Driving Innovation
A view from inside the Incubator

30th October 2017

Launched last month, the CDL Incubator offers a dedicated space to support start-up ideas and encourage the development of technologies for the insurance sector and beyond. Here, we report on the first project to take wings.

The aim of the Incubator is to take an idea from initial whiteboard session through to working prototype and each idea will have a small team dedicated to its delivery, emphasising the importance of collaboration. The guidelines for ideas that can go into the Incubator are deliberately open; the aim is that the Incubator is a space for blue skies research and development.  

The first concept to be developed is the brainchild of Keith Johnson, whose 'Swiftsearch' was first put forward at the CDL Hackathon earlier this year. Here, we can exclusively reveal its progress.

Driving contact centre productivity
The premise of 'Swiftsearch' is to offer a Google-styled, single click search engine within CDL’s insurance retail solution Strata. In under three weeks of working in the Incubator, the concept was taken from idea to working prototype and a number of new technologies have been identified to create the search tool.

According to Keith: "It was clear that the solution offered a high value proposition in terms of operator time savings and the resulting productivity gains afforded; we calculated that a large retailer could easily expect to free up one FTE to focus on higher value customer service as a result of the introduction of Swiftsearch.

Evaluating technologies
"Time in the Incubator also provided an opportunity to evaluate AWS Serverless Technologies as the architecture underpinning the solution. I had a personal and longstanding interest in testing out serverless technologies and really valued having the opportunity to do this, while applying the technology to a 'real life' CDL problem. By outsourcing servers to the cloud, we could focus on the application functionality rather than the infrastructure. Another interesting spin-off was the discussion that this project led us to have about UX and design of our operator interface.

"It was also a great collaborative experience and we thoroughly enjoyed working as a small group to bring the search solution to life. While there's more to do to bring Swiftsearch to market, it's an idea with huge potential and we're now running testing prior to consulting customers on a pilot for the solution. A small dedicated team can get a prototype created quickly!"

The successful initial stages of Swiftsearch represent a very positive first taste of the Incubator and demonstrate that when given the freedom and time to explore ideas, a collaborative approach enables new technologies to be brought to life. There is much scope for the insurance industry to evolve even further to become consumer-centric and R&D initiatives, such as CDL's Incubator, are at the forefront of this revolution.