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Deloitte Consulting Asia Pacific’s Joanna Wong joins panel of judges in the HKB Technology Excellence Awards 2021

Insurers are exploring ways in which they could optimise digitisation to better connect with their customers.

As the Deloitte Consulting China Insurance Industry Leader in Hong Kong, as well as a member of the Deloitte Global Insurance Management Team, Joanna Wong specialises in market entry, strategic transformation, and innovation where she has been advising leading re/insurers on their global and local plans.

With nearly two decades of experience in the insurance industry and consulting in the Asia Pacific and North America, she has also been active in health insurance advisory where she has provided help to both the private and public sectors in guiding the health payer and provider developmental efforts 

As one of the judges at the HKB Technology Excellence Awards, Joanna sat down with us to share important insurance trends and to give advice to businesses affected by the crisis.

Can you share with us your work experience or a backstory that has contributed to your expertise?  

I started my career in the insurance industry working for one of the largest multinational insurers in the world before becoming a management consultant. I have worked in North America, Europe, and Asia over the years helping insurers with some of their most strategic transformations and market entry initiatives where innovation and technology are the key enablers of success.

What are some of the most important insurance trends and business trends that are being driven and enabled by technology? 

The pandemic has introduced a new normal for the insurance industry which is here to stay. The inability to meet face to face has accelerated the insurers' pace for digital transformation across the value chain. Insurers are exploring ways in which they could optimise digitisation to better connect with their customers, empower their distribution partners and employees. There is also a growing trend for cross-industry collaborations where insurers may orchestrate or participate in digital ecosystems where data and analytics are at the core of such developments.

What's your advice to businesses that are slow to adopt company-wide digitisation despite growing demand and enthusiasm for digital technologies?  

Deloitte has come across many businesses particularly those in the more traditional industry who have underinvested in technology over the years. Some of these companies suffered as the business environment has changed rapidly under Covid-19 and they were unable to respond quickly to the ways of working. For these companies, I think there is a need for them to review their business models and carefully assess what fundamental changes are needed to ensure an enterprise-wide digital transformation can yield a positive business case. One-off investment or point solutions may provide quick wins but cannot make a sustainable impact. In addition, companies should not overlook the importance of organizational and cultural change management needed to drive the adoption of digital technology across the enterprise.

Almost all industries in Hong Kong have been severely affected by the pandemic. What's your advice to those who are in the early stages of recovery? 

I think companies should recognise that the new normal implies the need for companies to evolve from their old ways of working in order to maintain their competitor advantage. Embracing innovation is a critical success factor for all industries in this day and age, including a professional services organisation like Deloitte. Companies in the early stages of recovery should proactively explore disruptive changes they can make to differentiate themselves in the market through acquisitions, incubations and/or investments, etc.

Many experts are espousing digital transformation as the key action that will keep businesses afloat during and after the pandemic. But is there a possibility that it can also be a hindrance--much less an added problem--to their survival and progress? 

Digital transformation when executed without meticulous planning and awareness of the organisation's maturity for adoption, will only be a failed investment which Deloitte has observed many times over the years with companies that have jumped too quickly. The replacement and/or integration with legacy technologies, the availability of internal and external data, and the organisation's implementation agility are some aspects that can become a hindrance for companies if not considered properly.

What are some of your hobbies? Can you tell us more about them? 

I love to travel (when we can travel again!), cook and play classical music in my free time.

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