Four Keys to Adopting Packaged Software

Transforming your business can be a large, risky undertaking, and making the decision to take it on is scary. You may have heard horror stories – a burden on the business and a threat to the budget. However, there have been advancements and lessons learned over the past few years. Through hundreds of core transformations, we’ve learned a lot about how to lighten the burden, help protect your budget, and focus the team on differentiating value for your company. Below are four universal levers that can contribute to a less difficult journey.

Clear, Aligned Leadership

It’s very important that the vendor and insurer’s business and technology teams agree on a unified message about what the entire team is trying to accomplish. After the message is determined, it’s critical that leadership understands the message and delivers it accurately and clearly. This isn’t a one-time message; it should be repeated over and over throughout the program, as the team is trying to drive a large group of stakeholders to go on this journey with it. The message needs to be the same no matter who it’s coming from.

Focus on the Strategic Business Plan

There is similarity in how each insurance company does business. It is not unusual to observe 80% to 90% similarity across the industry. We encourage customers to establish a strategic business plan that clearly identifies what makes their companies unique. Establishing an aligned business and technology value map is not only a best practice in general; it will be a good tool to refer to throughout the project. Software packages can often be extended to reflect unique business needs. However, extensions take effort and can result in added implementation costs as well as added ongoing costs to care for the solution. We encourage companies to adopt the package as developed and extend the solution only where the extension enables them to materially emphasize their differentiating value proposition.

Execution Excellence

If this is the first large packaged software project your company is executing, it’s important to know that selection, delivery, and run time are going to be very different from building and running custom software. If your company’s governance is geared toward building software, you’ll want to instantiate new practices that ensure you’ll be getting value from packaged software. These practices apply to software selection, implementation, and ongoing care. The good news is that there are many insurers, system integrators, and vendors who have gone before you and have established best practices, including a proven methodology. Even if you’ve done packaged software before, it’s important that you take lessons learned from past projects and adjust your governance so that you do more of what worked in the past and you change (or avoid) practices that didn’t work.

Strategic Partnership

Proven software providers with a track record of success approach projects as partners. Nobody succeeds if the project fails. A true partnership requires that both the buyer and seller strive to establish and nurture a strategic relationship, enabling:

  • Insurers to take advantage of the vendor’s knowledge and experience
  • Customers to share and learn from each other in areas that are not competitive
  • Vendors to learn from each customer, which can influence the product roadmap and result in a richer, more aligned product