Elixir Technologies: Agile Disruption: Insurance Economies of Sharing

Basit Hamid, CEO, Elixir TechnologiesBasit Hamid, CEO Technology plays a lead role in the effort to modernize insurance. The landscape for insurance success has changed dramatically; today, network and internet connectivity advancement powers continuous interactions with members and consumers. Insurance brands have begun to leverage social platforms and mobile devices for responsive communication strategies; and cloud computing has given rise to innovative delivery models, and online ecosystems.

The focus of transformation in insurance revolves, primarily, around faster product development, laser-focused go-to-market tactics, business design, and operational cost and resource optimization. Elixir (Tango+) insurance solutions offer clients opportunities to redesign critical business processes and fulfill member and consumer engagement expectations. Tango+ is engineered to leverage the potential of online business; and Elixir has implemented such solutions for global insurance brands. Tango+ capacities, like flexible governance, integration (with open standard API architecture), and an open source portal framework, are a match with current and future-state digital imperatives for insurance.

Insurers must modernize operations without disrupting business-as-usual, which presents steep challenges when adopting new technologies and redesigning process. Elixir provides “full-to-self” support and services to help its insurance clients automate workflows, capture and store data in context, and design revenue producing new streams of digital business to reduce costs, and comply with complex regulatory and governance demands.

Elixir’s mission and culture focus on a humane workplace and lifestyle, collaboration, and a “flat” hierarchy. Elixir conducts business in the same manner, extending the value of its internal talent and technological IP to clients by providing excellent service and flexible solutions and delivery models.

Life on the Bleeding Edge

Elixir Technologies has remained privately funded and operated since it was founded by Basit Hamid, in 1985, at the dawn of B2B technology. Elixir fast secured its position in the document world as a Premier Xerox partner, when it released a democratic (WYSIWYG) interface that gave business users who were operating first generation Xerox laser printers intuitive design-time functionality to assemble documents, power high volume document process-flows, and quickly adapt to new production and delivery requirements. Elixir’s democratic technology made Xerox happy, too. As more office workers became proficient using Xerox laser printers, Xerox B2B sales and revenue increased in direct proportion.

More than 30 years later, Hamid and his work-family remain highly-focused on providing democratic access to advanced technology. Elixir swam upstream from printers and production cycles, with the release of its capably future-facing native-cloud CCM/CMS/portal framework, Tango+. Tango+ outcomes of decades of engagements with globally regulated industries. “Elixir is one of the few CCM companies that is still private,” according to Basit Hamid, “which is significant because it means we make fast decisions and pursue innovations ahead of the proverbial pack; plus, Agile Development practices drive rapid productizing and feature enrichment for Tango+.

Clients benefit greatly; because, more often than not, development prioritizes the backlog to address their specific business challenges.”

We are starting to see that data is the biggest driver of change in business

Elixir is not a managed services provider; it is, rather, a solutions company that has the expertise to drill down in insurance verticals and address real pain points for companies around the world. Hamid states, “Insurance organizations require weekly and daily product cycles; but with legacy systems and processes, getting new products to market that fast is not realistic.” Instead of launching a product over a six-month period, Elixir delivers technology to get the job done in a fraction of the time, without the complexities that come with outsourcing. Similarly, businesses must have a user-friendly interface along with the tools necessary to remain compliant with ever-changing regulations: says Hamid.

Over the last decade, Elixir recognized the need for a business technology platform that was completely web-based and able to meet the requirements of the complex nature of insurance industry players. Tango+ is a ground-up SaaS business correspondence system that addresses the challenges insurers face designing, managing, and publishing content across the organization. Hamid states, “Elixir’s job is to preserve content integrity throughout the lifecycle, from creation to delivery. Tango+ includes a powerful content management system that keeps customer content in a single cloud repository that governs access and provides a single source of truth.”

Workflows are deeply embedded in the solution to maintain control over each stage of document preparation, delivery, and approval. Workflow and process design components give insurance organizations the ability to monitor and track changes, produce an on demand audit trail, report, preview document versions in-process, and expedite time to market. The solution is agile, and can be configured to each company’s current and future business requirements, offering reliable service that is scalable.

