By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO

Anyone who reads the rambling nonsense that I put out every couple of weeks knows my dilemma with trying to describe our implementation services. They’re hard to explain. There’s no way around it. We created handouts and infographics, but it’s still hard for some to understand. But one thing I can say is that those companies we have been lucky enough to provide these services to have been happy with the results.

In probably the most basic terms, we help our customers document and explain what they want their systems to do and how they want them to be built. We can take insurance program manuals, filings, and even knowledge that is only found in their brains and convert all of that into plans for how to code and configure their systems.

Failed or struggling system implementations are often filled with endless back and forth. Sometimes this can go on for years. Customers tell software vendors everything they think they want to hear to build the systems. The software vendors find themselves having to assume the customers are conveying everything they need. The vendors develop the systems using this information as a guide. The systems are delivered to the customers and the customers say, “This isn’t what we need the system to do,” and the whole process starts over. But now everyone’s faith in each other is starting to wane, and patience is starting to degrade.

At Marias, we’ve been fortunate to be part of a number of implementations and employ resources with many years of insurance experience. We have a way of looking at the information in a little more detail and asking the right questions to pull the requirements out of the customer that might otherwise be overlooked. I’m not going to say we always get 100 percent of the customer’s requirements identified . But I will say it’s a whole lot closer and goes a whole lot smoother when we’re involved.

Many of our customers are very good insurance people but are self-admittedly not IT people. That’s why they come looking for us. But when we talk about implementation services, sometimes they’re buying on trust or faith. They have to take our word or the word of our customers, that we’re going to show them value for their money. If I had a crystal ball and could show them the future, I can almost guarantee they’re going to be happy with how things are going down the road.

So if you see a gently used, highly accurate crystal ball on Craigslist or eBay, shoot me a message.