Combating COVID-19 with rapid digitalisation IN ASSOCIATION WITH
WORKPL ACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE BOARD (WSIB)
DIGITAL REPORT 2020
Combating COVID-19 with rapid digitalisation
GEORGIA WILSON PRODUCED BY
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Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at WSIB, discusses industry trends, digital transformation and the impact of COVID-19
ithin the insurance industry, Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Workplace Safety and Insurance
Board (WSIB) has seen the sector mirror what the organisation itself is experiencing internally. “It’s that customer focus,” says Liscio. “Our customers want to be able to deal with us anytime, anywhere and however they want, so we need to ensure that our products and services support that. This trend is one of six key drivers for our 2020 IT strategy at WSIB, to develop new channels and a sustainable operating model that are digitally focused as well as digitalising our core services and developing our work-from-home operations. The other five elements of our IT strategy include business intelligence and analytics, cyber and digital security, modernising applications, providing digital infrastructure and modernising our operating models, all with the customer experience in mind.” J U LY 2 0 2 0
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“Our customers want to be able to deal with us anytime, anywhere and however they want, so we need to ensure that our products and services support that”
— Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
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Expanding on the industry trends emerging within insurance, Liscio explains that rapid digitalisation is posing challenges for insurance companies. “Insurance companies tend to be older companies that have been around a long time and have been built on a foundation of processes developed over decades, sometimes centuries, which can be longstanding and hard to change. These longstanding business models however do need to change to be flexible and adaptable if they are to continue to meet customer expectations.”
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Leading through extraordinary times The last 3 decades of TCS Canada has been an epic journey partnering with Top Banks & Insurance �rms, Financial Market Infrastructure entities, Crown Corporations, Retailers, Manufacturing �rms, EnergyResource & Utility majors. We have participated in innovation with marquee academic institutions and exciting �ntechs. We have continued to evolve as a leading job creator on IT services and have made foundational impacts igniting the passion of the younger generation through STEM in 21 Canadian cities touching more than 8000 minds (including members of Canada’s indigenous community & other underrepresented groups).
The last 3 months saw a pronounced eﬀect across societies, industries, and economies. During this moment of truth, active employee engagement & well-being globally has been top priority for TCS, while we continue to support mission critical technology backbones of organizations. Financial Services sector is a key vehicle for governments to navigate and heal. From our deep relationships with top �nancial services �rms, we have seen three speci�c thrusts amidst lockdown and an emerging new beginning that pivots on elastic model of Technology, Operations and Workforce.
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Ready to Weather the Storm
The pandemic has forced organizations to look beyond the products they make and sell to the purpose behind their existence. As they embark on this transformative journey, we will continue to enable our clients’ strategic intent and journey of end-customer purpose centric themes (prosperity for SME segment, wellness of individuals, �nancial health of portfolios) orchestrated through an ecosystem of internal & partner solutions and catalyzed by Open Banking move towards pan-industry collaboration.
Our adoption of a Secure Borderless Workspaces (SBWS™) model has ensured service continuity for elevated levels of customer conversations and high consequence transactions (deferrals, payments, investments). Our contextual knowledge has enabled swift realignment of eﬀorts on government (Canada, US) relief & cross-segment (individuals, businesses) customer care imperatives while sustaining paramount initiatives around �nance, risk, cyber and �nancial crime using cognitive solutions.
We are actively participating in endeavors around accelerated intelligent responsive processes, digital parity across channels, insights driven decisioning, open & agile architecture, elastic infrastructure to be operationally nimble and strategically progressive addressing the changing environment.
We are privileged to be a key partner for WSIB, who has 106 years’ heritage and organizational purpose of wellness protecting and promoting healthy & safe workplaces. We enabled 100% of our team working remotely within �rst 2 weeks of lock-down. We accelerated digital journey transformation for low touch frictionless experiences for all - employees, businesses, and healthcare providers - for claims registration, administration, and return-to-work. To pivot this change management and organizational redesign, we envisaged a strategy for enterprise quality management and operating agility.
