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The Top Digital Transformation Opportunities for Pools


Digital transformation is changing almost everything about pools and their operating environments. Those pools that successfully embrace digital transformation will be able to operate at peak performance. Pools that don’t will fail to meet members’ expectations.

It’s up to pool leaders to manage this transformation, and there are two dangers they should specifically avoid: The first is chasing too many ideas that all look to have value and getting nowhere as a result. The second is focusing on the wrong priorities and later finding that you accomplished your goals but, in the end, did not move your pool forward.

To provide clarity on where you might focus your efforts, we recently gathered a diverse, collaborative group of pool leaders and tech specialists to determine the most important digital transformation risks and opportunities for pools. The insights ahead are based on their discussions.


In order for pools to maximize the gains from successful digital transformation, they need to focus on actionable opportunities. Here we define opportunities as things pools can do to facilitate an improved digital transformation outcome.

All pool leaders (but especially those who might be overwhelmed with digital transformation) should focus on those opportunities that are both high-value and likeliest to be accomplished.

1. Increase Digital Automation

In contrast to normal automation (i.e., using technology to replace a task done by a human), “digital automation” is integrating a new breed of automation tools to improve a workflow or business process. These tools include but aren’t limited to robotic process automation, low-code/no-code applications and artificial intelligence.

The great thing about investing in digital automation is the return on investment — the costs are often repaid within two years and the benefits can continue for years more. Benefits include not only include financial return but also faster processing, higher work quality, higher throughput, etc.

This opportunity is “game-changing,” meaning it’s not just an opportunity to improve your pool but rather one to revolutionize it. Increasing digital automation could allow you to structure staff for more focused work in high-value areas, improve financial metrics by lowering the costs of processing transactions and member communications, and improve the quality of pool services provided to members.

Prerequisites to Maximizing this Opportunity:

  • Invest in the unique skills required for automation. Digital automation requires a unique set of skills to identify, understand, implement and measure new tools and their impact on business processes. In the early stages of digital automation, your pool may not want to hire directly for these skills as you pilot initiatives and test how automation impacts your operations. Invest wisely both on an initial basis and over time to maximize your digital automation opportunities with people who really understand how to implement effectively. 
  • Have a pool budgeting strategy that supports automation investment and experimentation. Determining automation needs and implementing the most useful automation tools takes practice — your pool won’t get it right the first time. Your pool’s technology budget therefore must support core infrastructure and security as well as business applications and increases to digital automation. Additionally, at times you might determine a particular automation doesn’t work well in your pool, which will require a direction change and a willingness to let go of sunk costs.

2. Improve Digital Education of Pool Staff

As a pool integrates technology into its operations, it becomes more important to ensure that team members have high-level digital skills. That’s why lacking digital skills presents a risk and improved digital education presents an opportunity.

The good news is that digital education is relatively low-cost. To get the most out of it, pools will need to implement a new, ongoing education model for technology training. Not only will this education improve your pool’s existing work, it will also help recruit and retain pool staff (because, in today’s world, digital-forward employers are preferred).

Prerequisites to Maximizing this Opportunity:

  • Clear ownership of education expectations. You’ll need a digital education champion within your pool to identify and design ongoing staff training. You’ll also need every supervisor and manager to hold staff accountable for training goals. And you’ll need buy-in from the top pool executive. Being aligned in these education goals is key.

3. Activate Pool Data

There are many places where data and information assets can be better used to help a pool’s operations — i.e., building tighter member relationships, creating new insights into losses, and using data to power automated systems.

Pools have the very real opportunity to better use the data they already have and to integrate new data in meaningful ways into their operations. The better your pool understands and activates its data, the more opportunity you have to improve member services and increase your pool’s value to its members.

Prerequisites to Maximizing this Opportunity:

  • Build a digital backbone that is designed to gather, store and use data in valuable ways. Accessing and activating data resources requires something more than claims reports and spreadsheets. The world of data science includes data gathering, configuration, scrubbing, visualizing and more. If your pool wants to make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need the data infrastructure to do it.
  • Create a team of part-time data scientists. Maximizing use of your pool’s data will require a certain level of intellectual curiosity and comfort using supporting technology. Data science may not be a baseline digital skill you need to implement for all staff, but at least some team members in claims and underwriting should have data science skills.

4. Improve Member Relationships

The world has been steadily moving in the direction of online interactions and self-service tools. Pool members value direct and personal relationships and interactions, but they also like the ability to initiate transactions or get information on their own from an online tool at any time.

By integrating technology that boosts interactions and provides self-service in the right way, pools can maximize member relationships. Doing these things might also improve staff efficiency, putting your pool team to its highest and best use.

Prerequisites to Maximizing this Opportunity:

  • Upgrade software applications and web properties. The first impression a member has of your pool will almost always come from an online source. Be sure your pool’s web interface is clean, modern and easy to use. And be sure you are offering the “right” online transaction opportunities for your members — meaning that it benefits the member’s needs, not your workflow. (If you can meet both needs, it’s a bonus.) To really boost this opportunity, invest in relationship management tools and software that can not only manage but also automate some of your member interactions.

→ Also read the most important digital transformation risks for pools to consider.


AGRiP would like to thank the following people and pools for sharing their insights to determine these priorities:

  • Adrienne Beatty, Assistant Executive Officer, ACWA JPIA
  • Ken Canning, Multi-Line Program Manager, VSBIT
  • Tanya Edwards, Deputy Executive Director, Kairos
  • Lindsey Fields, Assistant Director, TMLIRP
  • Britani Laughery, Operations Manager, MMIA
  • Mary Kay Marchetti, Director of Information Services, VRSA
  • Carleen Mitchell, Deputy Director, APEI
  • Debbie Stickle, Manager for Operations and Finance, GEM