By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you probably know we sell testing and implementation services to insurance companies. And if you are an insurance company with any kind of computer system, you’d better be buying these services. Failed software implementations are everywhere. And it seems like they’re still on the rise. The number of companies struggling with their current systems is also increasing. If you’re running a system, implementing a new one, or ready to purchase one, you’d better get some help. And I don’t really even care if you buy these services from us.

Sure we’d love to sell more services and add new customers. But I hate to see bad things happen to good people. And well-run insurance companies are seeing their system implementations struggle. You need to think about this in a different way. You’re buying a system from a company that sells software and probably can do a pretty good job of it when given a chance. But they can’t tell you how you need the system to work. They don’t know all of the nuances of how you do business. It’s your responsibility to understand and communicate those nuances to them. And then it’s your responsibility to test the system to make sure it does what you need it to do. Testing isn’t always about system bugs. Many times, testing confirms that you explained things correctly to your vendor in the first place.

Here’s the story in a nutshell: Insurance IT projects are difficult. They’re unique. People who’ve been through these projects repeatedly have invaluable experience. And this experience is not something staff members of the average insurance company possess. The staffs are full of great insurance people like underwriters, claims adjusters, product development experts, and qualified IT resources like programmers, network administrators, and business analysts. But rarely do these staffs include people who’ve had the chance to go through projects like systems replacements multiple times. And maybe, more important, they haven’t had the chance to go through these projects successfully.

The need for outside help is not a bad reflection on how your company is run. It’s not a sign of weakness. Actually, I’d say it’s just the opposite. Realizing you might need help shows you understand the risks in going it alone. It displays that using outside help can help to prevent risks.

Find yourself some outside help. Sure this costs money. But it could be a fraction of what you’d lose  should the project fail or if the system needs to be replaced.

And I genuinely mean what I said above. This is not a long-winded attempt to get you to purchase something from us. If you have someone you know, trust, or have worked with before, that’s great. Just don’t try to go through this alone.