While the value of an SOA approach for increased efficiency and productivity may be obvious, these promised benefits are not necessarily enough to entice insurance companies to make the change. Any company–insurers especially–factors in the risk of losing mission-critical data if they need to replace their entire software infrastructure.

Companies must evaluate, how long it will take their employees to learn how to use the new system, and whether they will have to change existing business processes–many based on industry-specific needs–to map to how a new software systems works.

Guess what? An SOA approach addresses all of these concerns. Consider the following.

Common Concern 1: Will we lose mission-critical data if we move to an SOA approach?

No. An insurance company can use an SOA approach to take advantage of their existing software infrastructure by enhancing it with SOA-enabled applications and Web services. There is no need to rip and replace the entire IT environment, and no threat of losing mission-critical data.

Common Concern 2: How long will it take our employees to get up and running?

It should take limited training and resources to train employees to use SOA-based applications. For example, a benefits enrollment process that could take up to five days could be shortened to five minutes or less with an automated SOA process that integrates a self-service portal with services across multiples systems.

It’s easy for employees to learn how to interact with an SOA-based software system because they only need to open one application with one user interface. Moreover, an SOA environment reduces employees’ reliance on the multiple factors they currently need to perform daily tasks because they can see, access, compare and analyze all relevant data in one place.

Common Concern 3: Do we have to change our business processes?

No. An SOA approach provides an insurance company with the flexibility to build a software infrastructure that automates the business processes they have already identified as best practices. There is no need to adjust the business to the software; instead, the software works the same way the insurance company works. An insurance company can build the software infrastructure around its current business processes and workflows rather than force-fitting its business into a set of pre-approved workflow configurations.