Celent’s War and Peace – An epic in the making

Mar 16th, 2009 | Posted by

If you listen carefully you will hear the crunching and churning of the cogs and wheels of Celent’s most ambitious bi-annual report – the policy administration report. It’s hard not to be overcome by superlatives when describing this research. This year, we’ll publish 7 reports, each likely to run well over 100 pages in length. Given their complexity and multiple moving parts, we run them as projects imposing deadlines upon all in our path. This year’s global reports will involve six senior analysts, one editor, and two junior staff who assist with the administration. Each report takes about four months from issuing of the RFI to the vendor to publication.

You may wonder what we do in those four months. We contact around 160 vendors, receive approximately 130 completed RFIs. And then the work begins. For each vendor, we schedule a follow-up call and a 1 hour demo. For each established solution, we schedule 2-3 customer references. Extrapolate that out and we’re talking over 90 hours of demos, 180 customer references, and enough emails to clog a high-speed ADSL connection!

The demo of each full-profiled system is a requirement we added in 2007. The vendor is given an hour to run through a very tight script focusing on usability and functionality for brokers, internal staff and IT. It’s tricky to know what to cover in this hour and just as challenging for the vendor to get their message across in this limited time. My colleague, Donald Light, had a terrific way of explaining to vendors how to approach this:- “I sometimes use the analogy that you (the vendor) has put us (the analysts) in the cockpit of a new commercial jet — your job is to show us the controls and instruments and explain how they will make flying the jet better — we do not take off and fly the plane.”

So what’s new this year? Four years ago, we introduced our ABCD grid — a visual representation vendor in four factors (technology, breadth, clients, and depth of services). This year, we’ve revised that methodology to better reflect capabilities in a more objective manner.

We’re also very excited to be producing PAS reports for Asia for the first time. We have in the past published a report on China but this time we will look broader across the region for both sectors. We expect several vendors from Europe and North America to appear in this report alongside some interesting local players.

So, if you head is spinning at this point, I invite you to sit back, and relax as Celent undertakes the critical the task of creating a navigation tool for the insurance core systems market. All things going well, expect to see the North American P&C and European GI reports to be published in May this year. Asia reports and the companion Life/Health/Annuities/Pensions will be published in summer.