The Promise of End User System Maintenance

Mar 4th, 2010 | Posted by

One of the benefits of investing in modern, configurable software that is often sought is the ability to move creation and maintenance of systems to the business areas. The premise is that transferring these functions to users will increase quality and reduce costs. In Celent’s discussions with insurers and observations, this is often a goal which is more aspiration than realization.

Our research has begun to quantify the extent to which functions are transferring within various solutions. For example, the graph below details the responses from U.S. insurers using a stand alone rating engine when asked what percentage of work is being performed in their business areas:

Surprisingly, create/change workflow rules are performed more often than change rates. This reflects the expansion of stand alone raters beyond simple arithmetic calculators that was reviewed in the Celent report Future-Proof: Considerations in Choosing Rating Solution Platforms. Not surprisingly, deployment to production is often held in the IT area. For more details, reference the report: US Property/Casualty Rating Systems: ABCD Vendor View, 2009)

We are continuing to collect such data across different software platforms in order to quantify the “promise” of end user maintenance.

  1. Phil Ayres
    Mar 5th, 2010 at 11:19
    Reply | Quote | #1

    I agree that this is a goal which is more aspiration than realization. There are obvious advantages to having the people who work with systems and processes all the time identify areas of improvement, or have the ability to configure the systems for new products. I do wonder though whether the distraction and subsequent loss of productivity in that persons core business is reflected in the reduced costs.

    Frankly, if a system requires two thirds of systems to be moved to acceptance testing by IT, this suggests to me that the systems are not really designed for high level user configuration and are still too technical.

    I’ll be interested to see the results for other types of systems and automated business processes.

    Nice post!
    Phil

  2. Eric Willis
    Mar 9th, 2010 at 12:59
    Reply | Quote | #2

    I agree; this is one of the biggest trends we have seen in insurance over the last 2 years. Insurers are looking to provide access for business users to make systematic changes that were traditionally held on to by IT. In our world this is everything from changing business rules, developing new workflow processes, integrating with core systems and developing automated customer correspondence.

    This not only is changing what insurers are looking for out of modern technologies, but lends insight into the changing buying patterns of the new technology consumer. Vendors must begin to address this need, as self-service and business user configurability will continue to grow. The faster an insurer can make changes to technology the faster they can adapt to changing business conditions and new product offerings.

    Excellent post Mike!

    Eric
    Hyland Software, Inc.