What began as a plan to get a single tech project back on track opened the door for a comprehensive transformation at settlement planning firm Ringler Associates.
Butch Knowlton says he joined the company more than a year ago as its first CIO as Ringler’s leadership recognized the need to focus on technology. At the time, there was a patchwork of IT resources running at the company, he says, with limited strategy or vision. “One-time decisions were made due to the occurrence of elements or situations within the organization.”
Knowlton says that when he initially joined the company, he was supposed to salvage a project that would become part of the overall low token/no token approach the company had adopted. I quickly realize that a complete digital transformation is needed.
Looking at the regulated settlement sector in general, Knowlton says there isn’t a lot of technology designed for this space. He says there’s a historical trend in the market to focus more on relationships with customers rather than technology — but that’s starting to change.
“It’s really brokers who sell company policies, annuities, and some other products to be able to create a structured settlement of every claim that needs income for some time,” Knowlton says.
Ringler designs settlement plans for injured individuals, their attorneys, and insurance companies. Over the course of its history, Ringler’s settlement plans have seen over $3 billion in insurance premiums. The company’s transformation included the shift from isolated, internally owned tools to Creatio’s code-free platform for process automation and customer relationship management (CRM).
CRM solution is back on the right track
Knowlton says his first assignment with Ringler was to get a CRM solution implementation project back on track. That doubled as a plan to shut down five disparate apps, he says, in favor of a single experience for end users. This may include replacing the case management system and accounting system, then moving toward a data lake or data warehouse capacity that can lead to data-driven decisions.
Knowlton says Creatio’s low-code capabilities and lack of code gave Ringler a way to quickly implement its new plans. “Implementing and delivering this project will enable a lot of things.” This included migration from an on-premises and virtual data center to the cloud where Ringler could extend and manage resources.
“We are able to take advantage of some of the components and security devices that we have inside of us [Microsoft] Azure that we really need to modernize within our organization,” he says.
This allowed Ringler to capture data while also focusing on customer needs. Knowlton says that greater discipline and consistency in data through the transformation, has led to greater insights into business practices and activities within Ringler as well as its customers. “We feel this can be a competitive differentiator for us as we move towards analytics,” he says.
Even with mature industries, adopting low-code/no-code resources is not always an easy sell. Knowlton says the formal settlement sector is notorious for its anti-change. He admits that some steps could have been handled more smoothly, such as achieving digital adoption and reaching out to Ringler teams in the field. He says that it might have been better to update legacy components of Ringler’s existing technology security if the company had prepared the infrastructure before the project was implemented. “What we had to do was work on the race car while it was on the track.”
Knowlton says he applies strategic principles to stability, improvement, and innovation in data, security, infrastructure, and enterprise. Ringler is starting out in the optimization phase, he says, tied to data and analytics. Knowlton says that should arm the company with a solid analytics presentation layer through Microsoft Power BI that allows Ringler to consume data. This can open the door for Ringler to discuss stewardship with the customer’s voice as well as provide insight into finances as an organization. “This comprehensive strategy is driving our ability to scale,” he says.
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