News and opinion

Right First Time: Software conformity in insurance

News and opinion | Georgina | 19 April 2022

Why is software conformity important for insurers?

In our Right First Time blog series, we explore how assuring successful change management is crucial in transformational programmes. Dynamic software applications 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 of getting it done right the first time, every time.

Enterprise software solutions, as capable as they might be, rarely meet all business requirements out-of-the-box. Thereby, some configuration of the software is needed, for example, to facilitate a business process, or to meet regional regulatory standards. To do so, developers are employed to configure the software to meet those business requirements.

Software vendors define, quite precisely, how the software product can be configured. Additionally, many vendors provide guidelines and toolkits to enable configuration work to be completed to the highest standard. Those involved in this work must ensure that the configuration of the software product meets the software vendor’s best practice guidelines.

Software conformity in the real world

In a real-world application, however, this is difficult to achieve. If code is not of the highest quality or compromises the software, the installed software may function poorly, or ‘break’ during upgrades, resulting in service disruption and expensive rectification. Technical debt may also be accrued, resulting in expensive subsequent fixes. In the worst examples, a downward spiral of re-work and disparate patches further impact the integrity of the software, ultimately to the point of uselessness.

Software conformity is a powerful Solution Assurance practice that ensures enterprise software installs fulfil both the software vendor’s best practice and the customer’s business requirements. Such an approach enables the software installation to conform as closely to out-of-the-box as possible, while still realising the customer’s benefits expectations. Where configuration is necessary, software conformity ensures a cost-effective implementation, providing for future software updates to proceed with the least possible disruption.

If the software must be customised outside of the vendor’s intended use for their product, software conformity further assists by guiding that solution to minimise re-work when software is upgraded. Such customisations are generally not supported by software vendors, possibly leading to the vendor inadvertently introducing a new feature that conflicts with the customer’s customisations. Foresight of the vendor’s development roadmap is essential here, with software conformity providing a framework for future software support.

Software conformity and Solution Assurance

Software conformity is most usually conducted by expert Solution Assurance consultants. Fully embedded within project work-streams, the Solution Assurance consultants work closely with those delivering the software configuration. Frequent reporting informs programme management on conformity scoring and essential areas of improvement.

Solution Assurance is a vital third-party service that assists customers to install and develop effective enterprise software solutions. We strongly recommend software conformity as a vital element of Solution Assurance in transformational programmes.