Schweizerische Mobiliar Versicherungsgesellschaft
«Not much works at Mobiliar without IT.»
Urs Hübscher is responsible for running an IT system at Mobiliar that is always on the move. In this interview, he explains the challenges he faces every day, what they have to do with speedboats and why he works together with ITpoint.
Mr Hübscher, how important is IT to Mobiliar's business operations in your opinion?
Very important. Not much works at Mobiliar without a stable and functional IT system. Our IT department currently has around 450 employees – nearly 10% of the entire corporate workforce. All in all, we invested 121 million Swiss francs in projects during 2016, of which 90% flowed into modernising our core business.
You invest in modernising your core business? What exactly do you mean?
We modernise our IT systems, equipment and processes to ensure that our success continues into the future. Additionally, we invest considerable amounts in digitising customer access points and in data security. We also invest in individual projects to test new and innovative business models that may prove to be successful in times ahead. These so-called «speedboats» are fast, agile and experimental in nature. In 2016, for instance, we developed the «FindMe» app that can be linked to mobile or portable objects such as bags, laptops and bicycles that are not connected to the electricity grid. The app helps owners to find their property quickly in the event of loss or theft.
How does Mobiliar ensure that business requirements flow into the IT strategy and IT operations?
Mobiliar operates a business-driven IT system – this means that the further development of the IT landscape is based on business cases. We develop and maintain IT systems that support the implementation of our strategy. We continuously review technological developments and derive business recommendations from them. The objective is to ensure that business processes and product structures (even beyond the boundaries of the insurance segment) can be standardised. Events such as the «ChallengeDays» support the objective as assessment, evaluation, etc., are carried out by a jury consisting mainly of business representatives.
How would you describe Mobiliar's IT strategy in just a few words?
The development of our IT is based on five strategic goals:
- Assure flexibility for the future (simplify the IT landscape, utilise synergies, increase agility)
- Cope with growth (assure performance)
- Reduce risks (assure the availability, stability and security of IT systems, active lifecycle management)
- Reduce IT costs (process optimisation, automation and mass processing)
- Promote innovation (support business operations, modern workplaces)
You are responsible for IT operations. What typical challenges do you face?
- Assuring the perfect provision of IT services to Mobiliar employees at 79 general agencies and three administration locations
- Handling permanent cost pressure
- Developing security issues
- Making IT operations more agile
- Understanding Cloud approaches and utilising them – where expedient – for Mobiliar
Mobiliar's IT crew consists of 450 employees. Given such an impressive number, in what areas does it make sense to appoint an external IT service provider?
The consistent prioritisation of new functionalities since 2002 led not only to growth, but also to greater IT complexity. Mobiliar has to take the factor of IT complexity into account and consider sourcing models in areas where external service providers can provide better or cheaper services than the in-house IT department.
Why did Mobiliar decide to cooperate with ITpoint?
ITpoint is a reliable and respectable IT service provider with a programme that suits us well. The personnel provided by ITpoint is competent and conscientious. One thing I consider very important: they keep their promises.