Insurance Technology Featured Article

The Gains Are Worth the Headaches When Refreshing Legacy IT Systems

December 27, 2012

Replacing legacy IT systems is essential for business agility, and most businesses know it. But the cost and hassle of implementing infrastructure upgrades keeps many firms tottering on without the IT necessary to meet their business goals, according to a new study by research firm, Celent.

Roughly 58 percent of respondents cited business agility as the main benefit of core systems replacement, according to the study, which surveyed 141 insurers, more than a third of which have more than $1 billion in annual premium.

The benefits of increased underwriting efficiency through workflow, rapid product design and improved customer service are clear, according to Celent, but it says that many firms fail to act on this knowledge because it is a big job and the quantifiable monetary benefits are hard to accurately forecast.

“Why does Celent dedicate so much time to researching these engines? It is the misalignment of the abilities and the business aspirations that attracts our attention,” the report noted.

“Should the business need to drive on the autobahn at 200 mph, the engine should be ready to go that fast,” the report noted. “This flexibility is what is missing from most great engines in the insurer. As such, restrictions are placed on what the business is able to execute. Current engines may allow the insurer to speed up, but not too fast, and certainly not to execute any emergency braking.”

The biggest challenges of legacy systems, according to respondents, were inflexibility of applications, inflexibility of data models and difficulty of integrating with other systems.

But replacing legacy systems are not easy, and the report found that companies that undertake legacy upgrades struggle the most with having the right staff in the right areas to take on the challenge, deciding on the best approach for the legacy modernization program, and managing the impact on the organization.

IT departments need to improve the accuracy of their requirements definition, system configuration, data conversion and system integrator costs, noted the report, and the needs, costs and goals of system replacement must be more clearly communicated to senior management. Yet, many IT departments fail to treat this business case for upgrade as a living document, which hinders acceptance and adoption.

Managing the complexity of an IT change also hinders adoption, according to the report. The IT landscape has grown and so have many interfaces, interdependencies on systems and the technology stack, and using an outsourcing partner is often viewed as adding complexity. Yet, insurers are ready to leverage the strategic skills and expertise of third parties, noted the report.

Some suggestions that insurers might want to take to heart when upgrading legacy systems include making sure that legacy modernization is undertaken with backing by senior management, as any upgrade will have a significant impact on several areas of the business; breaking upgrades into manageable projects that last no longer than six to nine months, and having associated benefits with each project; and avoiding the creation of new systems that will quickly turn into the legacy systems of the future by leveraging a service-oriented architecture that allows for business logic to be developed once and used whenever required, with incremental replacement over time.

Celent also noted that outdated business rules and processes are often embedded in legacy systems, and partnering with a handful of system integrators with deep expertise and knowledge is an important factor for minimizing risk during an upgrade. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend
ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.





Edited by Peter Bernstein

Article comments powered by Disqus

Related Insurance Technology Articles

Nominating Committee for 2015 Novarica Research Council Impact Awards Announced

For those on the technology implementation and management side of the insurance industry the research and advisory firm Novarica is no doubt a very familiar one. The company provides information, insights, and perspectives to industry professionals on a variety of topics and hosts the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council, a moderated knowledge-sharing community of more than 325 senior IT executives representing more than 300 North American insurers. [ Read More ]
11/19/2014

Kofax to Improve Claims Processing for General Insurance and Asset Management Provider

Improving the business processes associated with mission critical insurance interactions is at the top of most insurers' lists regardless of where they are located around the world. An example of the universality of the need to improve such processes through software automation, which not only improves business process efficiency but also reduces costs while improving the customer experience, is a recent announcement from business process automation specialists Irvine, CA-based Kofax. [ Read More ]
11/19/2014

MedeAnalytics Announces Partnership with Wellmark

MedeAnalytics Employer Reporting software provides healthcare providers with cost-analysis and reporting tools they can use to improve plans and better serve customers. MedeAnalytics recently announced that it will be working with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield to enhance services for insurance recipients in Iowa and South Dakota. [ Read More ]
11/18/2014

Texas Mutual Insurance Company Implements Guidewire Systems

Guidewire Software has recently announced that Texas Mutual Insurance Company has selected Guidewire products to help fulfill specific business needs. Guidewire strives to bring technology to insurers differently than other vendors. Guidewire prides itself on understanding the P/C industry, the challenges involved and insurers' expectations. [ Read More ]
11/17/2014
FREE Insurance Technology enewslettter.

Events

Weekly Live Demo
Contact Center Solutions

Register Today!