Disruption in insurance: not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’

January 29, 2018

In an interview on the digital insurance agenda, AXA Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer Amelie Oudea Castera talks about the challenges of delivering the Digital Insurance Agenda, the disruption of insurance, and the challenges & success factors of teaming up with Insurtechs.
As a former world champion, Castrera compares the insurance business with a tennis match: “On top of technical skills, insurance requires attention to every detail, a mix of action and anticipation, a capacity to work over the long-term and a lot of technical expertise!”

According to Castrera it is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a disruption in the insurance industry but a matter of ‘when’. Teaming up with Insurtechs is essential in order to keep up. In her opinion, the greatest challenge for incumbent insurance companies in this cooperation is the cultural gap between the startups and large corporate worlds, including for example the difference in speed of decision-making or the discrepancies in terms of focus (growth vs. profitability).

What we, as legacy transformation experts, find is that legacy environments are often a huge bottleneck that negatively influences exactly those areas. When IT organizations focus on keeping business-critical legacy systems running, valuable resources and huge budgets are taken away from innovation, integration and cooperation.

The moment they decide to get off the mainframe and migrate their legacy applications there is a clear shift in focus which opens the door to innovation. A great example of this is VIVAT, this large insurer encompasses multiple insurance brands (e.g. Reaal Dier & Zorg, Zwitserleven, Reaal, Route-Mobiel and Zelf) and a sustainable asset manager (ACTIAM).

Over the past decades, VIVAT had developed its core insurance systems using the Unisys EAE/LINC programming language running on Unisys Libra 690 mainframes. They found that this environment burdened them with high costs and limited flexibility. After they migrated 15 different applications, of which 8 business-critical, they not only achieved an immediate reduction of 70% on infrastructure and operational cost but there are also new functionalities available that help them realize their growth and innovation ambitions.

Read more here:

Top 5 retail trends 2017 – 2018

July 17, 2017

Top 5 retail trends 2017-2018

  1. Flexible stores
    The number of traditional stores is decreasing but there’s an increase in non-traditional concepts like pop-up-stores and mobile stores.
  2. Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    AI chatbots that facilitate mobile commerce are on the rise. They are continuously present during the customer journey.
  3. Mobile wallet
    More and more it is possible to pay by using a mobile phone. People barely carry cash anymore. The mobile wallet is the future.
  4. Virtual and augmented reality
    Although invented in the USA, the APAC region takes the lead in VR. Huge investments are made in creating the best VR shopping experience.
  5. Voice control
    Besides the widely used search commands, voice control services like Siri of Apple, Alexa of Amazon and Allo of Google will more and more be used for purchasing and payment.

Legacy systems major show stoppers for innovation

Today’s consumers are demanding. If they see something they like, they want it right away, same or next day latest. The above trends are developed to accommodate these demands. If you cannot deliver, you lose business. Supply chain optimization is key.
However, all of these trends require massive data exchange, advanced integrations and a high degree of flexibility in order to process high amounts of orders, enable easy payment, fast delivery and manage customer care. Legacy systems are major show stoppers that slow down innovation in this fast-changing and highly competitive market. In order to stay ahead retailers, have to modernize these legacy systems and embrace new technology.

Smart retailers have taken steps to transform their legacy environment and open the doors for innovation. See some examples below.

Associated Food Stores
For over 25 years Associated Food Stores ran the core system of their business on a Unisys mainframe. The move to migrate these systems to a Microsoft SQL environment saves them hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. They now run the same core systems on two virtual servers. Check out the case study.

Brabantia
Brabantia is a privately owned Dutch company that manufactures and sells items for the home such as waste bins, laundry racks, food storage containers and other products.

The nightly scheduled batch procedures on the NX4600 machine was running out of the capacity and was declining the operational on-line performance. Therefore, Brabantia needed a migration to directly solve their batch capacity issue. After the migration, they only use half of the capacity of the NT machine and with the on-line reporting of AMT LION they are able to service users with operational information fast. Their business applications run just as stable under Windows as they used to do on the mainframe. But now they are much more flexible in linking to external applications and can easily provide their legacy applications with a web interface. Check out the case study.

Toolbank
For years Toolbank was using a Unisys A-series mainframe to run its ERP system. Concerns regarding the long-term commitment from Unisys in combination with the constraints of the mainframe, which was holding back the enhancement and development of the platform made Toolbank decide to migrate its mainframe to open systems using Asysco Migration Technology.  A good decision, as it turns out. Not only did they achieve ROI in under 3 years, as anticipated, but they have also been able to integrate modern .NET screens with the application as well as API interfaces for Excel. Users are happy and the applications are future-proof. Check out the case study.