Solutions Built for Scalability

One of the more recent obstacles facing financial services, healthcare, and property and casualty companies is the ability to effectively add technology solutions without a disruptive, cumbersome adoption. Hamid explains, “Our vision for Tango+ is as a technology that can realize self-reliance for clients, across the organization, from mainstream users to highly-technical work. We work with clients as partners with shared goals, analyze their workflows and understand their pain points. Only then can we deliver a cross-functional and extensible solution-set.” Elixir provides its own training, service, and support; along with agile deployment and delivery to reduce the time, effort, and resources that are often over-utilized when transitioning to an innovative, or advanced technology solution.

Elixir has achieved an innovative client-vendor partnership with a joint venture life insurance firm in mainland China (between a respected Chinese company, Sinochem, and a globally productive, Canadian brand, Manulife (called Manulife-Sinochem, A.K.A. MLS). MLS selected Elixir to design, engineer, and deploy an online policy generation and delivery experience for new members who perform most commerce online with a cellular phone.

MLS worked alongside Elixir, employing agile methodology to deploy the first-ever all online, option for Chinese consumers buying insurance policies on a mobile phone, using Tango+-powered policy assembly and generation application, which processes, integrates through WeChat to submit, receive, and verify new members’ payments (WeChat is China’s premier social and e-commerce).

The Tango+ application provides digital proofing, e-signature, and payment verification online, via mobile phones. “Our policy delivery innovation opened-up a new revenue stream and channel for MLS and WeChat, and digitalized business is rapidly expanding at MLS.”

The Tango+ policy application and open standard API interface gave MLS a way to generate and deliver innovative, new policies directly to consumers’ mobile phones, within an average three to seven seconds; and the business outcomes are substantial. Hamid explains, “MLS and Manulife Asia, a part of the Manulife global insurance brand, has now adopted Elixir as de facto correspondence technology and solution provider for the APAC region, with Manulife Hong Kong as central sponsor, along with Manulife-Sinochem, in Shanghai, China.”

Dedicated Innovation

Elixir stands out in the market insurance technology solutions because of its ongoing dedication to keeping the company private and small in size. Hamid states, “The company’s solutions are delivered through a global network of strategic partners; and we have strong connections in each market we serve. There are trained personnel to support customers locally so our focus can remain on developing and deploying the best technology.”

Hamid explains that Elixir culture remains focused on the human qualities of business. “I was educated in Norway and Sweden, and from that training, I recognized the importance of looking out for the welfare of people, not just the company’s bottom line. Each member of the Elixir team is part of the family; and that has played a significant role in the success of Elixir. Many employees have been with us for over a decade, which I attribute to the lack of hierarchy and bureaucracy. Employee allegiance trickles down to Elixir clients in the form of customer service at all costs; and because of this dedication, hundreds of companies have been loyal supporters for the entirety of Elixir’s existence.”

Hamid sees promise in the future of insurance technology: “We are starting to see that data is the biggest driver of change in business, in both the automation process of transitioning from legacy systems to cloud-based solutions as well as the ability to scale and grow business operations. The silos of data have to be broken down so that data can be integrated and cleansed if the vast amounts of information businesses collect are going to be truly beneficial. Elixir is continuously working to liberate its customers from data silos and the multiple vendors needed to do so by partnering with cloud companies that can assist with efficient data migration.”

Similarly, Hamid sees a greater need for decision-makers to access real time information about all aspects of their business, from reports about agents and potential members, to products development and recall plans; the call for contextualized, real time information and visualized data is pressing; Elixir is in progress finding partners and clients to pilot these solutions, currently.

The company is also focused on online ecosystems and integration with Tango+ open standard APIs to connect participants in a business system. Hamid states, “There are many prevalent ecosystems touching a customer’s site, the challenge is to expand on those through the cloud.” Elixir will continue to grow and curate its strategic partner network to affect change, achieve greater scalability, and design agile practices that help connect participants and speed-up time-to-value. Elixir’s deep understanding of vertical business processes and complexities gives it insights that support and inspire technology innovation, excellent customer service, and humanistic culture keep Elixirat the bleeding edge of enterprise technology.

- Russel Thomas
    December 13, 2017