Insurance professionals repeatedly hear from media, conference presenters and their own IT colleagues that they need to act now to take advantage of the great benefits available with a service-oriented architecture.
Insurers are told that SOA is important, that it’s the next big thing to dramatically improve how they conduct business, and that they will lose to their competitors if they don’t embrace SOA.
Are these points regarding the value of an SOA approach compelling to insurance professionals? Probably not.
Few insurance professionals spend much time considering their company’s software architecture. They are more concerned about what tools and information they need to best perform their jobs.
Can they access the data they need, when they need it, in the format they want, as quickly as possible? The value of an SOA approach lies at the intersection of insurance professionals’ business concerns and their company’s software architecture.
Insurers track and manage vital information across a number of departments.
–The quoting department collects the initial information about a potential customer and their insurance needs.
–The underwriting department uncovers all of the necessary details to effectively assess a customer’s risk and value as an investment.
–The claims department maintains their own store of information regarding how a customer has used their company’s products and policies in response to a natural disaster, car accident or medical need.
But what happens when the insurance company wants to see information on a specific customer or group of customers from all of these departments?
Managing this complex collection of data and delivering the right information to the right people at the right time is exactly the sort of business challenge an SOA-based approach can help.
Today, many insurance companies still house information in disparate business systems, preventing cross-departmental data sharing via an insurer’s software infrastructure and applications. This creates an inefficient environment of manual and paper-based processes, making a seemingly simple task hinge on whether or not the right person is in the office to provide the data or report needed to make a decision.
With an SOA-based approach, insurance professionals gain simplified access to the data they need–when they need it–in order to do their jobs.