While wandering the show floor at the Adobe Summit, I bumped into would Georgios Kargakis, from Allianz. We got talking about Allianz’s technological developments, how tech was transforming the traditional world of insurance and their marketing project created using some of Adobe solutions.
The Allianz Group is one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide, serving approximately 85 million customers in more than 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the leader in the German market, they not only have a strong international presence but are also looking to invest into an agency management system. This will allow customers to access their information and policies at any time with ease. The organisation operates across a broad range of sectors including commercial, engineering, retail and legal.
Allianz has teamed up with Adobe to overcome a huge challenge. They want to migrate their complex online world to the Adobe Experience Manager and add the Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions. But this includes more than 15 customer portals with more than 50 application lines and over 20 applications; 10,000 websites for agents, brokers and brokers and 5,000 websites for employees and employers.
Included here is a variety of content pages for more than one million users per month, which can be calculated over 500,000 insurance offers and then – hopefully – our customers. BUT they want to do all that in the next 15 months! So they are looking for a little help. Therefore they are looking for talented individuals who can accompany them on this journey who are armed with enthusiasm, creativity, and verve.
We have solved many problems on this podcast over 500 episodes and even enabled guests to meet their dream dinner date, today I want to try and gift a fantastic employment opportunity to you all listening. Whether you are a developer, architect, designer, product owner or business analysts with much or little Adobe Marketing Cloud know-how – Georgios wants you to be part of their big MAKEathon in June, so stay tuned for more info about that at the end of the episode.
Transcription of the Podcast
Neil: So a massive warm welcome to the show. Can you tell the listeners a little about who you are and what you do?
Georgios: My name is Georgios Kargakis. I’m with Allianz Germany. I’m kind of head of IT Virtual Center of competence for online marketing experiences and we’re introducing newly adobe, the whole platform, all solutions altogether. That’s what I’m leading and also I’m part of a, let’s say digital transformation teaming where it’s only what we’re doing. It’s also how we are approaching it in means of creating better experiences for our customers and the insurance sector in Germany for Allianz.
Neil: The Allianz group is one of the leading integrated financial service providers worldwide and I believe you guys serve approximately 85 million customers in 70 countries, but for anyone listening to this hearing about you for the very first time and listening to you anywhere in the world and not quite sure what you do. Can you just help them visualize what services you offer and also what problems you solve for customers?
Georgios: I would distinguish two parts, right? So we have, first of all, the core business where Allianz brings the legacy over 125 years, which go along with the company which is very, very big and also very massive. So we’re speaking about classic insurance product which is of course life, so this is our main business as for today and this is also very driven by efficiencies, very driven by premiums, very driven by cost efficiencies and very classical products in means of what our clients need in the past and may need in future for having a more safe and healthy life in the end and even when thinking about retirement. So growing older to be safe and so you can afford the things you afforded also in the past.
So there’s, that’s at the core, right? And, and what we’re also facing. The second thing is kind of the challenges we’re facing with the new economy, with all those startups, with the customer behavior which is changing, which massively has an impact of how we’re building the products in future and how we are approaching our customers of tomorrow.
Neil: Fantastic but as a football fan, whenever I hear about Allianz, I instantly think of Europe’s most modern stadium, the Allianz Arena. When you see it, you immediately think of innovation and technology.
So from the outside looking in, it seems like you’re trying to offer customers a chance to experience these innovations firsthand and in turn be inspired to grab new opportunities without fear. I mean has it always been important to you guys to form those partnerships with organizations that share your belief and embracing those new ideas and those new technologies.
Georgios: Yeah, sure. I mean, yes, everybody knows Allianz stadium. That’s totally correct and of course all started in Munich with a very, very great team here in Germany but, yeah, I mean when, when you think of where are the people and what are their needs and you want your brand to have an impact on the markets, you also have to think of, where is all these joys and all these happiness taking place in the normal life of our customers and that’s also an initiative, why Allianz is investing lots of money also introducing new programs and an also campaigns, the stadium campaigning and the sponsorships are one big part, an initiative of that, it means of being there where our customers are.
So having a touch point where they maybe are more in a leisure mood and enjoy the time being.
Neil: Obviously you’re working deeply with the digital transformation. So can you share some of Allianz technological development and also how they’re actually enabling you to transform your business?
