How Aviva Modernizes Operational Risk Management for a More Engaging User Experience

3 min read

Joining the IBM User Experience Program (UXP) to support Aviva's GRC strategy.

For more than 325 years, Aviva plc has helped its customers enjoy peace of mind. Today, as one of the largest savings, retirement and insurance businesses in the United Kingdom, we help more than 34 million customers manage the risks of everyday life. Essential to our company strategy is enhancing the user experience for our internal customers who must adhere to Aviva's governance, risk and compliance (GRC) company mandates. 

Design thinking: The foundation of user experience

Three years ago, our team members joined the IBM User Experience Program (UXP) to support Aviva's GRC strategy. We agreed to work directly with IBM's Design and Research teams, committing to improving IBM OpenPages® with Watson. However, I admit, our initial program exercise was surprising. 

When we engaged in the program, we learned the designers were not experts in our system or the OpenPages product. They were, however, highly skilled facilitators with expertise in design concepts and enterprise design thinking. They were fully committed to designing the best user experience for us.

While skeptical, I went through the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking process with the team and soon understood how the designers' unbiased talents worked to our advantage. Although IBM designers had no experience in risk and controls in the governance, risk and compliance (GRC), they delivered great designs for the GRC practice. Additionally, I learned that the Enterprise Design Thinking philosophy and principles could apply to almost anything. Our commitment to the process was rewarded.

UXP improves operations risk management solutions

Before we joined the IBM User Experience Program (UXP), we'd take a deep breath when we received each new product release announcement, wondering, "What are we going to get now?"

Through our involvement in the UXP and the IBM agile development process, we had a say in product improvements and have seen that our input has come back to us through product enhancements. As we participated in new features discussions and started beta testing, we started development before the general product release cycle — and we alerted the IBM team to potential issues. For example, we recommended that adding a bulk stop capability would benefit users. IBM included the feature in the new V8.2 user interface. We also identified that our customers need to refresh the workflow without clicking the actual 'Refresh' button on the web browser. After pointing this out to the IBM team, they added this functionality to the new user interface. The product was so much better. 

Our favorite improvement to OpenPages since joining the UXP has been the Task Focused UI feature. From the users' and the backend developers' points of view, it was a game-changer for us. The ability to rearrange fields, change dependencies and make fields read-only/editable with one click means that we can easily develop a new workflow and then test live with the developer to fix any issues and deliver quickly and easily to the users. Reducing reliance on triggers is also a big win for us, as it reduces the amount of specialist developer time we need. The "noise" from the users declined. Now, the OpenPages system is generally more intuitive. Available training increased self-service capabilities decreased the amount of support need from our team.

Realizing the value of continued UXP participation 

Aviva remains committed to our collaboration with IBM. Before the pandemic, we even had a couple of sessions where we all gathered together in person to work through various problem areas. It was gratifying to be there with IBMers and other IBM customers. We collaborated as a group and talked through challenges: "Well, this is a problem. How do we fix it?" While our collaboration is online, our customer group is very involved in giving feedback. 

The value of this collaboration is witnessing that the IBM design team understand our needs and dialogue to explore the possibilities. The design team comes to our customer group and says, "What about something like this?" And sometimes we'll say, "Do it!" or "Have you thought about this?" 

Our group's interactions developed into an agile, ongoing process. We've seen the enhancements based on our suggestions come through quickly, benefiting Aviva and thousands of OpenPages customers. 

Join the User Experience Program

If you're an IBM products user, I encourage you to join the User Experience Program and get involved in the latest product enhancements. You, too, can have your seat at the table, get your voice heard and enjoy the ongoing support you get from the design team. Sign up today!

The IBM User Experience Program connects IBM solution users with designers and researchers to co-create seamless user experiences and participate in research studies. Apply today and start your innovation journey.

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