There’s no way around it — updating your core system is a major effort in terms of time, resources, and expense. But it may cost you more — in more ways than one — to maintain your legacy system than to modernize to a more practical and forward-facing solution. Legacy systems can be responsible for increasing your budget up to 15% annually for maintenance costs alone.
Many businesses are already seeking out dynamic, accessible, versatile core systems that will take them far into the future. A recent Origami Risk study reported that an overwhelming 90% of insurance management professionals are undergoing modernization of their primary core platform within the next five years. Now, insurers are expecting more from their platform than just storage and computing functions; they’re expanding their cloud usage to automate processes and broadening capabilities to include artificial intelligence and actionable data analytics.
The question is: What system do you upgrade to? Taking the time to truly understand the benefits and drawbacks of one system over another will have a lasting impact on the success, adaptability, and effectiveness of your business for years to come. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
TOP FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR NEW CORE SYSTEM
Whether you’re considering keeping your existing system or gearing up to make a change, confirm your solution delivers across these three areas:
1. Platform Architecture: Software as a Service (SaaS) Based and Multi-Tenant
There are four major platform architectures to choose from. Here’s an overview of each and a look at which will serve you best in the long run.
- On premises: The most labor-intensive of all, with this platform type the customer provides the infrastructure, staffing, security, and network access for the software.
- Private cloud-hosted: The software is cloud-based but the customer is still responsible for all updates, upgrades, and patching, making this another resource-draining option.
- Cloud single-tenant SaaS: This architecture provides a single customer with their own independent, cloud-based software with all maintenance services handled by the provider. While this platform supports highly customized development, it tends to cost more and take longer to implement than multi-tenant solutions.
- Cloud multi-tenant SaaS: This cloud-based architecture allows for a single application codebase and database to be shared by all customers while each company’s data is kept inaccessible by other tenants on the platform. These systems offer the most robust feature sets, include frequent system upgrades, give you ready access to shared development resources, and provide it all at a lower overall cost of ownership. Research indicates that multi-tenant SaaS solutions will soon become the norm for core system technology across the board.
2. Speed to Value
A cloud SaaS system with low code/no code technology is the way to get up and running quickly and it enables you to make swift changes in real time. These systems are easily tailored to your business’ specific needs because they don’t require labor-intensive IT resources to execute. If you’re worried a new core system could take years to implement, going with a low code/no code solution can usually get you to market in just months instead. These systems also make it possible to launch new products faster and even enable your users to make certain changes themselves.
3. Aligned Partnership Goals
It’s important to have a positive, productive, collaborative relationship with your core system vendor. When you’re sizing up the system offerings, make sure to size up the cultural fit, too.
- Do they listen to my needs?
- Do they want to work together to solve challenges and achieve business goals?
- Have they designed their ecosystem with thoughtfulness and intention?
- Do they evolve their platform with their customers’ needs as a top priority?
MAJOR SYSTEM PITFALLS TO AVOID
It’s equally important to keep in mind what you don’t want to implement in your new or updated core system. Here are the big red flags to watch out for:
1. Rigid Platform Architecture
Systems that aren’t designed with flexibility and agility will have a detrimental impact on your business’ ability to grow and deliver seamless customer experiences. Here’s why:
- They require ample time and energy to make updates, so you can expect expensive upgrades every time you need to reconfigure — which quickly adds up to a high total cost of ownership
- They are siloed and don’t benefit from shared innovation, making it harder to keep up with the advancements made by more flexible platforms
- They are high maintenance and can put a significant strain on IT resources
In a time where change is constant, a rigid platform is not equipped to provide your business with the tools it needs to thrive.
2. Project Mismanagement
Multiple factors can cause your tech project to fail, which is why business engagement during transformational projects is key for your project’s success. All core insurance transformations require internal stakeholders, IT departments, and vendors to be on the same page to avoid misalignment of your project’s goals, timeline, and/or budget.
Avoid implementation failures by having a clearly defined plan of action to properly manage issues that may arise during your project.
3. Right Now instead of Mr. Right
It’s crucial to look to the future when you’re considering an upgrade to your core system. A partner that lacks a propensity for innovation, forward movement, and proactiveness will make your platform feel outdated within a few short years. With 10+ years as the average time spent with a core system, ensure your new platform checks off the boxes for today and tomorrow.