How Long is this Going to Take?

In this installment I am taking a departure from my normal, "Keys to Success," thread and instead providing a glimpse into the concept of the Implementation Workshop which we (Guidewire) use when working with insurers looking to replace their core systems.

When talking to insurers who are exploring Guidewire InsuranceSuite for their core system replacement, one of the first questions asked is, "How long is this implementation going to take?" To begin to answer that question, we routinely distribute an implementation questionnaire which provides us the basic information surrounding the insurer and implementation scope. While generally this allows us to develop a reasonable estimate of duration and cost, it lacks the level of interaction to really gain a true understanding of the insurer, the problems they are trying to solve, and the complexity of their organization.

In order to bridge this gap, we recommend an Implementation Workshop which is a small time investment of 1-2 days with one of our senior Guidewire Implementation Services staff to drill down to that next level of detail required. The overall objectives for the workshop are as follows:

  • Educate the customer team about the Guidewire estimating and project approach;
  • Educate the Guidewire team regarding the customer goals and objectives for their project;
  • Discuss/confirm various project strategies (data migration, methodology, reporting, etc.);
  • Create/review estimates for various release scenarios that include scope, timeline, staffing and costs for the entire program;
  • Define a release strategy and program roadmap; and
  • Define the preliminary team structure with roles and responsibilities.

This allows for a much more personal experience that enables Guidewire and the insurer to learn more about one another and to discuss the type of things that are difficult to communicate through a questionnaire. It also allows time for follow up questions to clarify items or to drill down to lower level of detail where that is warranted. Examples of topics that require more detail include:

  • Business Drivers - What are the business problems that are trying to be solved? What are the current pain points today? What does the future for the business hold and what is needed from a core system to help enable this? This allows the Guidewire team to help shape a discussion and implementation strategy that is tailored to addressing the insurer’s specific business drivers and areas of pain.
  • Organizational Complexity - Simply because an insurer is large in terms of premium does not necessarily mean they have a complex organizational and decision making structure, and vice versa. This is a key item that we are aiming to understand as a result of the workshop. Decision making efficiency is a key driver in terms of the potential velocity of an implementation.
  • Technical Landscape - What is the current technical landscape? What is the target technical end state? Where do you envision the Guidewire core systems fitting into this end state? This discussion often leads to areas where there are potential overlaps between core system functionality and target end state landscape. Knowing high level answers to these questions could simplify the implementation, or identify potential gaps in the target end state that could have gone unnoticed had the discussion not occurred.

Guidewire believes that this personal interaction is beneficial to both parties involved. Written communication can only take us so far in terms of understanding. Implementation Workshops allow us to tailor an implementation approach and estimate that is keenly focused on the objectives of the insurer, to validate assumptions that Guidewire is making as well the assumptions that the insurer is making, and also provide us with the insight to be able to develop an implementation estimate that has a higher degree of accuracy.

We are always happy and willing to understand more about our prospective customers and also very happy for them to learn more about us. It is our goal to help insurers with their core system replacement journey, and the Implementation Workshop is a vital first step in answering the title of this post, "How long is this going to take?"