Stirring The Creative Disruption Pot

Stirring The Creative Disruption Pot


One of the great things about being an analyst is that you’re expected to challenge the status quo on behalf of the companies you work with. The analyst-as-gadfly model was on display at Celent’s Creative Disruption workshop in Boston last week. Someone later told me, “You looked like you were having fun!” I surely was.

Celent’s message of “healthy discomfort” as a driver of positive change seemed to resonate with attendees, both carriers and their vendors. It came into virtually every conversation in some way. Here are a few nuggets I noted throughout the day.

  • Disruption is generally respected but only lightly pursued. Like “change” and “agility,” disruption is a term with positive connotations for most people. But when you ask companies what they are doing to make it a reality, you mostly hear the sound of crickets.
  • Agile methodologies are enabling change. And they’re not all about technology. They seem to serve as a signpost that corporate cultures are changing, giving staff a reason to rethink their traditional behaviors.
  • Vendors have an important role to play in driving change. This is well understood, by players on both sides of the vendor/carrier relationship. But it’s easy to revert to old models, where vendor and insurer interests are in opposition rather than being aligned.
  • Leadership will determine where disruption can thrive. Front line staff are thirsty for productive change. Being part of something bigger and more exciting is on most people’s wish lists, even if they don’t know it yet.  But absent some passionate vision from the top, “big D” disruption projects are doomed.

You can expect more coverage from Celent on this topic in the coming months, as we think it is vitally important. Your ability to keep operational concerns and creative, disruptive thinking in a healthy balance will be essential for you to get to the top of a competitive heap.

Creative Disruption – The Votes Are In!

Creative Disruption – The Votes Are In!

In preparation for the Creative Disruption event in Boston on November 3rd, Celent surveyed insurers to gather their views on using creative disruption to bring sustained, fundamental change to their organizations. By creative disruption, we mean implementing the initiatives that are required to fundamentally alter how insurance products are developed, implemented, and serviced.

With over 90 insurer responses, the two areas with the highest potential value for disruption are customer service experience and product design. These processes will be explored in depth at the event, as insurance IT executives present how their organizations used tools such as modern policy administration systems and agile development to deliver materially different results to their business. For more information on the event, please visit http://celentinsurance.eventbrite.com/. If you cannot attend, you can follow the event on Twitter at #creativedisruption.

Quantifying the Promise of End User Maintenance

Quantifying the Promise of End User Maintenance

One of the frequently referenced benefits of transitioning to a modern automation platform is the ability to have some amount of system maintenance moved out of programming areas. In some organizations, this means having business analysts make changes to systems; in others, end users in business units perform selected modifications. Lower cost and shorter cycle times are claimed as the advantages of this approach.

However, it has always been difficult to quantify this opportunity. During a recent consulting project, we discovered a technique that helped clarify such a benefit.

The client was a large insurer with multiple divisions. The unit in which we were working used a forty year legacy administration system. In a sister operation, a modern, rules-based system performed a similar function. We asked a business analyst who worked with the modern system to review the current outstanding work list of the legacy system and make a determination which items would be handled without programming assistance in the more modern system. After reviewing 70 items, he determined that 28% of them could be accomplished without involving programming resources.

While this is not a controlled experiment, nor a statistically relevant sample, it did allow the client to more effectively gauge the opportunity. It allowed us to have a much more meaningful discussion of a future state since we could reference actual work items and outline how they might be accomplished differently.

If your team is looking for a way to quantify the promise of end user maintenance, search across your organization and to see if existing experience with modern solutions in other parts of the company can contribute a focused and meaningful perspective.