures. Examples include the next;

  • Scanners for all servicing branches
  • Monitors changed to 20 inches
  • PC Memory size was improved to 128MB
  • New hardware and software for program servers, database servers and web servers
  • Disk storage systems were installed
  • LAN cables were replaced with faster cables, a fiber-optic backbone and cordless capability

Capability

Problems Resolved

eBao system included imaging and workflow technology.

500 office personnel and 3400 advisors could gain access to system anytime, everywhere.

System provided solitary customer view of each customer across products and programs.

Facilitated cross selling and improved customer support.

All applications resided on two or more servers, each connected by two or more communication lines, all of which were "insert balanced".

This minimised downtime.

A Real time hot backup disaster recovery centre was carried out where machines were always operating and fully functional.

In the event of datacentre site becoming unavailable, procedures could turn to disaster recovery site.

Under new paperless system, all documents were scanned and stored on dependable storage space devices.

Secure and reliable and empowered strict compliance with strict statutory requirements.

NTUC's life and standard insurance businesses now ran using one integrated system.

Provide successful workflow, high versatility and customer centric view. Time to process applications was cut in half (Kang).

Imaging and barcode technology.

Speed and exactness of locating data and less mistakes.

Product definition component.

Supports services and speeds up product launches.

  1. Speculate how the new digital systems provided a basis for the "Orange" strategy. Could Orange have been possible with the old systems? Explain.

The Orange Trend was launched in later 2011 with the aim of making insurance at NTUC Income "simple, genuine and different" and also to identify and deal with major issues customers experience when working with insurance businesses. The techniques used to put into practice the "Orange" strategy include;

  • Orange Force - fleet of motorcycles which can reach a traffic car accident within 20 minutes and can help with medical, help fill out insurance forms and provide advice on the arena.
  • Orange Eyesight - Uses in car surveillance cameras to record and help battle fraud.
  • Orange Speak - Rational and easy to understand terminology in insurance policies
  • Orange Settle - A quicker and fairer way of settling claims
  • Orange First - Change of the circulation channel for advertising policies
  • Orange Prime - Creation of a fresh sales team.

The new digital systems enabled increased efficiencies and subsequently enhanced customer service and provided a platform for the Orange strategy. The brand new systems provided the backdrop which enabled the Orange technique to be put in place.

  • The digital systems were immediately operational on a high availability platform. The robust structures minimised downtime occurrence due to hardware or operating-system failures. NTUC could now operate the Orange Strategy with the confidence that the new digital systems provided.
  • The move to a paperless system cut the time and cost needed to process insurance policies by 50%. The operation of the new digital systems intended that staff could access information quicker as the system provided a single view of each customer. Because of this, about 500 office personnel and 3400 insurance advisers could access the system anytime, anywhere. The new digital systems facilitated improved upon customer service and cross-selling opportunities because of quicker end to end control. Also, the new systems by providing efficient upright through control workflow and a customer-centric view, provided a program for the Orange strategy which engaged becoming more customer centered.

The "Orange" strategy wouldn't normally have been possible with the old systems. The strategy is effectively based on credibility and trust and delivering first class customer service which requires quick, reliable and accurate data instantly.

  • The old HP 3000 system needed 7 -10 days and nights to put a fresh policy in place. This might not suffice nearly as good customer service and could not support the "Orange" strategy.
  • In relation to the "Orange Push" stage in the Orange programme roll-out, a significant factor is the requirement for real time information. Digital images, voice recordings and up as of yet information cannot have took place with the old system.
  • The new systems included imaging and paperless workflow technology. Because of this, all office staff and insurance advisors could gain access to the system anytime, anywhere. This is key technology for the new strategy as these details is required instantly e. g. "Orange Power" call out.
  • The old systems got repeated failures, breakdowns and outages. This would absolutely ground the new strategy as "Orange Pressure" requires up to when data to find and assist breakdowns. The old systems were too unreliable, a long-term malfunction would be catastrophic.
  • The new systems provided an individual view of every customer. This offered NTUC Income an improved insight in to the customer and facilitated cross selling and better customer service. It was extremely hard with the old systems.

In realization, the Orange Strategy could have been assured to fail with the old systems that could not provide the operation, security or stability required to implement the Orange strategy. The brand new digital systems provided many new capabilities which facilitated the successful execution of the Orange Strategy.

  1. Set out three important lessons for Irish retail banking which may be drawn from the NTUC Case Study. What exactly are the implications of the lessons for your loan provider?

