Technical debt, whether it’s accrued on purpose or accidentally, costs companies millions (and potentially billions) each year. Taking up capacity and productivity of talented teams, technical debt can instigate delays on a company’s innovation; costing them hugely in both time, people and money. Digital transformation in the insurance sector is undergoing thick and fast change; especially in the UK. Speed to market with innovative products may be a priority, but the ‘gotchas’ at play can derail this innovation. Technical debt is a ‘gotcha’ that, in some cases, can be prevented with the guidance of an assurance partner.
What is Solution Assurance?
The way we see it, Solution Assurance is the guidance system all insurance digital transformation projects need.
“Beyond implementation services, our comprehensive Solution Assurance service was borne from our deep skills and experience. This is not just a certified and qualified pair of eyes and ears, shadowing and thoroughly checking all aspects of delivery, but also a very real on-site presence, ensuring our clients are protected from unnecessary risks, poor practices, poor quality and high customisation, all of which can have a material impact on velocity and costs (both current and future). This participation has proved essential in the early identification of risks before they become issues, as well as recommending ‘course correction’ action. Prevention is better than cure.” – Roy Murphy, CEO and Founder, Business Agility.
What has Solution Assurance got to do with technical debt?
As Roy mentions, prevention is better than cure. Not only is this true for financial debt, but it’s especially true for technical debt. Technical debt is one of those expenses that companies don’t always see coming; until they’ve reached a financial bottleneck with it. Calculating technical debt is one thing, but being able to manage and maintain it? It can take years to untangle any damage caused behind the scenes. Solution Assurance, when brought in on a project at the right time, can ensure the innovative solutions are delivered on time, on budget – and conforming to the original product as much as possible. (One of the biggest culprits of technical debt is from heavy customisation of a product).
Is solution assurance just a ‘technical debt’ buster?
No! Alleviating unintentional technical debt is just one of the many benefits of solution assurance on an insurance transformation programme.
Solution Assurance protects a programme from failure. Whether that failure is caused by;
- insufficient talent/expertise
- too much customisation
- poor planning
- too much risk-taking
– all of which can easily be done on such mammoth projects. Technical debt happens to be a consequence of the causes above. Other consequences caused by the above include budget issues, extended delays, and an incomplete programme altogether. Plans change over time, but without sufficient guidance during such changes, you may end up with an end product that is not fit for purpose – and cost you the earth to implement it.
Another reason Solution Assurance is critical to insurance transformation is futureproofing. Upgrades are expensive, complicated and risky in highly customised environments; especially if you have an inexperienced team. However, Solution Assurance not only keeps the current programme on track; it provides much-needed foresight into the direction of the business. Solution Assurance provides strategic insight into how much the business is likely to invest in the future.
As insurers turn towards digital solutions more and more, upgrades cannot be avoided (and shouldn’t be, for that matter!) such upgrades are put off and avoided when you don’t know what you’re dealing with. However, if you know your existing systems can undergo a practically seamless transition to newer versions in the next few years, getting this investment won’t be as difficult as it can be.
Our technical debt whitepaper explores some more causes and types of such debt. Solution Assurance is a service we’re experienced in and would be happy to talk you through. Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to explore your transformation journey with you (and not from the sidelines!)