What's Happening?

2022 and beyond: Where to now as an intermediary?



The future may be complex but it’s bright, writes Peter Olyott, Chief Executive Officer of Indwe.

We are moving into the third year of the pandemic. Life as we know it has changed. Well, what happens when the fifth and the sixth wave signal the end of this particular plague? Will life go back to the way it was?

We shall only know the answer when that happens, but the general belief is that whilst we may do some of the old things we used to, it is likely that some of the new ways of doing things are likely to continue and develop further into the future.

A Balance Of Both

Perhaps hybrid working; a mix between remote working and going to the office every now and again is likely to be the way to go? As much as we have moaned initially about remote working I have kind of got used to my early morning and late afternoon walks – something I had no time for back in the day. I can plan my day and my work much better and schedule a little down-time in the day if I want to. I can mix a little administrative work in the evening if I should so choose.

However I do miss the social interaction that being live brings, and I am an introvert so I can only imagine how the extroverts amongst us must feel!

Upon reflection, I believe soft issues – driven through interpersonal and intrapersonal skills – and intelligence go somewhat missing in a remote world. Not totally but just enough to make a difference, and I would think over a period of time an organisation could quite easily lose its soul.

So, here’s hoping the hybrid workplace will allow us to continue to build our culture and relationships, which is what a lot of our practices are built on after all.

Embracing Technology

In the years leading up to the pandemic we had all the tools at our disposal to forego live meetings and incessant travelling around the country, and to do things the modern way. It’s a pity that only about 5% of our particular company used this about 20% of the time. Then, within one week, we had to convert our brick-and-mortar nationwide office network into a remote business otherwise we would die! And, hey presto, we have 100% of the company using it 100% of the time!

That first day of remote work was a bit of a nightmare beginning for us; we had a major hail storm in Middleburg, Mpumalanga and the suppliers of glass all ran out and now we had to manage all of this remotely. If that was not bad enough, the next day we had flooding in Kimberley! It was a baptism of… well, not fire, at least, but water!

I am looking at my diary which is predominantly filled with MS Teams and Zoom meetings and – thank goodness – the odd live meeting at our museum-like Head Office.

We really kitted it out to suit our requirements at the time; we have training rooms, meeting rooms galore, an in-house cafeteria, eating areas, patios and the like which we enjoyed for just over a 18 months and then it has been mostly empty, with just a handful of employees coming to work each day. In retrospect, it is really a big space and do we need all the offices and meeting rooms? Hmm…

So we have reduced our brick-and-mortar footprint and replaced these with virtual offices. Time will tell if the strategy pans out or whether we shall have to return to the old way of doing things.

We proudly launched our first personal insurance advice app. Once one has overcome the schlep of loading all one’s insurance information, it’s a breeze to obtain up to seven different quotes any time. One can play around with excess levels and use different combinations of insurers to insure different sections. Is this likely to become the future equivalent of online banking?

What Does The Future Hold?

I believe online retail is going to continue to climb in leaps and bounds as we have all got used to doing our thing pretty conveniently via The Machine while sitting at our desks at home. I have converted to booking my own flights, arranging my own holiday accommodation and have changed banks after spending decades with one bank. I purchased a new car online and only met the guys at the dealership when I went to collect it, everything else – the financing, insurance etc., – was done online.

I see the day when my profile will indicate that when I purchase anything relatively expensive – such as new golf clubs – they will be automatically insured without my intervention. Technology companies have come into their own in this remote world.

When I read what is happening I can sense that immense change is imminent almost as though the pandemic was required in order to pave the way for this new socio-economic order to take effect. Electric vehicles are coming, part-time ownership of vehicles is coming, pay-what-you- use insurance is coming. Perhaps even things like retirement funding or pensions are becoming outdated concepts that need revamping as people adopt multiple jobs, take mid-life sabbaticals and end up living to 90 and beyond . Imagine retiring at 60 and then still living for 30-plus years whilst sitting on the stoep?! Not for me, if I can help it!

So for those who wish to change the world and the way things are done – your time has arrived! Now is the time to do so. Have fun, take time to laugh and enjoy building this new future!

In most cases the components of the technology we need already exist, perhaps in different applications. So use your imagination in terms of what is possible and then look for the organisations and people who can already make this a reality.

This is the great part of our future; we don’t necessarily need to make reference to the way things have been done up to now. Envisage how we believe it should be done in the future and then make it happen!