Tech Startup Disrupts the Insurance Industry with QuickBase
When Tim Schneider saw an opportunity to change the way insurance companies do business, he didn't hesitate. And when he needed an application development platform that could empower his new business to scale quickly, he turned to QuickBase. Four years later, OnSource — the startup Schneider co-founded to provide insurance providers a frictionless way to get photo inspections — runs nearly its entire business on the QuickBase platform. The result is a fast, agile startup that delivers new products faster than the competition.
- Startup with no existing technology infrastructure
- No large IT team or app development budget for internal operations
- Business users needed workflow optimization
- Need for apps that would scale with fast-growing business
- QuickBase as a platform for rapid application development
- Citizen developers building and managing their own apps
- Fine-grained roles and permissions to maintain governance
- Alerts and notifications to speed collaboration and service delivery
- APIs to extend QuickBase functionality to agents, inspectors and consumers
- Millions in savings from traditional app development costs
- Two years of growth with small IT staff
- Scalable app ecosystem that supports fast growth
- 65% time reduction in key photo inspection process
A Picture Perfect Opportunity
OnSource is a Massachusetts-based startup that speeds up the process of gathering photo inspections for insurance claims. Rather than task their own adjusters with collecting the photos, customers can submit their own photos to the insurance company from a smartphone app provided by OnSource. Insurers can also leverage OnSource's network of over 15,000 part-time inspectors to collect and submit the photos.
The result is that insurance companies can process claims more quickly, which leads to greater productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and lower costs.
While the concept was simple, executing on their vision was a challenge Schneider knew the company would have to tackle. While OnSource had a technology advantage to speed photo inspections, the company would need to build a flexible operational infrastructure quickly to support its ambitious growth plans. A traditional IT approach would be too slow to deliver, so OnSource founders focused on finding a solution that would shorten the distance between the idea and execution.
"As a start-up business, our IT budget was limited," says Tim Schneider, co-founder of OnSource. "We needed a way to empower our non-technical business users to set up processes and workflows quickly and be able to share and report off that information right away."
How QuickBase Enabled Operational Excellence
When it came time to find the right technology to empower Citizen Developers to create fast, flexible apps and workflows, OnSource selected QuickBase. Schneider had previous experience with QuickBase and knew how flexible the platform was for building custom apps without any programming. He used QuickBase to build out a suite of business process management (BPM) apps to automate operations and workflows.
One of those apps, called InFocus, is used by most employees at the company, enabling teams to dispatch inspectors to photo inspection assignments and track the progress of each assignment for fast reporting. All photo inspection interactions are managed within the app, including agent requests, inspector dispatch orders, assignment details and photo uploads.
OnSource has been able to use the out-of-the-box reporting capabilities of QuickBase to serve its customers insights that would previously have been impossible. In one case, an insurance provider asked for a highly customized report that would illustrate trends over time based on the thousands of assignments OnSource has handled.
"At most companies, that kind of report might take two months to deliver, because you'd have to work with IT and might have your data in a less-flexible system. We had it on their dashboard in 60 minutes."
InFocus is just one of many apps OnSource has built on QuickBase to manage day-to-day business. The company also runs its sales processes on a sales management portal built on QuickBase. That app tracks prospect and client information, and enables business users to segment clients in order to create highly-targeted offerings.
"We've automated a lot of what we used to do manually with QuickBase," says Tim Schneider. "We're able to let our non-technical users do very technical things, because QuickBase makes it easy. We would have needed a small army of programmers to create all the stuff we've created in QuickBase."
Speeding Growth with Automation
In the four years since deploying QuickBase, almost all the business processes that support OnSource are automated with apps built on the QuickBase platform. This has drastically reduced the cost of scaling OnSource from a two-person startup to a 42-employee company that operates across the entire United States and supports a network of 15,000 contractors.
Because all app development and management is managed by business users, OnSource was able to operate for more than two years with a small IT staff, which Schneider estimates saved millions of dollars in development costs. QuickBase's built in governance features allow OnSource to manage access based on granular roles and permissions.
"The apps we built would have cost us ten times as much had we chosen a different platform or built it from scratch ourselves," says Schneider.
The QuickBase API powers all the back-end processes of OnSource's websites, third-party sites and mobile apps, optimizing the process efficiency and reducing the time and cost of staff having to manually complete tasks. Notifications within QuickBase automate the photo inspection process by pushing out emails, phone calls and text alerts to speed inspector response rates for service requests, reducing the time for photo inspections by as much as 65%.
Most importantly, QuickBase makes it possible for OnSource employees to deliver on the company's promise to turn photo inspections around quickly, and to serve its customers with speed without the lag time and costs associated with paper-based or manual processes.
"In a startup, flexibility is key. We're transforming an industry, so it's incredibly important to be nimble and adapt to our customers' needs and deliver them a customized solution," says Schneider. "We wouldn't have been able to achieve this level of growth without a product like QuickBase."