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April 19, 2017

Digital adoption is driving a significant number of re-engineering initiatives in insurance. There are many good stories. Yet, once in a while you may come across an initiative that did not go so smoothly, and might wonder why things seemed so unplanned. What made the team struggle so much? Why did it overshoot the budget by a significant amount?

One of the most important factors for success of re-engineering initiatives is to be able to stay focused on the goal. The cost of trying to pack in too many things is high in terms of missed goals, team stress and also the actual money spent on the initiatives.

While re-engineering your existing IT systems, it is advisable that you broadly focus on fulfilling the following three objectives:

    1. With the help of a digital platform, focus on providing value to your customers. For example, a                platform that enables you to deliver services directly to wearable devices.

    2. To redefine the business functions using new possibilities, like, automation or promoting                             self-service or using analytics to deliver more personalized experience.

    3. This one is a combination of the first two options: to leverage the platform to change the business         function, like, an effort to move to the cloud and at the same time redesign the business functions.

Two key points often missed during the initial course of planning and budgeting are defining objectives crisply and mapping the solution to the objectives precisely. Secondly, identifying all possible stakeholders and agreeing with them on the solution and how it is to be delivered.

Challenges that come up during re-engineering engagements include:

    1. The goal of the re-engineering initiative should be clear to all the teams involved. Often, all the                 teams are not fully aware of the goals, they work in silos in order to achieve their own    mini-                    objectives. However, this leads to loss of time and effort.

    2. The solution architecture should be end-to-end. You should have a clear agenda for how   are                   you  planning to build the technology eco-system, as well as how are you going to deliver the end         result.

    3. The scope may be diluted for lack of active monitoring of different team(s). Program management              (including technical leadership) should engage actively to keep the teams focused on the goal.

How can you avoid these problems? Here are a few steps to help you re-engineer your re-engineering initiatives:

Goal: Have a precise and clear objective. If you have a bigger goal, it helps to break it down into smaller steps. In engagements where the objectives were very clear, the end goal was achieved with fewer hurdles, within stipulated time.

Solution architecture: The solution must be clearly mapped to the precise scope. It is consciously limited by investment and objective(s). The solution should also highlight a suitable methodology to deliver the same, and the solution should clearly map to objectives. The sponsor and other key stakeholders should confirm it with their viewpoints.

Re-engineering initiatives with too many objectives, such as mixing platform re-engineering and business process re-engineering, would be too complex to achieve, increasing the chances of failure.

Execution: Keep the focus during the entire period. Active monitoring of the team will be required. Management focus and guidance in steering are crucial during re-engineering, especially for larger re-engineering initiatives. When project members get diverted by myriad issues, it’s important to guide them to the right objectives. Initiatives which combine platform re-engineering with big functional re-engineering should pull in strong management maneuvering for both budget and schedule management.

So, when planning for re-engineering initiatives, try to understand what you are heading for. Keep it incremental — that’s a best practice. Try to avoid mixing too many objectives. Finally, let management of the initiative be flexible to achieve the goals.

Sunil Kumar Singh is a Senior Digital Consultant and Architect with 20 years of experience in the IT industry. In his career, he has driven transformations in several areas involving digital technologies. He is an Enterprise and Solution Architect, an IT Strategist in TCS, helping companies formulate their comprehensive digital strategy and adapt to different dimensions of transformation thereafter. Along with his strategic engagements, his engineering focus areas include Machine Learning, APIs, Microservices and front-end technologies. He holds a bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering. He is a part of TCS' BFSI unit with domain experience in Core Banking, Credit Lines, P&C Insurance, Health and Life for Individual and Group Insurance. He also brings in experiences from other business domains such as Retail, Hi-tech, Utilities, and eGovernance.


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