How one business uses social networking and BPM to handle disasters

By , CIO |  IT Management, Social Networking

"There was a feeling of loss of control: Crawford has a rich tradition and they like the way they were doing things. I don't care what you're bringing into a new organization--whether it's a new process or technology--the notion of change always seems to get in the way," Flynn says.

"So we spent time conveying how this change would enhance the way they worked and remove unpleasant manual tasks so they could focus on quality," Flynn says. And that seemed to work.

Introducing Crawford Community

The breakthrough with the business side came during one meeting where IT and the business was discussing the social element of the implementation.

"They came up with the name of it: Crawford Community," Flynn says. "That's when we knew the light bulb went off."

"Crawford Community" became the BPM and social application that streamlines the company's catastrophe-related resource management, from the assignment of insurance adjusters to the management of claims and final claim resolution. It's mobile application uses the geolocation capabilities of adjusters' mobile devices so Crawford can pinpoint the right adjuster to review the claim based on location, capacity and a past-performance scorecard.

"It gives our adjusters frequent updates on how we're scaling for an event. They can also use the mobile app to upload photos of a site using mobile technologies and send it to us so we can see what they're seeing," Flynn says.

The social networking component is also built into the claims application process to aid the more junior adjusters: When newer employees have questions, they can post it to their Facebook-like environment where more senior adjusters can provide them with feedback, Flynn says.

"In the past, that type of communication required phone calls, emails and voicemails. Now, that exchanged is opened up from one to many people," he says.

Prototyping and Aligning IT and Business

Flynn and his team began the project in September 2011 and completed it in time for hurricane season this year. The results have been impressive, he says: streamlined processes and a significantly more efficient workflow.

He's also pleased with his team's management of the project. One key to his success: prototyping.

"You can talk conceptually all day long, but there's no substitute for seeing it," he says. "Within a few weeks you have a working system--not in its entirety--but it provides a visual that everyone can see and critique without having to go through the development lifecycle. The only disadvantage is we see how much we're capable of in a few weeks, but it takes a few months to add sophisticated engines in the background."


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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