Business Head, Banking-Financial Services & Insurance, Canada Business Head, Banking-Financial Services & Insurance, Canada
As human ingenuity embarks on a new beginning, we look forward to meaningful contributions to Canadian industries for engendering resilience, driving adaptability, and enabling customer & societal purpose.
Having lived the reality of major transformations, our highly adaptable team supports all aspects of business change, including strategy development, digital and data driven process and service improvement, program execution management and the establishment of an enabling culture.
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When it comes to its own IT strategy,
needs met within the first MVP. Before,
Liscio explains that WSIB adopts an
that would have taken us more than
agile approach for rapid innovation
a year to develop a solution, by gather-
which encompases three key areas
ing requirements, working on those,
working together to develop a minimum
developing, testing, and then putting
viable product (MVP). “These key areas
into production. With our new approach
include service design with a human
we have been able to bring projects
centered design approach, followed
live within three months of starting an
by product owners identifying friction
MVP which immediately addresses the
points. Finally the DevsOp group takes
key customer pain points, and provides
a scrum based approach to developing
a base for opportunities to build addi-
MVPs to target customer pain points.
tional functionality incrementally. This
With this ‘digital factory’ approach you
approach has become our foundation
can get about 80% of those immediate
for the future.” w w w.w s ib . c a
“There are so many opportunities for IoT in the worker’s compensation space, especially as it relates to health and safety” — Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Many of WSIB’s new digital products are the outcome of this approach, which it has engaged with key partners for its agile-based solution development. “Within the last few months, partners such as Wipro and others have helped us develop a new service that provides secure digital access to claims information for injured workers. TCS – Tata consulting services – is our strategic partner and have been instrumental in transforming our end-to-end quality assurance process with industry best practices and innovations in the area of Automation, AI, Cloud Testing and Test Data Management,
E X E C U T I V E P R OF IL E :
Samantha Liscio As Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Samantha leads digital transformation, leveraging technology to streamline processes and modernize the business, helping the WSIB provide responsive services to customers. Samantha drives IT service excellence and directs innovation while ensuring value from technology investments. Samantha has over 20 years of experience in IT leadership roles in eHealth Ontario, Accenture, and the Ontario Public Service. Currently Samantha serves on the Ryerson University IT Business Management Program Advisory Council and the Toronto CIO Governing Body. She is a past board chair for Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention and a past board member of the CIO Association of Canada and the Institute for Citizen-Centred Services. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PhD from Queen’s University in Belfast. w w w.w s ib . c a
which has meant that we’ve eliminated 95% of the defects from our projects by implementing the optimized approach and methodology that TCS has helped us with. In addition to this we are also looking into opportunities to harness RPA, within our operations which is also something that we are working on with TCS.” As part of the company’s digital strategy to drive digitalisation in the heart of its operations, Liscio details the company’s adoption of cloud, internet 16
of things (IoT) and AI-enabled analytics.
CLOUD “For the WSIB, cloud is an opportunity to significantly accelerate the delivery of value, both to our internal business and to our end customers. From an IT perspective, cloud deployments can help to reduce risk. It’s complicated and expensive to host, deploy and maintain software that’s at the core of your business, and so increasingly big vendors offer those types of services better than we can ourselves. They can help us to use cloud native capabilities and drive innovations. WSIB’s cloud strategy focuses on the implementation J U LY 2 0 2 0
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How CGI helped WSIB transition to a fully remote workforce When Ontario Public Health declared a ‘Work From Home’ policy due to COVID-19, the WSIB, like many organizations, faced an unprecedented challenge: How to quickly transition to a fully remote workforce while maintaining service levels for employers, and payment continuity for injured workers.
