In many industries, workers with highly-specialized jobs are supported by tools and technology built specifically to help them do their job more efficiently and accurately. For the rest of us, we find ourselves assembling a collection of solutions to support our unique workflows. Instead of helping, these tools can end up creating more work and stress.
However, an emerging trend in the technology space has moved product development away from providing broad-based solutions and toward specialization.
This shift from using general-use products towards building purpose-built products can provide cost savings and drive sustainable growth for the industry it serves.
From abstraction to nuance
General-use products tend to focus on abstracting the problem. Our CTO and co-founder, Shaheeb Roshan, points out, "Rather than try to solve a job to be done, many set out to solve for every job to be done."
Roshan added, "Paradoxically, this broad view ends up constraining the experience at the most critical aspects of a transaction. And it means that in trying to be all things to all people, these tools rarely solve a problem fully for anyone."
On the other end of the spectrum, purpose-built products consider how, where, when, and who will use them to solve a user's unique pain points and challenges.
Take, for example, virtual meetings. At the beginning of the pandemic, many industries that relied on in-person interaction, such as education and fitness, found themselves having to transition to an online format quickly. Virtual meeting platforms filled this need, but many found that these general-use platforms didn't account for the nuance of their industry. These gaps could sometimes be filled by customized add-ons or manual workarounds but tended to be costly, time-consuming, and provided a poor user experience.
Personal trainers are one such group who found that teaching classes on a general-use virtual meeting platform couldn't mimic the high-energy interaction that gym classes provided or effectively manage payments and bookings. Many startups took note and began to build for the industry. Platforms that boast interactive comments, provide robust CMS features, and support direct payment solutions began popping up at lightning speed.
We’ve also seen this shift in cloud computing. Many organizations rely on cloud providers for the core technical infrastructure to run their businesses. However, industry clouds are emerging as an alternative to cloud computing that addresses the specific needs of the industry it was built to serve.
Healthcare is an industry that benefits from industry clouds. With the unique need to secure protected health information, a tailored approach to storage and transmission is required over a general system built for non-regulated industries.
In the employee benefits industry, we're also familiar with the ineffectiveness of general-use products. Many brokers and carriers use general RFP management tools to request and send benefit plan proposals. But these tools ignore the nuanced relationships, workflows, and needs, like the need for consistent terminology, side-by-side comparisons, or built-in collaboration tools. Thus, the RFP process becomes more manual, complex, and time-consuming.
There's no doubt that the employee benefits industry requires a purpose-built tool as well.
Purpose-built for the employee benefits industry
At ThreeFlow, we believe that the right technology can pull the employee benefits industry forward and allow brokers and carriers to focus on providing value and building relationships. That's why we purpose-built the ThreeFlow platform to account for the specific workflows and dynamic relationships across stakeholders—brokers, carriers, and the client.
Find out how ThreeFlow’s purpose-built product can support your unique workflow. Request a demo with our team.