The IT department of an insurance firm was proud to have delivered a new web-portal for brokers to conduct business (largely sales and renewals); it had been delivered on time, under budget, and they had used ‘agile’ and ‘lean’, so, as the IT leader said, ‘this was clearly world-class’.

The chief executive had regular meetings with the top brokers and he soon got the impression things were different; brokers were complaining vociferously about the new web portal. So, being a good leader, he went to the people in IT who had built the site. Pleased to see him the IT people assumed they were going to be congratulated, but were shocked to hear the news. Then some further bad news (from their point of view): the chief executive said he was sending a Vanguard expert.

The first thing they did was go to study the brokers. What quickly became apparent was that the web portal was a one-size-fits-all, and brokers were not one-sized. It was clear why brokers were unhappy. The next step was to study how the brokers worked and that resulted in understanding the features of the site that needed to offer choices, in order for the site to work as one with each and every brokers’ processes.

A new ‘front-end’ was created, tested with brokers and now it is working fine. The web portal makes it easy for brokers to conduct business.

So what do you suppose was the impact on sales?