Focus on Outcome Over Output: Achieve More with Digital Transformation

Technology today is the mother of any innovation in any industry more so in the financial services and insurance industry. The amount of change, speed of change, impact of change, are all today influenced more and more by digital strategy and the organization maturity in how digital they are.

Sivakumar Seshadri
Head of Digital

Technology and digital projects have historically focused on speed of output, cost of output and quality of output but what is more important than these three is the outcome the project produces. Having an end goal is not enough for a digital strategy to achieve its outcome. Having a holistic outcome driven strategy is critical to deliver value to its stakeholders. Moreover, delivering any outcome is not enough in today’s world. Rather, it is the outcomes that matter to stakeholders that is important and ultimately drives success and impact.

Why focusing on outcome matters: Case in point

Take the example of Kodak, which failed to fully embrace digital photography and focused instead on growing its traditional film business and print business (output). While it continued to make incremental improvements to its printing technology and digital cameras, the world had moved on to mobile devices and social media (outcome) for sharing photos. Today, probably we pay more for storing photos in cloud than printing photos. Similarly, Sears in the United States expanded its physical store footprint (output) but neglected to focus on acquiring new customers who were preferring sleeker online delivery(outcome).

An outcome focused digital strategy delivers result every single time. Take the example of Blockbuster versus Netflix. Netflix deployed advanced analytics, deep AI, amazing visual and user experience all through digital medium and its projects delivered the outcome not just output. Blockbuster, meanwhile, emphasized the number of titles in its stores (output) rather than the number of new customers it could attract and market leadership it needed to maintain(outcome).

Therefore, outcome-focused companies like Netflix have flourished in the digital age. Netflix’s strategy has always been centred on customer acquisition and engagement. Netflix’s core strategy was focused on how many new customers it will add and how much engagement the customer has on its platforms, these goals are tangible with realizable outcomes. By leveraging advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and a user-friendly interface, Netflix has managed to capture a massive share of the streaming video market and transform the entertainment and film distribution industry.

Having project goals and milestones are important but when it’s tied to an outcome it helps the organization to reorient itself and grow dramatically. Another case in point in Insurance industry is PingAn. PingAn insurance focused on leveraging digital to reimagine insurance and deliver last mile customer impact using technology resulting in PingAn becoming one of the world’s largest insurer in just 8 years. PingAn used technology and AI to automate its digital claims providing literally near real time customer claims experience, this was unheard off in insurance industry till recently, PingAn Tech was so sought after than it went on to acquire not just one or two insurers but over 100 insurers and brokers use today PingAN technology to drive their transformation.

Strategizing outcomes for digital success

The lesson for today’s digital strategists is clear: outcomes matter more than output. But how can organizations ensure they are prioritizing the right metrics? Here is a cheat sheet to compare your project goals against what it should contain or should not contain:

  • Project goals should be tied to tangible customer or stakeholder impact, beyond just traditional metrics such as deadlines, budgets, or short-term gains.
  • Project tracking should continue beyond the initial go-live date, with ongoing iterations to ensure the intended outcome is achieved.
  • Customer success should be measured from the customer’s perspective, rather than the organization’s point of view.
  • Organizations should be flexible and agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs and changing project scope.
  • Collaboration with customers and stakeholders should occur throughout the project lifecycle, rather than just at the beginning or in the end.
  • Deliver Micro bits, focusing on large deliveries will lead to large problems, for example Metro Rail Projects in many countries are started segment by segment to reach every corner of the whole city.
  • Finally, organizations should embrace emerging digital technologies to accelerate outcomes Digital Technology evolves every single day and organization must leverage every drop of it and accelerate outcomes. ChatGPT came in in the last few months and in next few months you will find some market player leveraging it to deliver customer service, claims operations, finding fraud and so on.

Way forward

An outcome-driven strategy is critical for any organization’s success, especially in today’s digital age. It is not enough to focus solely on the output of a project; organizations must ensure they are delivering the outcomes that matter most to their stakeholders. Kodak, Sears, and Blockbuster are just a few examples of companies that failed due to an output-focused approach. In contrast, PingAn and Netflix are successful examples of outcome-focused strategies. By following the cheat sheet provided and taking a holistic approach to outcome-driven strategy, organizations can ensure they are delivering value to their customers and stakeholders, accelerating outcomes, and ultimately driving success and impact.

About the author

Sivakumar Seshadri is the Head of Digital at Tawuniya a Market leading insurer in KSA and one of the largest Insurer in MENA region, Siva has 32+ years of expertise in the insurance industry with, expertise in bringing result-oriented Transformation and Digitization for leading insurers across various continents. He has been instrumental in driving several digital initiatives across global insurers which helped them in accelerating revenue growth and market leading combined ratios.

In the recent past, Siva transformed and grew Al Rajhi Takaful into one of the major insurers in the KSA as its COO, CIO & CDO and a founding management executive, leading the organization to become the largest motor insurer in KSA, Siva previously led Banking & Insurance vertical with global technology organizations such as Infosys, Capgemini (Igate), Tata consultancy Services and LIC of India. His expertise covers Digitalization & Transformation, Building and Growing Ecommerce and E-business, Insurance Operations, Technology Management and Strategic Consulting

Siva is an ACII and Fellow of Insurance Institute of India and holds a Master’s with specialization in Insurance, He is also as CSQA and is an IBM Certified Design Thinker.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
Reproduction or Copying in part or whole is not permitted unless approved by author.


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