Right First Time: OOTB vs. Configuration vs. Customisation

In Right First Time we explore how assuring successful change management is crucial in insurance transformational programmes. Dynamic software applications, including GuidewireTM InsuranceSuite, allow insurers to transact policies and enable digital platforms more effectively than ever before. However, implementation is not merely a matter of getting it done, but in getting it done right the first time, every time.

Out of the Box vs. Configuration vs. Customisation

When implementing Insurance software platforms, a key area of understanding is the difference between out of the box, configuration, and customisation. These terms are often used but rarely defined. Here, we will examine these terms to draw distinct lines between them.

Out of the Box

The software is delivered by the software vendor. No changes have been made; the software behaviour, user experience, and functionality are as designed by the software vendor.

Imagine a vehicle factory. Out of the box is the raw car, straight off the main production line. The car is driveable but has steel wheels, is painted only with an undercoat, and has basic audio equipment.

Configuration

An insurance software vendor allows for the software to be configured. The insurer will install their insurance product model, adapt the software to meet their claims or policy processes, and a whole host of other possible configurations. These are undertaken within the software vendor’s best practice guidelines.

Configuration is the manufacturer options available to you when buying the car, and what is required to make the car legal to drive in your country. The car will be localised by outfitting as a left, or right-hand drive. Regulatory requirements, such as fog lights added. Then, as the purchaser, you choose which alloy wheels to fit, select the colour and type of paint, decide upon cloth or leather interior, pick a sound system, opt for an engine upgrade, or any number of options the manufacturer provides for, which the approved dealer can fit. These configurations fall under the vehicle warranty and meet the appropriate statutory regulations. The design of the vehicle enables these configurations, which can be maintained by approved dealers, throughout the lifecycle of the car.

Modern insurer software platforms provide a wide range of configuration options. Configuration takes time and resources to achieve success. Therefore, careful planning and execution are required to ensure that configurations meet business requirements and yield the expected benefits.

Customisation

An insurer may need to make special adaptions or build entirely new components, with the intent to add functionality neither present nor configurable within the software. This is customisation.

Aftermarket adaptations to a car might be as simple as the use of third-party parts, or the addition of accessories such as navigation systems. More dramatic alterations include aerodynamic spoilers, or mechanical upgrades, which might be superchargers or nitrous systems. These adaptations are not formally supported by the manufacturer and may void the vehicle warranty. The owner takes full responsibility for their maintenance and for any resultant liabilities.

Customisation may also occur if the configuration solution strays outside of the software vendor’s best practice guidelines.

Most insurance platforms will require a little customisation. Whether to accommodate anti-fraud measures or to enable large-scale robotics, such customisations must be considered carefully. As a rule of thumb, the further the diversion from out of the box and configuration, the costlier the customisation will be to maintain.

How Solution Assurance helps with configuration and customisation

Solution Assurance is a vital third-party service that assists customers to install and develop effective enterprise insurance software solutions. During discovery, inception, and design of the software implementation, Solution Assurance Consultants advise on the potential impacts of Configuration and Customisation.