An Interview with Sumit Puri


FST Media: What are your IT priorities for the next 12 to 18 months?

Puri: Our key priorities are to enhance mobile channels and further automate operational and sales processes so that our customers and distribution channels can interact with us even more conveniently and effectively. We are planning to launch several additional self-service transactions and services through website and mobile channels, in order to simplify and enhance the customer and distributor channel experience.

We are also working on further improving our customer analytics so we can offer more differentiated services and products to our customers in line with their preferences and stated financial needs.

FST Media: What will be the most significant challenge facing Indonesia’s insurance industry in the year ahead? 

Puri: The long term growth potential and prospects of Indonesia’s insurance industry are very strong, considering the low level of insurance penetration and favourable demographic profile of the population. 

However, the most significant challenges facing the industry over the short term are some of the new regulations regarding consumer and data protection, FATCA, and so on, which would require quick alignment of systems and processes in order to standardise selling practices by sales distribution channels across the industry. In line with these requirements, Prudential Indonesia has already completed all necessary system changes ahead of schedule to enhance customer data protection and ensure regulatory compliance.

FST Media: How has technology enabled customer service trends to evolve, and how will Prudential Life Assurance use this to enhance the customer experience/journey?

Puri: In the current information age, technology can truly enable businesses and facilitate customer experience. As Bill Gates has also stated “information technology and business are becoming increasingly interwoven. We cannot talk meaningfully about one without talking about the other.” The technology trends of mobility, analytics, social media and cloud are changing the service landscape today.

Customers today are lot more informed and expect personalised and differentiated services from their insurance provider. In line with evolving trends, Prudential Indonesia is the first in the Indonesian market to offer a customer website on a mobile platform with personalised e-statements and also allowing customers to perform various self-service transactions including switching, redirection and top-ups, and the tools to claim payment status information. We offer these services across mobile platforms to enable anytime anywhere access to our customers and are planning to enable online claims submission on these platforms so the customer experience can be further improved. 

We are also closely tracking interactions and feedback received from our customers on our social media channels, in order to understand customer needs better. Using sophisticated analytics, we have initiated differentiated services for distinct customer segments and are developing predictive underwriting models to reward healthy customer behaviour. 

FST Media: How has Prudential Life Assurance Indonesia’s Implementation of a workflow automation initiative enhanced operational efficiency?

Puri: Our workflow automation initiative has been highly successful in transforming our backend operational processes. The automation initiative has improved process accuracy, significantly reduced processing times for our new business applications and policy alterations, and also helped us process claims faster. We have received several Asia Pacific level awards for the business transforming approach of this initiative which has significantly enhanced our new business policy issuance and claim processing capacity .

FST Media: How are you identifying and overcoming operational bottlenecks to deliver an enhanced customer experience?

Puri: We have invested significantly in improving our business management information system (MIS) and analytics capability to enhance business performance.  We have implemented a SAP and Business Objects based datamart system to help enable business metrics reporting. In order to identify and resolve process bottlenecks, we have created operational process dashboards which measure end-to-end process times from a customer perspective. We have created internal service level targets for operational processes and monitor the key metrics closely to ensure customer experience is consistently improved.

FST Media: What are the benefits of deploying cloud-based solutions in the insurance industry?

Puri: The insurance sector has access to a lot of sensitive customer data and therefore protection of customer data is critical. Cloud based solutions offer the advantages of flexibility, agility and cost-efficiency, however, it is imperative we balance this with strict adherence to security controls. As industry level security standards and service level agreements are still evolving in Indonesia, it might be advisable to explore a phased approach with moving non-mission critical applications such as e-Learning, performance testing services and HR systems on hybrid cloud in the first phase and expand cloud usage as organisational users become more mature.

FST Media: How has your implementation of enterprise and mobility systems for multi-channel customer engagement at Prudential?

Puri: The implementation of our enterprise and mobility applications has been very well received in the market. Usage of web and mobile channels by customers has been steadily increasing with almost 50 per cent increase in user registrations and logins over the last 2 years. These initiatives have not only helped improve user engagement and customer convenience but also resulted in significant cost efficiencies for the business.

FST Media: What have been the business benefits of deploying an IT Strategic Governance framework?

Puri: I firmly believe that technology is a true enabler of businesses. In our IT Strategic Governance framework, instead of including only technical metrics for review, we have included business related IT metrics which are of primary importance to key business stakeholders. As the saying goes “if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.” With the help of rigorous monitoring of metrics in the IT Strategic Governance framework, we have been able to consistently enhance IT systems and our service delivery to the business.

FST Media: What are some of the skills you have picked up from your role as a technology leader and how do you successfully implement these in your personal life?

Puri: The key skills I have picked up from my role as technology leader is the ability to recognise potential and think laterally and strategically over the long term. Also, one of the key learnings has been the need to invest in relationships, create a collaborative “win-win” ecosystem in order to harmonise the workplace and maximise team performance. This attitude of looking for positives and investing in people and relationships has helped me become more patient and balanced in my personal life. 

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Puri: I would like to be remembered as a strategic, caring and customer centric leader who strived hard to leverage technology for the business and for its customers.


If you would like to hear more from Mr. Sumit Puri, he will be participating in an exclusive CXO panel discussion at  FST Media’s 2nd annual Technology & Innovation – The Future of Banking & Financial Services conference to be held at the InterContinental in Jakarta on the 3rd of December. Don’t miss out on this important industry event. Register and see the agenda here.