“We hope to find a balance of application where the strengths of both can be fostered to provide insurance technology solutions which are complete, user defined, acceptable and balanced, [and showcase] an agile way of thinking and development with a ‘controlled solution waterfall’ for easy acceptance and implementation.”
In continuing with that discussion, we will begin by highlighting some key points on Agile adoption, existing corporate IT infrastructure, and waterfall’s continuing importance.
As of 2015, the adoption of Agile as an implementation methodology was at 90% over a mere 10-year period. This highlights the key advantages of delivering precise, quantifiable, and successful solutions targeted at users and delivering constant communication and incremental milestone achievements towards the overall project goal (Novarica, 2015).
Most large insurance organizations have transitioned from a federated organization to a centralized IT organization. The new system comes with the following advantages: the ability to manage, budget, and facilitate solutions from inside; better prioritization and budget considerations; and resource management. Downsides of the new system include lower business user satisfaction, de-prioritization effects on projects considered not budget ready, corporate bureaucracy, etc.
Many centralized IT Insurance companies use legacy systems that were developed using waterfall and somewhat force the same approach to integrated solutions or add-on solutions. More recent solutions developed using Agile encourage more business user driven solutions, and companies are more willing to adopt the methodology in recent times.
The value of the solution to the business user can never be underestimated. This value runs from inclusion at the beginning (user requirements), constant user appreciation (testing for functionality, UX and process flow, ease of use, etc.), and delivering a complete working chunk. This is an element Agile offers which Waterfall lacks while not downplaying the benefits of Waterfall methodology.
The introduction of Agile provides an inclusive forum in the solution delivery for all required teams: the organization’s IT, Business Users, IT Vendors, and Consultants/SMEs. This is no small feat and will require some organizational readiness and re-strategizing. You might be asking: what does this mean for IT vendors?
As more Insurers work towards initial and increased adoption of the Agile approach, ensuring the wise and judicious use of the IT budget and adding value to the overall company strategy and bottom line, it is imperative that solution providers like VUE ensure this demand is met with the best supply.
Over the last couple of years, VUE Software has experienced an increased demand for Agile development methodology with insurers operating in both single and multi-lines of business. This prompted the internal and organizational adoption of Agile delivery and the hybrid approach while continuing to deliver with certain Waterfall mechanisms.
In the coming years, VUE will be positioned as one of the hybrid deliverable organizations of IT solutions for insurance distribution and compensation management solutions.