Details Are Devilish In Insurance Data Conversions
Migrating from legacy systems, consolidating operations, reducing operating costs–it all sounds good until you look under the covers and discover whats involved in the data conversion piece of the effort.
Certainly the total cost of ownership (TCO) of fewer systems to maintain is attractive, but what effort will be required to achieve this ideal state? Like it or not, data conversion is a price to pay and a critical step in the path to any new technology or system consolidation effort. And, when it comes to successful data conversions, we quickly discover that the devil is in the details.
Its not that data conversions are difficult to understand. After all, whats so tough about moving data from one system to another? Its those unseen challenges that often rear their ugly heads throughout the process to slow down progress and, in some cases, bring the project to a grinding halt.
So, if the devil of data conversions is in the details, the path to success lies in getting your arms around these elusive details by identifying them up front and preparing for them in the conversion project. Not that there wont be challenges along the way, but perhaps many of the bumps in the road can be avoided by mapping out a course to circumvent the past mistakes of others, while also taking advantage of their successes.
Since data conversions are not typically something you will do on an ongoing basis, theres no point in investing the time and effort to develop the proficiency in your own organization. Theres no need to learn the lessons of the conversion “detail devil” the hard way. Others have traveled this road before, so why not gain the benefit of their experience and proficiency?
The traditional data conversion approach of the more arms and legs we throw at the process, the quicker itll get done has proven time and again to be a far less than perfect strategy. The only real measurable accomplishment is that a lot of resources are expended to get results faster but often with cost overruns and questionable data integrity.
Frequently, the conversion never gets fully completed as the arms and legs get too tangled to ever complete the task, and the organization ends up back at the drawing board or in damage control mode.
A better approach might be to build an experienced team of outside experts, combined with your IT and business staff, managing the effort as a true project, rather than a necessary evil or nuisance task.
Approaching data conversions from a business perspective rather than as an IT project will typically reap higher quality results. While moving data from one system to another is not a technically complex process, ensuring the data integrity and applying the appropriate business rules to ensure accurate results often requires the process finesse and rules knowledge of the insurance business user.