Core IT: The systems that provide core insurance functionality including policy administration, claims and billing.
Many times these systems are old and are difficult to modify. Change is done using a formal system development life cycle process. Full replacements occur very infrequently.
Fast IT: Customer- or agent-facing systems including portals that need to be changed quickly based upon the evolution of the digital devices being used and have a requirement to be up 24×7.
Ideally, we need to swap out these systems quickly if they do not add value or enhance them quickly to add new features and functions to keep competitive parity or leadership. This nimble process is known as “test and learn.”
These systems are “separated” logically and physically from Core IT but communicate with Core IT using a service bus.
Waterfall Methods: Refers to a traditional software development life cycle of gathering and validating requirements in a formal way, coding these requirements, testing the code formerly using quality assurance methods and deploying the code formerly in structured releases.
Many times this process can take a long time to execute.
Agile Processes: Refers to new software development methods that are used to gather requirements informally through combined business and IT teams and then code and validate these requirements quickly.
The code is released in an iterative fashion on a frequent basis. Sometimes these code groupings, modules or apps are built by others and are simply “plugged into” the carrier’s infrastructure using a service bus or other techniques.
Service Bus: A piece of infrastructure software that allows Web services to communicate with each other and the outside world using a structured interface and XML. The bus provides transport of the XML messages as well as transformation of the data, often with the help of an extract transform and load (ETL) tool.
Extract Transform and Load: A tool that extracts data from a file, transforms it based on a predefined template and then loads the data back to another file or target location.