Building the Right Business Case for a Guidewire Upgrade

Paul ParkerIT dollars are scarce in the insurance industry; the IT spend is closely scrutinized and a strong business case is necessary to secure those funds. For this reason, developing a good business case for a Guidewire upgrade project is the first step in getting approval for funding. Avoid the trap of building a Guidewire upgrade business case based solely on the increased cost to be  incurred simply due to the fact that the warranty period of the current product version will soon be expiring. This case assumes that the upgrade is purely technical in nature and is a simple lift-and-shift from an older version of the software to a newer version. Although this is a ‘justification’, it lacks the opportunity to promote the new and improved business features and processes in the latest version of the product.  Focusing on the following three areas will drive a stronger upgrade business case:

  1. Understanding the new features and functionality that will help build a true business case. Whether it is taking advantage of straight-through processing, improved vendor management, policyholder self-service, or low-touch claims processing, these new capabilities offer strong business benefits.
  1. The opportunity to lower Total Cost of Ownership. By replacing custom-built functions developed to fill a business need that were not provided in the installed core application with now-available Out-of-the-Box features and functions available in the new version. Cleaning up technical debt by refactoring the code to align with Guidewire best practices, taking advantage of targeted Post-on-Change, removing GOSU code blocks from PCF’s, or batch process load balancing, can provide a boost in application performance and stability while providing a clean path for future upgrades.
  1. Reclaim missed expected benefits. Now that your end users have been working in the Guidewire application, you know what you did not know at initial deployment in terms of needed functionality to drive sustainable benefits. Include these “originally missed” benefits in the business case. Build the business case to show the need to perhaps add, change, or delete current functionality to drive more realistic business benefits, thereby reducing leakage and increasing Return-on-Investment (ROI).

Starting with an upgrade assessment provides a 360-degree view of the technical and business opportunities, while enabling the ability to quantify the associated benefits. This approach will justify the ROI and strengthen the overall business case, providing stakeholders with meaningful information to approve the project. Plan a Guidewire upgrade assessment now to build that successful business case.