November 02, 2012

Jeffrey Glazer
Jeffrey Glazer, Insurity

Everyone knows that placing the right people in the right jobs is critical to a company’s success. The process starts with exhaustive recruitment efforts to identify the very best pool of candidates, which are then narrowed down based on their work experience, skill sets, and education. Carriers may conduct interview rounds over the course of weeks or months to establish that the candidate does indeed have the qualifications that were promoted on paper, and to gauge the fit of that person’s character with the work environment and spirit of the prospective employer. In the end, all this work can ensure that the best person for the job can settle in long-term and offer the maximum contribution to a company that can provide an enjoyable work environment, financial compensation and professional satisfaction in return.

When it comes to searching for the right insurance core system software vendor, should the process be much different? Too often the process of selecting a software vendor skims the surface without diving into the critical details of its qualifications. That may work as an approach when looking for a consultant for a single project, but core system implementation, enhancement, and maintenance is a full-time job. A company looking for a quality software vendor must ensure that the vendor has the right qualifications, the right capabilities and technology, and the right character for its organization.

A vendor may have stellar claims at the start; but just as a company wouldn’t hire anyone based on their resume, insurers need to dig deeper to get to the facts behind a vendor’s marketing hype. What kind of qualifications does the vendor have? A prospective employee can’t get credit for what they promised to do, or were contracted to do, but only for what they did. What has the vendor actually done? Is their product comprehensive? Does it have a solid foundation? Is it flexible? How many insurance company clients does the vendor have in production? Only with a solid record of implementations that has stood the test of time – through maintenance, changes, enhancements, technological evolution, and client growth – can a vendor truly claim experience.

If the vendor appears to offer the right qualifications, the next step is to consider both its capabilities and technology. Capabilities are a direct result of the vendor’s real-world experience with core systems. Implementing and maintaining core software for various types of companies with varying needs creates a self-sustaining product maturation. Like a candidate whose depth of knowledge grows with each project and employer, a vendor’s implementations improve not only its software but its practices as well. The richer a history a vendor has with requirements definition, client collaboration, and project management, the more it has learned, and the easier the process will be for clients.

When evaluating a vendor’s technology it’s important to consider more than just its current technology offering. The best software companies keep up with a constantly evolving technological landscape, infusing new methodologies and programming developments into the vendor’s products, policies, and processes. A company that values technology knows that a culture of innovation is essential, and a good vendor offers fresh ideas and takes risks to fulfill the individual needs of its clients. Without experience and a solid foundation, a vendor isn’t in a position to present creative solutions to its clients. It must understand that each client’s needs are unique, and must be able to break the mold to get its clients what they need to not only operate but to be prepared for the next technological advances.

Good character is the final key ingredient to assessing a software vendor. Are they willing to go above and beyond for a client? Do they truly understand their clients’ business needs or do they respond with generic answers or promises of future performance? Have they abandoned implementations or products that didn’t go well? Do they appreciate that prospective clients have experience, education, and expertise in their business and value their clients’ ideas? A partner on any core system project needs to be one that takes its role as a true collaborator to heart to ensure that every implementation team member’s ideas are considered and contributions maximized.

By looking at a prospective core system software vendor with the same rigor as when evaluating a prospective employee, insurers can get the answers to ensure that they are placing the right vendor in the right job – a job that, when done right, makes the insurer’s business more successful.

About the Author: Jeffrey Glazer is CEO of Insurity. In this role, he oversees all aspects of the business, which provides comprehensive solutions to help insurance carriers manage the entire policy life cycle for commercial, personal and specialty lines. He can be reached at Jeffrey.glazer@insurity.com.