The great integration of data, technology and services
Young drivers who have held a driving licence for less than two years are more likely than experienced motorists to be in a car crash. As a result, the cost of insurance is higher for all new drivers, even the cautious ones.
This is changing, thanks to telematics. Companies such as Amodo, an insurance technology company, for example, facilitate recording driving behaviour via a black-box or smartphone app. Insurers can then offer motorists bespoke cover as well as advice on better driving.
Data is sometimes dubbed “the new oil” for its economic value, and it is having a profound effect on business models and social behaviour. In a series of articles, the FT’s Intelligent Business report looks at the people and ideas behind the convergence of data and technology in business. We showcase the most interesting in case studies alongside the articles, and select a winner in each category. (A note on the methodology appears at the end of this introduction).
The insurance industry is one of the first to feel the force of this revolution with the emergence of “insurtech”.
An example is the advisory firm Aon, which can now collect and analyse information on a business’s intangible assets, such as its intellectual property, allowing underwriters to offer cover based on facts rather than guesswork. Aon is also pioneering a registry for trade secrets in which information is not publicly patented but is kept strictly confidential. By having a value for their most private work, companies will be able to insure it.
The public sector is also benefiting. Local government is rarely associated with technological prowess but on both sides of the Atlantic records and services are being digitised. Sonoma County, California, is in the process of delivering “whole patient” healthcare for vulnerable people by making records more accessible to the people who need to see them. In Britain, the city of Leeds is doing likewise.
Legal sector disruption
Convergence makes basic business operations more productive too. From managing legal expenditure to supply chains to commercial contracting, companies are gaining time and resources. Accenture, the consultancy, reckons it has saved 70 per cent on legal expenditure and slashed the cost of commercial contract drafting.
Automating the contracting process is having surprising results: it is becoming more “human”. Companies, including Shell, have created visual contracts to make them less legalistic and easier to use. Professional bodies such as the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, led by Tim Cummins, have analysed the data in thousands of contracts to create universal principles that are being used as modules to build documents that also improve commercial relationships. Mr Cummins is an example of how people working outside a sector, in this case legal, can disrupt it. Through the association, he defined the role of the commercial contract manager and so created a new profession.
The legal sector is ripe for further disruption. Many young companies are poised to make commercial law more efficient. Some use artificial intelligence to do the first read of a mass of documents while others speed up and simplify the signing stage of transactions.
Along comes blockchain
One technology with big potential is blockchain. From tackling supply-chain inefficiencies to regulating city transport, companies and consumers are beginning to see the effect for themselves.
The changes are blurring the lines between professional services: the Big Four, law firms and consultancies are entering new industries with new offerings. EY estimates that it has 160 blockchain-based proof-of-concept projects under way. In one case, the firm has worked with a software security company to set up Insurwave, a platform that captures real-time data to allow insurers to deliver flexible cover to shipowners. What makes the system so efficient and secure is blockchain.
A professional services goliath such as EY can now act more like a nimble insurtech business. Expect to see other similarly fleet-footed partnerships in the years ahead.
The Intelligent Business report highlights how the convergence of legal and professional services with data and technology is streamlining back office operations and transforming business models. Research to select the case studies and organisations featured in the report included a submissions and nominations process, market surveys and additional research and interviews. RSG Consulting conducted more than 300 interviews to assess case studies and organisations between June and October.
The criteria used to select case studies were: peer, client and market commendations; impact on the business or market; and the degree to which companies demonstrated the convergence of legal services, professional services, technology and data.
FT Intelligent Business 10
The shortlist (see table above) for the overall Intelligent Business Award was selected on the basis of the number of categories in which the organisation features in the report, peer commendation and whether the organisation won an award in this report or in the FT Innovative Lawyers reports of 2018 and 2019.
Judges for the Market Shaper and Legal Business Technologist awards
A panel of judges chose the Market Shaper and the Legal Business Technologist awards: Harriet Arnold, Special Reports assistant editor, FT; Kate Beioley, legal correspondent, FT; Leyla Boulton, Special Reports editor, FT; Jane Croft, law courts correspondent, FT; Chris Georgiou, partner, head of Ashurst Advance; Aine Lyons, Cloc; Alastair Morrison, head of client strategy, Pinsent Masons; Tom Saunders, research analyst, RSG Consulting; Reena SenGupta, chief executive, RSG Consulting; Mary Shen O’Carroll, president, Cloc; Daryl Shetterly, director of Orrick Analytics, Orrick.
RSG Consulting research team
Reena SenGupta, Tom Saunders, Mary Ormerod, Katie Kirkwood, Kehinde Lawal, Rebecca Harding