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As a specialist for document management systems within the Reply Group, Macros Reply uses innovative software to optimise its customers’ business processes. Company-wide information and document management systems, archive solutions, process monitoring and mailbox / file systems from Macros Reply have won over numerous renowned customers.
Helvetia Versicherungen AG operates in all branches of life insurance and casualty insurance an is the oldest insurance corporation in Austria. With about 850 employees, Helvetia serves about 500,000 customers in Austria. It is part of the successful Helvetia Group, active across Europe and headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
In August 2014, Helvetia took over Basler Versicherungs AG in Austria, and increased its volume by more than 50 percent. The volume of insurance premiums for Helvetia after acquiring Basler Versicherungs AG in Austria exceed 400 million Euros. As a result, Helvetia is among the top 10 insurance companies in Austria.
Today, Helvetia Group has subsidiaries in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy and France, and manages parts of its investment and financing activities through subsidiary and fund management companies in Luxemburg and Jersey.
For many years, Helvetia Versicherungen AG has been saving the case processes in its Life and Property/Casualty divisions by means of a digital FileNet archive. For this purpose, all documents were digitized once processing was completed. However, the processing itself was primarily done on the basis of inquiries and documents received as classical paper mail from customers and partners. A third-party application developed especially for Helvetia supported the processing and communication. "Despite the increasing share of e-mails and about 80% electronic communication with customers and partners, our goal was to become more productive and to make the mountain of paperwork disappear from the desks in the case processing area. When processing the files, it should make no difference to the customer how the inquiries and documents reach us," says Gerald Schlesinger, project manager at Helvetia, describing the initial situation at Helvetia.
The tender for the project started in a rather usual manner. Solution providers generally receive tenders that include very exact guidelines, some as specifications with feature lists and exact guidelines for the implementation. Helvetia’s approach was quite different and significantly more open. Along with the other service providers, Macros Reply received a kind of Executive Summary in which “only” the goals to be met by the project were formulated.
These goals included:
The concrete steps to achieve these goals were left open.
Finally it was the concept presented by Macros Reply based on Macros eWorkplace standard software, which has a flexible configuration, that was chosen by the customer over the competitors’ approaches. "We were offered not only a viewer for the digitized/archived documents, but also a complete workflow-supporting mailbox/e-file solution with distribution guidelines. Moreover, the team impressed us during the presentation with its technical expertise and project experience in the insurance industry," said Gerald Schlesinger.
However, Helvetia made the final step of the tender phase an order for a proof of concept rather than the whole project. For this purpose, the specialists from Macros Reply were to set up an executable standard configuration of their software on the IT systems of the insurance company in order to show its options, clearly illustrate processes, and test the functionality of the interfaces. This allowed Macros Reply to prove their expertise and Helvetia Versicherungen to gather valuable experience for the upcoming company-wide roll-out of the solution.
In this phase Macros Reply was able to convince both technically and professionally. The system installed for the proof of concept was subsequently used as the development system. The Helvetia employees were given a chance to adapt to the slightly changed processes related to the new system, so that the proof-of-concept also served as a technology onboarding phase.
There were also conversions in the IT technology. The upstream digitization and indexing via a service provider changed the transmission path to the archive and the databases.
After the go live of the Casualty division, all divisions have followed suit, and today the employees work with the Macros eWorkplace based solution and the existing system on two large screens. A scanning service provider handles the digitization and indexing of incoming mail. Distribution to the mailboxes is done automatically and in a rule-based manner. The result: the piles of paper have disappeared from the desks and the processes run independent of the channel or medium over which a customer inquiry is entered. The technical departments are able to concentrate fully on their value-adding activities that previously fell by the wayside because of the necessary but time-intensive generation of instructions for the downstream digitization. Ongoing optimisations increase server performance, and improve the integration of the web browser.
"For us, the goal-oriented yet open inquiry and the proof of concept as a separate project have proven their worth. Both may be unusual, but these processes provided us with maximum certainty and allowed us to rely on a configurable standard software instead of individual programming with all of its risks in development and future adaptations," says Gerald Schlesinger, summarising his project experiences.
For Macros Reply as well, the selected process has shown to be an effective and ideal “Best Practice Approach”. As company goals were always at the forefront throughout the project, Macros Reply had to prove right from the beginning, how the configurable eWorkplace solution would contribute to the realization of the client’s ideas – professionally, technically, and in terms of time and costs. A true proof of concept on the client’s systems creates the desired certainty for customers and service providers, and builds a trustful relationship for the future.