For Kotak Life Insurance—part of the Kotak Mahindra Group—the proper management of its 35,000 insurance agents in India is essential. Motivating the agents and taking care of their rewards and recognition is part of the company's business objectives. The company's IT department decided to take this business objective forward with a channel management system to manage Kotak Life's reward and recognition programs. "We needed a proactive and transparent tool for the business, which could help channel partners understand what their targets were, whether or not they were meeting their targets, and whether or not they were eligible for the rewards," says Dhiresh Rustogi, the executive vice president of IT for Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd.
Generally, reward programs are designed for a specific period of time, during which the agents are eligible for rewards. The older system at Kotak Life did not generate any intimation in case an agent missed his target by a couple of policies. To manage issues such as these, the IT team at Kotak Life deployed Herald Logic's channel management system in November 2009. This is a fully-integrated Web-based channel management system which is part of the company's ERP. The channel management system helps each agent by giving all related information such as the number of policies in process, targets to be achieved, and rewards. Once a policy is logged into the core system, it starts generating the individual agent's information. This channel management system also shows the difference in numbers required to reach to the next level and the shortfall (if any) for getting rewards.
According to Rustogi, Kotak Life's IT team evaluated various channel management systems for almost two years. The company was searching for tools and mechanisms which could immediately provide information. At that point of time, all processes were Excel-based at Kotak Life. Each department downloaded data and performed calculations after every quarter. There was also the need to have flexibility in the solution because the business was growing, which resulted in constant tweaking of parameters. Manual changes in parameters were proving to be a challenge for the IT team. "We evaluated channel management systems from Oracle, Mastek and others, but we were not satisfied with the solutions," Rustogi recalls.
In contrast, Herald Logic's channel management system had an event-based rule engine which suited Kotak Life's requirements. "It allows me the flexibility to create as many rules as I wish, and do aggregations and mappings of targets. This flexibility was available only in the Herald Logic channel management system, so we decided to go ahead with the same," Rustogi explains.
The channel management system's deployment was done in phases. The project was started in 2008 and the entire channel management system implementation took around a year to complete. There are four main reward programs—MDRT, 51 Club, JDP and Power Club—which were deployed one at a time in phases.
"The channel management system is able to handle simple as well as complex reward programs, and accurate information is available on the fly. It shows where an agent is lacking for reaching the next level. As a result, the agents are motivated to file more policies, and this eventually helps the business to grow. The numbers have been surging ever since we deployed this channel management system," informs Rustogi.
Post-deployment, Kotak Life did not face any issues with Herald Logic's channel management system. It is fully integrated with the company's security system with a single sign-on. "The channel management system has been able to handle our volumes," Rustogi says. "But the best part is that during the process of channel management system deployment, the business requirements would change, and we could see the impact on parameterization."
As the channel management system has an event-based engine, the IT team at Kotak Life is continuously adding functionalities. "After tapping the agents, we are now putting the commissioning system on the engine," Rustogi discloses. "This year we plan to add an entire reward and recognition system for our internal employees, because their incentives are directly linked to the complex parameters as well as the number of generated policies."