There has always been this one question about Enterprise Core Platforms & their Vendors in the market – What’s their differentiating factor? Especially, because the business models and the market operation dynamics are more or less standard across.
Is it in the finer details of the capabilities that the Platforms Offer? Their technology? The cost? Platforms’ Use-track record? Platform hosting? Vendor Service? Vendor Brand? Ah, a long list of This and That – Eh?
Well, it’s all that, plus the most important capability which helps the Software work just right for you – your Insurance Products and Services (the ones that differentiate you from your competition). The Platform Vendors call it “Application Configuration” – that which provides agility and flexibility to the entire platform.
Almost all of the New Gen Core Platform Vendors offer advanced Configuration kits, as Empowerment and Self-Serving Tools – either as an integrated suite or separate kits for definition and maintenance of Products, Rules, Workflows, Documents etc.
So, what’s this Configuration all about? To put it in simple business terms – it’s the capability provided by Platform Vendors to help define that intelligence, specific to your Company, with less dependency on the Vendor and Tech teams, as in:
- Bundling various coverage’s & conditions to make them into unique product offerings.
- Marketing & selling these Insurance products through different dimensions (segment, territory, channel) and pricing models.
- Providing services, per those conditions, flow & hierarchy, throughout the policy life cycle.
- And finally, taking you through the product life cycle changes till sun-set.
You may currently be considering a replacement of your Legacy Core Platform or continuing with the existing Platform & trying to address those complaints from business (that even a simple change request takes too long). Irrespective of where you are in the journey, the one question that warrants your deep attention is: What are the Configuration Capabilities of the Platform – what can be internalized, what does it take to make it work for us, so we have limited external dependency?
The intent of this article is not to provide answers, but to provoke thought and to help you:
- Understand where you are, and you why are here – in the context of the Current Platforms Configuration Capabilities and Use – and the way forward.
- Assess the Configuration Capabilities of the New Platforms, through a structured approach.
If not answers, then it’s about the right questions, right 😊? What are they, then?
A sample list of questions here, for you, covering the most frequently asked automation expectations, on the top of the functional capabilities provided by Platforms. (You can expand the list – this is just to set thinking direction right)
Please ask the Vendor/s and Internal Tech Teams to answer them for you – in the contexts of who (undertakes the job), why (they have to do), what (skill, technique & tool), approach (new, reuse, re craft), length (time to make available) and how (to make sure that it’s working right)
- I want to introduce a totally New Insurance Product into the market.
- I want to introduce a New Variation of the Existing Product – for a specific Market Segment.
- I see a need to treat my loyal customers differently – I am intending to deepen discounts to them.
- I see some higher claims ratio in a specific class of risks – I intend these risks to be approved by the highest authority only.
- I want to collect additional data from the Customers regarding their Risks. The responses have an impact on my acceptance or rejection of risk and my rating logic as well.
- I want to change our 4-step claim approval process to 3-step process for faster turnarounds.
As you start evaluating the responses to the above, you see the emergence of the patterns around:
- Limitations – Not everything under your intelligence can be configured.
- Not everyone can configure – Needs the right mix of skill set and thinking.
- Who can configure – IT or Biz? While it’s not always IT, looks like it’s primarily an IT job. Analysts, at the least and Developers at the best – depends on the tool maturity (Higher the maturity of Configurators, lesser the need to understand nuances of Tech & Coding Languages).
- Categorization is key – who can do what (Vendor Team, Internal IT and Biz) – combination of complexity, skill and experience.
- It’s not as simple as it looks – inter-dependencies, unknown-unknowns, impact measurement.
What to do with these patterns now? It is crucial to plan the right way forward – for right empowerment, flexibility and self-sufficiency
Start with your most frequent needs, dominant patterns around them and plan for execution mastery first. For, this is by no means a single man’s island.
An Organizational Craft best undertaken, in the combination of internal & external teams, from Business & IT, with sufficient training and expertise. Once you get a hold, then the next steps are easier to determine.
Remember, like everything else, this is also a journey! One step at a time.
Biz Tech Insights Team Manomay
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