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ICEA LION GROUP; Transforming Insurance Service Delivery with G Suite

By Elizabeth Akinyi | April 1st, 2020

ICEA LION Group is a one-stop financial services provider offering innovative products and services in insurance, pensions, investments and trusts. Having delivered several innovative solutions to the market over the years, they have grown to become one of the largest financial service providers in the region with well-established operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Group was formed when Insurance Company of East Africa Limited (ICEA) and Lion of Kenya Insurance Company Limited (LOK) merged in 2011.

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The challenge

In 2013 the IT team at ICEA LION Group wanted to provide technologies to enable team members to work more efficiently and focus more intensively on improving customer satisfaction. “We were in the middle of a program to deliver some customer-facing applications and digital marketing services to boost sales and customer loyalty,” says David Too, the IT manager. “We were also looking for technologies to streamline our IT and development operations to reduce the load on our IT team.”

“We decided to measure G Suite and rival cloud-based office productivity software. Our calculations showed a return on investment for G Suite of 104% in three years, compared to 30% for the rival solution over the same period.” David Too, Head of Information Technology, ICEA LION Group

The business’s ambitions to grow and modernise outstripped the capabilities of its on-premises productivity applications. When the servers running these applications reached end of life, ICEA LION Group decided to use the opportunity to transform its work processes and culture.

The business quickly turned to public cloud services that could minimise the need for its internal team to run and configure in-house infrastructure. This would enable the IT team to focus intensively on application development and other key priorities. ICEA LION Group then adopted a policy of choosing applications that could be deployed quickly and easily, would be simple for employees to use, and that delivered a rapid return on investment.

The Solution

David and his team presented a plan to deploy G Suite to senior management, who leapt at the opportunity to streamline processes at the business. ICEA LION Group decided to proceed with its G Suite deployment in February 2013 and completed the rollout to its 400-strong workforce in early May the same year. Team members now have access to a range of intelligent applications to operate more efficiently and productively, while the IT team has sharpened its focus on higher-value activities.

“Our business teams use nearly all the applications available, including Gmail for email, Google Calendar to manage appointments, Google Drive to provide file storage and backup, Google Docs to create documents, and Google Slides for presentation development,” David says. “We also use Google Forms to create and analyse customer surveys and Google Keep for personal note taking.

I have observed that after the implementation of G Suite our employees have become more engaged with their work and show greater willingness to share their ideas.” David Too, Head of IT, ICEA LION Group.

ICEA LION Group has already used Google Sites to create its internal portal. “We had originally submitted a budget to set up a portal, but Google Sites enabled us to create a working version for next to nothing in just a few days,” David says. “The portal is now the first screen that opens when our employees log on and gives them immediate access to Google services via icons for Google Drive, Google Docs, and others. They can also directly view content posted by teams from across the business unit and news about the insurance industry through RSS feeds.”

ICEA Lion Group has also employed Google Groups to set up a collaborative site for a small customer service team established to extend the insurer’s business into retail products. “In early July last year this team started selling online travel and car insurance policies to retail clients,” David says. “Google has enabled us to set up a collaborative inbox for this team that also enables its manager to assign tasks as necessary. We’ve also used Google Sheets to manage case logs. These technologies have been absolutely integral to enabling us to set this team up as quickly as possible.”

Throughout this, our Partner, Incentro Africa has been a great support system since September 2017 offering support on best policies and practices to avoid data breaches, put in place mobile device management and ensure a return on investment.

With less time and effort needed for maintenance, the team now has more resources and time to focus on other aspects of their IT infrastructure and systems including possibilities of using Google Cloud Platform as a solution for their infrastructure modernization.

The combination of tools available through G Suite has also enabled David’s team to set up a highly functional project management structure. “I am using Google Drive to store project management documents; Google Docs for minute taking; Google Sheets to log issues and collaborate with external partners; and Google Slides to create presentations for management and other stakeholders.”

In the long run; A Cloud strategy journey began, with Greater engagement and Collaboration

The benefits of G Suite to ICEA LION Group are not limited to specific use cases. “I have observed that after the implementation of G Suite our team members have become more engaged with their work and show greater willingness to share their ideas,” David says. “Also, we found that we are all saving considerable time in our daily work.”

“In the past, if someone wanted to create a presentation, they needed to create a draft that then needed to be reviewed by a range of colleagues. Doing this involved a very complicated procedure of obtaining feedback that must be consolidated manually into a master version. Now, using Google Slides, team members can input their feedback directly into the presentation.”

With G Suite now implemented and delivering value to ICEA LION Group, David and his team are keeping a close eye on new tools that may enhance automation and link tasks and activities together. “G Suite is very much our direction and a key enabler of our modernization program,” he says.

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