WSIB and CGI mobilized and united the resources necessary, including senior management, technology, and expert personnel. With highly collaborative and creative thinking, WSIB and CGI were able to overcome conventional limitations and transition 4,300 WSIB workers and their IT devices into a remote workforce. Careful planning and crisis management from the deployed CGI service teams paid off when each team readily handled the spike in call volumes and increased handling times as WSIB workers moved home. It was imperative that WSIB data remained secure outside the traditional working environment, and that end users experienced no service degradation despite the increased load on technological infrastructure.
Together, WSIB and CGI rapidly implemented a range of risk management approaches to preserve the customer experience of the WSIB workforce. This included digitizing document handling, remote desktop re-configuration, creating a new toll-free helpline, and redeploying a number of support teams. WSIB and CGI were subsequently able to guide WSIB workers through the challenges of setting up their workstations from home while in parallel CGI quickly configured and issued over a 1,500 new laptops. In just over 3 weeks, WSIB and CGI demonstrated resiliency in crisis by transitioning all WSIB workers to remote work arrangements while maintaining critical service levels and uninterrupted payments to injured workers.
CGI’s exceptional support enabled the WSIB to maintain critical services to injured people from distributed locations while transitioning from a traditional bricks and mortar operation to facilitating employees working from home. I look forward to continuing this partnership and working collaboratively together. – Samantha Liscio, WSIB Chief Technology & Innovation Officer
Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world. Operating across the globe, CGI delivers end-to-end capabilities, from strategic IT and business consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property solutions, helping clients achieve their goals, including becoming customer-centric digital enterprises.
WSIB engaged CGI to support their transition to the new working reality by providing tailored end user computing and service desk solutions.
of a hybrid cloud service model using
We’ve been thinking very carefully
both public and private cloud, with
about what our infrastructure needs
partners such as Microsoft Azure and
to look like when it comes to the cloud
IBM. As a result we have a specific
and we are now underway with our
software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution
approach that’s aligned to our application strategy. We also have database
INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)
and integration-as-a-service offerings
“With the internet of things (IoT), it’s
and we are introducing other platform-
an interesting point on our innovation
as-a-service capabilities and providing
radar right now. There are so many
Windows and Linux virtual machines as
opportunities for IoT in the worker’s
an infrastructure-as-a-service offering.
compensation space, especially as
This is all underpinned by a restructured
it relates to health and safety. So our
network architecture and cloud man-
innovation lab is exploring things like
connected devices that can detect
“When the emergency was declared in Ontario in the middle of March, the WSIB saw its remote workforce increase from about 2% to more than 99% of the workforce in the space of about 10 days” — Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
fatigue. Devices that can be connected to the wearer or the dashboard of a truck — or both – that can detect if they’re falling asleep and can alert them. We’re also looking at things like proper posture and biomechanics which are especially important in the construction industry where people are lifting and bending and moving. Having those kinds of devices that can be connected to people or the surroundings to provide real-time feedback rather than corrective action after, this is something really interesting that we are working on in the lab relating to IoT.” w w w.w s ib . c a
AI ENABLED ANALYTICS “On the analytics side, being an insurance organisation, WSIB relies on predictive analytics for things like risk scoring, case based reserving, claims segmentation models, anomaly detection and text mining. As a result, business intelligence and analytics is a key pillar for our IT strategy and we’re investing in the capabilities, the tools and the backend infrastructure to be able to make decisions better and faster. Currently we extricate data from various data marts to create diagnostic 20
and predictive models. We’re in the progress of creating a central data store and intend to leverage in-database analytics that will allow us to execute extensive analytical workloads directly against our data. That’s going to be really important to us in increasing our decision making speed.”