Three important lessons for Irish retail banking which can be attracted from the NTUC research study are the following;

  1. Investment in IT

Irish retail banking must continue to invest greatly in IT to ensure that customer data is appropriate, secure and always available. Customers want new services based after 21st century systems. Technology helps banks to service their customers through their various bank channels. NTUC Income's investment in technology signifies their commitment to identify and deal with major issues customers experience when working with insurance businesses.

Ulster Bank was fined 3. 5m by the Central Bank or investment company for disruption to its technologies when IT failures affected 600, 000 customers in the summertime of 2012. The financial expert also reprimanded the bank over the issue and said it experienced failed to have enough governance and control steps to cope with problems within its technology systems. The IT issues took place on the month-long period between June and July 2012 and influenced customers' ATM withdrawals, card purchases and the processing of obligations including wages. The Central Loan company said that financial organizations were required to maintain strong governance plans and appropriate settings across all of their systems, including IT.

The Central Bank or investment company said the fine shown the seriousness with which it looked at the failings of Ulster Bank or investment company and its persistence to ensure that customers have access to core bank services without disruption.

This case demonstrates the importance of the necessity for continuous investment in technology and system enhancements as the results are outages, failures, negative promotion and in the end a loss of business and reduction in profits.

  1. Importance of the customer and culture

Branches and traditional products and services still are desired by many customers but people want more than this and finance institutions are trying to increase the customer experience and deliver the products and services demanded by digital consumers. Lenders can now connect to customers through a number of programs e. g. call centres, retail branches, online programs, apps, which are all enabled by an electronic service infrastructure.

NTUC Income's culture had to be altered just a little so that their organisation could are more active, dynamic and modern-day, essential capabilities for cooperatives to be competitive and succeed. This move in culture made NTUC Income more progressive, they listened and involved with their customers and taken care of immediately their responses. The need for responding to customers concerns and needs should be prioritised by Irish retail banking and banks need to be prepared to change their culture appropriately.

Ulster Bank or investment company is along the way of wanting to transform the bank because of customer changing requirements. Ulster Bank or investment company recently announced it is to close 22 of its branches across the country. Ulster Bank explained that the announcement uses a customer shift away from traditional in-branch banking towards digital programs. Last year 62% of Ulster Bank's customer interactions were digital, weighed against 10% in branches. This circumstance shows Ulster Bank's commitment to respond to their customers changing needs.

  1. Innovation

There is a requirement for Irish retail banking to be innovative and keep up currently with customer needs, technology and changing environments. The relationship between Irish retail bank and consumers is rapidly changing, with interactions increasingly taking place on mobile devices, in real time with contextual benefits. In 2013, 968 million smartphones were sold globally. Digital banking movements cannot be ignored by Irish retail banking and have to be central to Irish retail bank strategy as we plan 2020. Ulster Bank or investment company like NTUC Income with its Orange Drive strategy must continue steadily to meet customers ever before changing needs with impressive new ideas. In this regard, Ulster Loan company have recently proven that customer-centric technology is important to the bank, when they declared their collaboration with Apple in bringing mobile payments to the everyday lives of Irish people. Apple Pay can make mobile payments easier for Ulster Bank customers. They will be able to purchase goods and services anywhere contactless obligations are accepted, utilizing their iPhone or Apple Watch. Like NTUC Income, Ulster Standard bank is responding to their customers changing needs and adding "people before profits".

Conclusion

NTUC Income evolved its culture from the top down. NTUC Income put their whole business at risk in changing their business systems and operations. They moved from systems with many limitations to employing new technologies. It had been an alteration which proved very successful. It allowed NTUC Income to return to basics, putting their customers first, caring for customers, understanding their needs and responding to those needs. They instilled this culture whereby they positioned "people before revenue" throughout the company which lead to them gaining customers trust and increasing profitability.

Bibliography

Laudon, Kenneth C. , and Jane P. Laudon. "Management Information Systems: Controlling the Digital Organization" (Fourteenth Edition)

Reference to Course Notes (Workshop 1), 1st March 2017

https://www. income. com. sg/about-us/corporate-profile

http://marketing. ie/ulster-banks-goes-outdoor-with-apple-pay/

http://www. rte. ie/news/2014/1112/658589-ulster-bank-fine-it/

https://www. virginmedia. ie/pdf/VM_IE_Digital_Insights_Report. pdf

https://www. rte. ie/news/business/2017/0323/862013-ulster-bank-to-close-22-branches-across-ireland/

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