Georgios: Yeah, you know, I mean, first of all, let’s start with the product, right? I already told, looking at the core business, the classical product, you have a complex, right? So an insurance product is very complex. So regulation and the loss per country are of course difficulties you have to face which make the product even more complex and I’m taking this into account and seeing where customer behavior and the world is changing and where that’s driving to, the question is how to digitally approach that in a new way so everybody understands it better. Everybody feels maybe more touched also by the product to make it also a bit more emotional and this, of course, requires the product in all to change, right?
So classically today if you want to make a motor insurance or something, let’s say you have five process steps and you’re entering data and entering data and in the past week and the online experiences we did not have, let’s say I want to save or have an autosave function. So if my browser gets crashed, you have the problem that you have to re-enter all those data or so this is at the core of course, very, very easy function but if you’re looking at those products, making them easier, let’s say in one or two or three steps, like all those online principles to being able, having teasers and products which fit your needs, what you need. Then, of course, the challenge is to make them more easy, more understandable, more emotional also in the means of comments on how we provide them so that you not only feel touched, but you’re also able in seconds to somehow get your policy, or at least we call this ROPO experiences.
ROPO stands for Research Online Purchase Offline, it’s very time consuming and it’s very complex what our customers mostly do is they research online, and then, of course, we call it next best action. So you are able within this process of getting your personal quote and buy to generate a lead or chat with an say its agent or even go to the tied agent of your trust in the nearest place where you’re somehow located.
Neil: Here we are at the AdobeSummitt in London, are there any big things that you noticed in your short time here so far? Is there anything that you’re looking forward to seeing or, or learning more about? Georgios: Yeah, I mean I saw those keynotes, in the early morning and it was all about hyper-personalization and hyper-everything almost and of course Adobe is providing lots of features and lots of tools. But if you look behind the scenes and if you look behind those functions and have understood the use cases and the powers such functions bring with them, of course, there are things to learn here.
There are things also, lots of creative people, creative minds where you can connect and see, how to adapt those ideas to also empower young people bringing those ideas back, adopt and kind of improve and optimize down business and websites, for example.
Neil: So can you tell me more about your latest marketing projects and also the role that Adobe solutions are actually playing in that project?
Georgios: Yeah, we have kind of adverse. We are migrating and lodging very newly to adobe Allianz, we have to say so probably with one of the first clients who contracted almost all solutions and tries to bring all those solutions up to speed and ready so our marketers and our agencies are capable and are able to use them for making the classical business in a new way which may be more effective, which may be more productive and then those features come into play, let’s say, okay, I want to have those segments, I want to target even deeper from a one to many to one to one and so on and this kind of is the vision which will help our business to grow, I assume.
Neil: So just going back to those keynotes, I mean are you finding that consumers are buying experiences rather than products now and it’s about the relationship rather than the transaction and if it is, I mean how is adobe helping you create those better experiences for your customer?
Georgios: I’m a very true believer that customers are buying an experience rather than products. If you match that to the insurance sector, it’s experience based on trust, right? So a classical insurance product is a very, or has been in the past, a very good product. You made the policy once a life insurance, let’s say or a pension plan has to last maybe let’s say 25 to 35 years and if you’ve got your letter once per year, it was somehow fine when you saw that your premiums are guaranteed, that your interest rate is growing and so on, and you’ve been safe and changing. That is very, very big challenge. It means of creating online experiences or getting the direct sales or a digital pure-play better done in means of how to address those products with the needs of the customers of tomorrow and there we are also starting to rethink everything at the core, right?
So we’re in a lot of discussions with startups and we also are observing and questioning, some of these startups, I mean we are in partnership with lemonade in the US, which is kind of a startup lighthouse project and the insurance sector and of course we’re learning a lot and that makes us, that’s the whole Allianz.
Yeah, very challenging in means of how short our products look like and to give you an example of which we are working at as a product for life insurance where it’s not the letter per year and the policy which defines you as a customer, but an online subscription, an online registration if you’re even if you’re not paying any premium and then maybe the possibility and all those things you would like to have in means of let’s say a pure flat rate or kind of pay as you like, so you have of course some benefits out of the policy if you’re then paying in, but having also the flexibility to choose how to pay, when to pay and so on and this is changing and there we’re working on some projects to make them kind of very, very digital.
Neil: So are there any other ways that digitalization and creativity are helping you transform your business?
