Taking a global workforce and its customers mobile
When XL Group wanted to make its corporate information accessible anytime, anywhere, we helped it go mobile.
One day, you’re cramped in the middle seat with the seatbelt sign on, and no way of getting to your much-needed laptop.
The next, you’re called into an impromptu sales meeting with nothing more than your wits and your tablet.
The day after that, it’s your customer who is racing from one appointment to another in the back of a cab, with little more than a smartphone and a desperate need to get in touch.
For a big, modern company like XL Group, having information available via a mobile device is no longer something that’s nice to have. It’s something they have to have.
XL Group is one of a growing number of companies that is recognizing that the business world is no longer tethered to a desktop computer, or even a laptop. The global insurance and reinsurance company worked with Slalom to make sure both its public Internet site and its company intranet site would be as useful on a smartphone or a tablet as they are on a traditional computer.
The move comes as mobile devices are surging in popularity. According to ComScore, Americans are now spending as much as 60 percent of their digital media time on mobile devices, and 40 percent on traditional desktop computers.
That trend toward increasing reliance on mobile devices for Internet activity is being echoed internationally as well. Research firm IDC is predicting that 1.4 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2015, a 12.2 percent increase over 2014.
Stop lugging the laptop
For XL Group, getting information on a lightweight portable device is especially important because its executives and other employees are often relying on tablets while traversing the globe. XL Group has 60 offices on six continents, 4,000 employees worldwide, and customers around the world.
Jillian Hancock, a Slalom consultant who worked on the project, said the company’s sales team also didn’t have a way to easily access product offerings and descriptions via a mobile device, while in the field.
That’s no small amount of data.
The insurance and reinsurance company provides every kind of property, casualty, and specialty insurance you can think of, including restaurant contamination, kidnap and ransom insurance, and crop reinsurance. Its specialized products are a key safeguard for industrial and professional firms, insurance companies, and other clients throughout the world.
Instead of printing a bunch of paper descriptions at the office—or, worse yet, in the hotel’s business center—the sales teams could be much more effective if it was able to pull up relevant facts, data, and policy information on a tablet or smartphone.
“The urgency was on the part of the salesperson,” Hancock said.
Hancock said XL Group also wanted customers to get practical information from their mobile devices with as few steps as possible, such as the phone number for an insurance specialist covering equine policies, or additional detail about the company’s yacht coverage.
Making work easier
The company also wanted employees who were out and about to be able to access XL Group’s intranet site without having to pull out their laptops.
Robert Hiskey, a Slalom consultant who also worked on the project, said that, like a lot of companies, XL Group’s internal website is a key place for employees to share documents and conduct other day-to-day work. It’s also an important way the company gathers employee feedback for corporate initiatives, such as ideas for reducing waste and bureaucracy.
In order to get employees to actually use it, Slalom’s Hancock said they needed to make sure that the intranet site was really easy to navigate. After all, some employees were just getting used to using company-issued smartphones for business, and the company didn’t want those workers to be turned off by a counterintuitive website.
“You have to design something (that made it easy) to not only understand how to use the intranet but survive the fatigue of learning a new device,” Hancock said. “It had to be pretty straightforward.”
About XL Group
XL Group is a global insurance and reinsurance company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with executive offices in Stamford, Connecticut. It employs about 4,000 people.
The company was founded in 1986, when 68 of the world’s largest companies came together to form the conglomerate to better manage risk. Today, XL Group provides a broad array of insurance and reinsurance products, covering everything from fine art to equipment breakdowns.
XL Group is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of more than $9 billion.