CYBERSECURITY While innovations are revolutionising the insurance industry, it is important to remember that progress comes with challenges, in particular cybersecurity. “At WSIB we operate a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year security operation center,” J U LY 2 0 2 0
“Longstanding business models however, do need to change to be flexible and adaptable if they are to continue to meet customer expectations” — Samantha Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
incidents. So in total that 85 billion was whittled down to roughly 150 incidents requiring action.” In order to combat these potential threats, WSIB has a cybersecurity strategy and strong governance in place. “We’ve assessed our main maturity across security and we’ve taken an inventory of all of our critical data and assets, so we know where our crown jewels are and how those are protected and we’ve applied the appropriate controls to those protections. We also conduct regular testing via the likes of audits and penetration testing, as well as monthly vulnerability assessments.” In addition to harnessing technology to maintain security, WSIB comments Liscio. “We keep track of
has also established a breach response,
all of the security records we receive,
as well as awareness and training
these are essentially all of the potential
programs in place, cyber security intel-
hits on our perimeter from a security
ligence and cyber security insurance.”
perspective, and between January and September last year we had more than
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19
85 billion security records. Of those 85
“When the emergency was declared
billion we sent 19 billion to our security
in Ontario in the middle of March,
information event monitoring system
the WSIB saw its remote workforce
for a second look to determine if they
increase from about 2% to more than
are events that need to be monitored,
99% of the workforce in the space
events that are relevant, events that are
of a few weeks. With that sudden shift
possible threats or events that become
to over 4,000 employees working w w w.w s ib . c a
from home, a host of issues can arise,
corporate collaboration tools such as
from inadequate video conferencing
Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams
capabilities due to connectivity at
and OneDrive, as well as encrypting all
the employee’s homes or additional
hard drives so that we could protect
challenges in maintaining security
and manage data remotely.”
of confidential information outside the
In addition to these changes, Liscio
office. But we’ve been able to effectively
explains that provisions have also
direct the company on how best to
been made for specific job functions
work remotely using our virtual private
such as call centers. “You can imagine
network which is robust and secure.
that within a large company like WSIB
We also have multi factor authentica-
there is a large call center and our
tion to ensure secure logins so that
service reps need to be able to answer
those working from home can con-
the phone. So even though they’re at
nect to the WSIB systems and our
home, they still need to be in that call
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center environment. To achieve this we turned the WSIB computers into soft phones, rolling out on-screen dial pads to place and control calls from the desktop. In addition we have deployed more than 400 mobile devices in a couple of weeks since the state of emergency, so that end users working from home could maintain critical business services.” Without the support of its partners, Liscio emphasises, “would not have been able to get more than 4,000 peo24
ple productively working from home within a few weeks without the support of our partners, especially CGI and RCI Rogers who helped us expedite equipment provisioning across their supply
standard technology, providing that
chain and provide after-hours support
kind of flexibility for mobile work. We
for our IT and front-line staff.”
are also quickly digitising hard copy
While this has been a huge change
mail and things like access requests.
for WSIB, Liscio explains that now
When our customers ask for access
they are effectively and productively
to their file, we would typically go find
work from home, “the new normal
all of the paper, scan all of that paper
for us will be one where we probably
and then send them boxes of paper.
won’t be returning to our offices in
With digitised access requests we can
the same way as we worked before
share that information back with them
and things like phones and desktop
through encrypted email, making the
computers will be retired and lap-
need to do these kinds of paper-based
tops and cell phones will be the new
processes again obsolete. In addition
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Total comprehensive income in US dollars (2018)
Approximate number of employees
we are pivoting to accelerate the deliv-
changes, premium deferrals, lower
ery of online services for people with
interest rates, volatile investments.
claims, as well as identify additional
Guided by our digital strategy, the
rapid-fire digital transformations and
WSIB will respond by: Creating new
we have adopted an electronic sig-
digital channels and digitizing our core
nature solution to ensure we can still
services, fully implementing a sustain-
procure, approve and authorise things
able IT operating model to support
in a virtual way.
the new digital WSIB and continuing
â€œLooking ahead, I see the key driv-
to support remote and flexible work.â€?
ers for change in the InsurTech sector and for the WSIB being very similar. Post COVID-19 there will be changes in the workforce resulting in revenue w w w.w s ib . c a
WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE BOARD (WSIB) 200 FRONT STREET, WEST, TORONTO, ONTARIO T 416-34 4-1000