Legacy system modernization key in accomplishing Digital Government

July 13, 2017

Governments worldwide still heavily depend on legacy technology. In fact, approximately three-quarters of all IT related budgets are spent on keeping legacy technology running. Besides the huge spending, many skilled legacy code programmers are nearing their retirement age. Valuable knowledge is walking out the door and few new programmers can be found. Meanwhile, Government agencies struggle to innovate and keep up with the increasing citizen demand. Things must change. The need for Digital Government is pressing.

A Gartner global survey of government sector CIOs found that 13 per cent of the technology budgets of public sector entities will go towards legacy modernization this year.

“Governments need to pay down technical debt by accelerating modernization initiatives to allow them to explore alternative sourcing options and to focus on innovation and meeting citizen expectations. Application rationalization is part of this, so the Government’s commitment in the budget to platform consolidation and a shared services model should help accelerate the transition to digital government for many of the smaller agencies,” Dean Lacheca, Gartner’s public sector research director, told CIO Australia.

Although Government has set aside funding for legacy ICT modernization, all change is challenging, specifically when resources are tight and risk is high. Old legacy systems need to be transformed, existing data needs to be preserved while integration between separate agencies and citizen access to public services need to be improved. Safe federated data exchange platforms reduce the need for citizens to enter similar information to multiple agencies.  In addition, enhanced data analytics enables Governments to design better targeted and more effective public services, e.g. in education, social services, and health care.

These point-to-point data exchanges between several government agencies require flexible and secure integrations which cannot be accomplished with legacy systems. When considering a modernization there are several options to choose from like rewrites, standard off the shelf packages, lift & shift and Legacy Transformation. Check the video.

On top of that is the security issue. Cyber attacks are the order of the day and civilian security is at stake. While Cloud computing offers maximum flexibility and agility at lower cost, it is a challenge to achieve compliance. Therefore, Microsoft has developed Azure for Government, a sophisticated Cloud solution that has the most certifications to simplify critical government compliance requirements.

Successful Government Legacy Transformations

At City of Columbus the migration of the Criminal History mainframe system to a Windows platform resulted in faster access to crucial criminal information databases for police officers and their law enforcement partners. Check the case study.

Right after the migration, Swedish Transport Agency was able to reduce batch time for an end of year batch from 7 hours to just 22 minutes. Due to the higher performance of the system the number of operational issues was reduced instantly as well. Check the case study.

At the Treasury Office of Allegheny County, the migration of their Fund Accounting and Investment (FAI) legacy system to a Microsoft Windows based platform enabled them to more quickly receive and reimburse funds and to rapidly update the FAI system due to changes in tax law and regulations. Check the case study.

 

 

Save cost, gain agility

February 8, 2017

Asysco's Migration Technology allows organization to save cost while gaining agility.

On average, a company spends between 60% and 80% of the IT budget on maintaining existing systems instead of on new developments. Half of these costs are related to the time and resources spent on the research and adaptation of legacy systems. However, technology evolves faster than ever. Organizations that are able to adapt to this new technology paradigm quickly are more successful than companies that are held back by their inflexible and expensive legacy systems. If legacy systems are a bottleneck for innovation, legacy transformation is the answer!
Click below to read more…

No place for legacy systems in Insurtech

January 11, 2017

The insurance landscape has changed drastically over the last few years. As Insurance thought leader Matteo Carbone states in his article: ‘The future of insurance is insurtech‘, the insurance sector has entered a phase of profound transformation. According to Carbone: “The amplitude of the digital transformation happening in the insurance industry is widespread and encompasses all of the phases of the insurance value chain, from underwriting to claims.” This requires a complete shift of IT processes and technologies that most established insurance companies still run their business on.

Carbone has developed a classification framework called Connected Insurance which represents a new paradigm for the insurance business, an approach that fits with the mainstream Gen C, where “C” means connectivity.

The question is how to enter this new paradigm when burdened with legacy systems, while competition is fierce and new insurtech companies are entering the market quickly.

When asking Carbone, he replied that he basically sees two possible scenarios for established insurers with legacy systems: they either cooperate with start-ups or they purchase new systems and migrate their applications. Either way, there’s no place for legacy systems in today’s insurtech landscape.

These legacy systems, however, contain a business value. Many of the more or less standard packages have long been migrated to off the shelve applications. What’s left are business-critical, in house developed applications. On the one hand, they are the heart of the business but on the other hand, they are a bottleneck for innovation. Inflexible, high maintenance and difficult to integrate with modern technologies. It seems like a daunting prospect.

