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Appian World 2013: Galvanizing Action in Times of Catastrophe

Alena Davis, Appian
April 30, 2013

Crawford & Company kicked off a slate of impressive customer stories. Brian Flynn, EVP & Global CIO, and Sergo Grigalashvili, Vice President, talked about "Galvanizing Action in Times of Catastrophe." The insurance industry does its best to plan for all possibilities, but in times of major catastrophe, planning is impossible - and decisive action is what's needed. We learned how Crawford uses worksocial technology to rally its resources and ensure smooth operations when "worst-case" scenarios come to pass.

Crawford & Co is the world's largest independent provider of insurance claims management solutions. It has an expansive global network serving clients in more than 70 countries, and is the leading adjusting resource for natural and man-made disasters. Why did they choose Appian BPM? They're a process-centric organization with a large mobile workforce, and wanted to enable collaboration on rules-based claim services.

Natural catastrophes per year more than doubled from 1980 to 2012. Crawford is uniquely positioned to respond on a global basis. During Super Storm Sandy, there were 562 adjusters deployed, 44,085 calls received, and 48,744 claims made! With such large numbers, it's important for Crawford to be flexible, agile, and mobile. The goal is to think global and act local. They're focused on customer-centric solutions.

With Appian, Crawford was able to rethink their product delivery and double new product releases! Flynn and Grigalashvili shared an impressive list of applications Crawford has developed using Appian BPM. One example is the Crawford Desktop. It's a customizable portal platform with a modern presentation that allows users to access all applications, claim tasks, notifications, analytics, and content from one portal. It uses Appian BPM-based processes, customizable workflow and business rules.

Another Crawford application is the Crawford CAT Connection. It provides real-time catastrophe resource management with an HR system integration, which allows for faster activation and deployment of adjusters, along with self-service functions. The CAT Connection is also mobile! As a tool for contract catastrophe adjusters, it works on all major mobile devices, supports the virtual workforce strategy, and uses Appian social collaboration.

Other Crawford applications include mobile claims submission, strategic loss management (a competitive differentiator in the complex claims market), employee on-boarding, automated claims assignment, and financial sanctions screening. Their applications span a wide range of functions, and they all take advantage of mobile and social collaboration to improve service, enable accountability, and increase agility.

Crawford is able to create all of these applications so quickly thanks to a strong business process improvement (BPI) strategy. They use an end-to-end process hierarchy and a BPM Center of Excellence. It's important to consider the entire end-to-end process at several levels, and establish visibility across organizational functions and systems.

When considering a project for BPM, Crawford scores BPI opportunity and risk based on a series of simple yes/no questions. These questions include:

    • Symptoms that help identify opportunities for process improvement and automation (inconsistent work quality, low employee/customer satisfaction with process, high labor costs to execute process)

    • Specific situations when BPM is useful (process spans multiple functions/applications, is complex, need to collect metrics, or audit)

    • Additional use cases for using Appian BPM (need for social, mobile, or cloud, SOA integration)

    • High-risk situations to avoid (no defined owner, focus on a single person, etc)

Flynn and Grigalashvili closed out their presentation with Lessons Learned:

    • Not just software development but business process improvement

    • Governance, tools, and agile methodology are important for success

    • Process engineering expertise and Appian development skills are essential

    • Agile approach requires agile organization, both ICT and business units

    • Use flexible approach while controlling scope

Alena Callaghan

Web Marketing Manager

Alena Callaghan