Georgios: Yes, there are. I mean, if you’re having a look into our IT, for example, how we did projects in the past and all those methods coming with the digital transformation journeys which we newly have been introducing maybe also for more than one and a half years at Allianz. So there’s a lot to see not only what we’re doing, the products, the systems we’re building, but also how we are collaborating, how we’re co-creating, how we’re co-locating lean startup methods, design thinking methodologies where also the people which we try to empower to be more self-confident, to bring this creativity in and take a responsibility ship and to end where we’re mixing teams of course from the marketing side, from some different processes, business areas, and of course with IT being very cross functional.
So there’s much, much change happening day by day and we’re learning of course, that’s a journey where the starting point has maybe been one and a half years ago and there’s still a long way to go but the employees are learning a lot and our colleagues are learning a lot, the management is learning a lot and we’re striving off creating ultimate customer experience in future, which may have more impact.
Neil: Do you also think it’s essential for businesses to disrupt themselves before somebody else? Does it fall in with the whole disrupt before you’re disrupted motto? Do you believe in that as well?
Georgios: Absolutely. I mean, and the past I’m coming from the automotive industry, so, I will also say finance and if you have the look into finance with Fintech, what was happening there and what’s happening still today and then the automotive of course with the connected automobile, autonomous driving, electric mobility and even all those mobility shared concepts where the change is going from owning a car to using somehow mobility to getting very effectively and very cheap from a to b.
So there are, of course in those industries there’s been happening a lot and there is a lot of happening these days and even tomorrow and from my perspective and the insurance sector, talking about big disruptions which you could compare like what’s happening at Fintech and what’s happening to automotive auto tech. So inter-tech is maybe a time schedule, a bit of behind, but there is a lot to see like lemonade or some example I see slice in the UK and if you see that of course those big insurance companies not only Allianz, also our competitors around so they’ve been learning from the other industries and of course the approach the insurance industry’s doing likes sponsoring like having those incubators and having already game agenda renewal again and so on.
Tackling that on both sides, one like an entrepreneur inside the organization and one building up very flexible startups or false or let’s say venture capital, which is then kind of, yeah, number 26 was one of our last deals bought by Allianz where disruption is happening also on the outside.
Neil: What a huge thank you for taking the time to come away from the show floor and speak with me but before I do let you go, can you remind the listeners where they can find Allianz online and also contact your members of your team if they have any questions about the digital transformation or anything about our conversation today?
Georgios: Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn or on Twitter. You may feel free to contact me if you want to get in touch and saying that of course, we’re looking for talent. I’m also planning a recruiting challenge in June and everybody’s welcome to somehow apply for to be also candidate and part of our Allianz MAKEathon.
Neil: Well I do hope you’re not bombarded with messages from 165 different countries after saying that, but seriously, a big thank you for coming on today. Just really just saying that you guys are leading the way here, but it’s not just about people buying experiences, not products. It’s about learning. It’s about you learning, it’s about your customers learning and your whole business learning and you really seem to be on that journey. So a big thank you for coming on today.
Georgios: Thank you Neil for having me.
Neil: I love the power of conversations like this, from a chance to encounter a conference, Georgious shared his story on this podcast, but now I want you to be part of their future too. So are you ready for that challenge? As part of their recruiting challenge to exciting days away, anyone that wants to sign up to their event in June and it offers a great insight into the world of Allianz and gives you the opportunity to participate directly in initial job interviews and combined with teamwork, you’ll have the ability to prove your talent and pitch your idea in a big touchdown in front of their executives.
I’m going to post the link to the event in the show notes of this episode over www.techblogger.co.uk and if you need anything else or want to contact me about any element of it, remember, tweet me at @NeilCHughes or send me a quick email.
So I really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and if you live anywhere in Europe or fancy, move into your dream job. I really hope that you can make that event in June, and if you do go, I want you to report back to me with your whole experience whether you get the job or you don’t get the job. I want to hear everything about your experience, so please remember this episode and remember to come back to me, but that’s it for today’s episode live on the European Adobe summit, and I hope you’ll join me all again tomorrow.
Thanks for listening to the podcast. Until next time, remember, technology is best when it brings people together.
- Connect with Georgios Kargakis on Linkedin or Twitter
- Seize an opportunity and sign up to the MAKEathon
- Learn more about Allianz
- Follow Allianz on Twitter or Facebook