What if there was an automated way to transform these applications while keeping their business value, in a way that does not interfere with business and has little to no impact on users? Sounds too good to be true? Check out a real customer experience at OTP Banka Croatia.

Apply for a free assessment or contact us for more information.

 

Asysco raises awareness for the legacy challenge at DIA Barcelona

July 13, 2016

Legacy systems like mainframes, still power the core administrations of many insurance companies. These systems are expensive, inflexible and difficult to integrate with. They negatively impact your ability to innovate and to gain competitive advantage.

Competitive advantage is tightly linked to an organizations’ ability to respond quickly to market changes and customer demands. Innovation is key. Every euro spent on these legacy systems is a euro lost on innovation. The only alternative seems to be to replace the legacy system with a commercial insurance package but that’s not a simple undertaking: implementation takes a lot of time, it usually requires you to adapt your business process and is costly.

Innovation for the finance and insurance industry

Asysco has helped many insurance companies, such as Aegon, Aviva, American Public Life, Cosvi and others to move their core systems to modern technologies in as much as 9 months to 1 year. Once in the new environment, these companies have been able to selectively replace and integrate (parts of) the system in a matter of months allowing much faster innovation with new trends such as mobile, cloud, self-service, business intelligence, data mining and so on.
Legacy is no longer an inhibitor but an asset waiting to be leveraged for business success. Innovation happens much faster than through any other approach and with manageable risk and clear ROI. Imagine all the things you are currently unable to do with the old technologies: real time insight and knowledge, fast and flexible changes, easy and straight through integration with all the solutions presented at DIA Barcelona.

Why was Asysco selected for DIA Barcelona?

Asysco has a long and proven track record in mainframe migration and legacy transformation. Over the years they have completed over 70 migration projects with a 100% success rate. They have never failed a single project. Their Asysco Migration Technology (AMT) and methodology is unique in the market. The key to success is Asysco’s proven automated migration of the entire legacy ecosystem: code, data, batch, scheduling, operations management, security, etc.  are all automatically converted to open systems equivalents delivering a target environment that delivers same or better quality of service (availability, scalability, resilience, manageability, security, …). This combined with their extensive experience and large number of references in the insurance industry makes Asysco a valuable speaker at DIA.

Interview on main stage

Asysco speakers Bernd Sakulski and Suzanne Glorie were interviewed by DIA Asociate and co-founder Conny Dorrestijn who has a long track record in marketing and business development roles in the international financial technology industry.

Click here to see the video 

The future of COBOL

October 21, 2015

Action time! When developing your future plans, it is a good idea to take a close look at your current COBOL applications and consider the following:

Today COBOL has an outdated image issue and is often no longer the strategic language on which the business builds new applications.

COBOL, as a procedural language, is not perceived to be as agile as object-oriented languages for modern programming needs such as mobile apps and the web. There are alternatives.
But, COBOL applications still represent the “foundation” of many businesses. So what should you do with these business critical applications?

Is there a role for COBOL off the mainframe?

COBOL and the mainframe run well together, and that’s where it will probably stay for very large applications. But what to do with the majority of your COBOL applications that can be moved off the Mainframe?

Upcoming retirement of COBOL programmers creates skills gap

Board members often do not see the immediate urgency. Only when their COBOL programmers are about to retire they’ll get nervous. At that moment it is too late to transfer the business knowledge, the deep understanding of the business rules, business logic embedded within the COBOL programs, creating a massive skills gap.

Despite the availability of state-of-the-art COBOL development environments and the effort of education institutes, the young generation is not interested in COBOL. It is just a fact that organizations should be aware of.

What to do NOW?

Before it is too late to transfer your business knowledge to the next generation, you should take action NOW and start looking for a solution that fits your organization.

What are the COBOL alternatives?

There are many alternatives, like: Re-writing, Re-hosting, Re-placing by a standard commercial packages or a standard migration. The issue is that all of these solutions never fit 100% of your business demands, are too expensive or take too much time to implement.

But on the other hand, doing nothing is not an alternative. It will only make your situation more complex will put your business at risk!

Why not have the best of both worlds?

A new unique migration solution has been developed that offers you the possibility to continue to develop in COBOL and simultaneously generate 100% C#/.Net. This way you will maximize the value of your COBOL developers and involve and transfer your unique business knowledge to the new generation developers at the same time.

Maximize your competitive advantage

Reconsider your future IT situation now, instead of tomorrow….