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Three principles for implementing a core insurance platform

KEYLANE June 28, 2024

Autor:  Dennis Bron, Principle Implementation Consultant, Keylane 

When it comes to software implementation, the insurance industry has come a long way. Methodology, software architectures and years of experience have shaped the approaches for how best to implement critical IT systems within insurance organisations. But despite this progress, leading industry analysts refer to a 70% fail rate when it comes to large IT projects.  

So why are so many digital transformations not delivering the promised results in corporate performance for insurers?  

Having proudly been a part of many successful core implementations of Keylane’s Axon platform, I’d love to share my top three principles for predicting implementation success, which really boils down to three words: methodology, maturity, and experience 

Battle proven methodology 

Many may remember when implementation projects followed the waterfall model. 

With few exceptions, this was an era of large, clunky documents with very limited practical use. It’s also an era marked by implementations that struggled with unpredictable costs, repeated missed deadlines and increasingly discouraged business users.  

A fundamental issue with the waterfall methodology was in getting timely and quality feedback on requirements and system design. Despite a meticulous focus on documenting each and every iterative step, it was frequently challenging to identify and address changes early in the process. And, with testing being carried out in the latter stages of projects, this resulted in a high number of issues to correct, which inevitably led to implementation delays.  

The Keylane Implementation methodology uses an iterative approach based on Agile methods, which encourages user involvement and a strong focus on incremental deliverables (with user experience the driving criteria). In practical terms, that means several things: 

  •  During the first weeks of implementation, Keylane clients works actively in the Axon environment, which is provisioned in the cloud and configured with the clients own insurance products.
  • Business processes are configured and extended in short sprints, with the client taking an active role to better ensure user acceptance and that business needs are met.  
  • Implementation specialists on the client’s side will typically take the lead in showcasing functionality to the rest of the business.  

Keylane’s iterative approach allows for working on multiple implementation aspects in parallel, which shortens the duration of the project while encouraging continuous design improvements 

Platform maturity 

The first generation of standard systems are known to be rigid and monolithic beasts originally designed to support commoditised business processes, but they were never as flexible as people would have liked. Customisation of these systems to specific requirements tended to be an afterthought, and consequently could be quite expensive.  

A big part of the time spent on first generation system implementations related to functional adaptations, which may even have included updates to the core source code. Integrations to other systems were typically another major issue, demanding significant time and resources to realise effectively. These customisations also created severe, long-term maintenance challenges. Issues which many insurance providers are still wrestling with today – I can personally recall a recent upgrade where the client had no choice but to rent and staff a multi-floor office building! 

In contrast, most modern platforms come fully equipped with out-of-the-box integrations for connectivity to essential third parties and government institutions. In the case of Keylane’s Axon platform, a rich and fully documented API is provided, alongside modern no-code capabilities and ready-to-use functional templates. The result is that implementations are more predictable, less resources are needed, and technical debt is limited and controlled. A team can quickly configure insurance products as well as showcase user functionality, processes and user dialogs in close cooperation with business owners and end-users.

The bottomline here is that to ensure an in-scope and on-time implementation, the platform itself must be designed with technical and functional agility at the forefront. A basic requirement for any future-fit platform is that it provides functional flexibility without increasing complexity 

Experience makes the difference  

While there’s no question that technology and implementation methodology will continue to evolve, and likewise Keylane will continue to invest in technology that promises to make the implementation of core solutions easier and more predictable, the most important thing to consider is to work with a trusted partner with a documented experience in implementing core insurance systems.  

There will be challenges during implementations, unforeseen issues arise which demand cool heads and knowledgeable hands to resolve. As such, successful implementations of software solutions are ultimately determined by experienced specialists, who are, above all else, your most critical asset to determining implementation success. 

A good and professional relationship between an insurer and a partner is forged by a common understanding of business requirements, platform capabilities and an open communication with regards to challenges and timelines. I cannot imagine that it will ever change.”   

Read more about Keylane here.