Enterprising Developments

Why Enterprise Architecture Matters

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, February 13, 2012

What can enterprise architecture do for today's insurance operations?

The Open Group, an advocacy and learning organization for enterprise architects, just wrapped up one of its annual confabs in San Francisco, and in this era in which companies are leaning heavily on IT to deliver competitive advantage, enterprise architects form the bridge between business and IT. Actually, up until a few years ago, most organizations did not have enterprise architects.

Open Group executives say enterprise architecture will be front and center this year. Kevin Daley of IBM and vice-chair of The Open Group Business Forum, says EA will guide efforts to bring together the cloud, consumer IT, the Internet of Things, Big Data and the ERP resurgence. “Cloud will help increase the speed of development and change,” says Daley. “The business architect will be called upon to ensure the strategic relevancy of transformation in a repeatable fashion as cycle times and rollouts happen faster.” As for consumer IT trends such as social networking and mobile computing, “the business architect will help develop new strategies as organizations strive for new markets and broader demographic reach.”

There will also be less reliance on core IT services, Open Group predicts. This will bring an increased expectation of “I’ll buy the services, you show me know to knit them in” as the prevalent user approach to IT, observes Dave Lounsbury, CTO. This will require “increased attention to use of standards conformance.” IT departments will change from being “the only service providers within organizations to being a guiding force when it comes to core business processes, with IT budgets being impacted.”

EA best practices are already a part of some leading insurance organizations. Madeline Weiss, director of the Advanced Practices Council, a research-based forum for senior IT executives sponsored by the Society for Information Management (SIM), recently published details about the enterprise architecture initiative at Chubb Insurance.

“Chubb’s 10-year journey towards comprehensive EA that enables the firm to move confidently into a world of rapidly changing markets and technologies is not completed,” Weiss relates. “But it serves as an excellent example of the benefits of investing in EA, especially in a federated organization with multiple lines of business accustomed to operating independently.”

Patrick Sullivan, Chubb’s chief architect, points out that Chubb's EA “mirrors its federated business structure.” Chubb's EA strategy is based on a technology rationalization road map, “which provides a long range view of the technology portfolio to reduce redundant, obsolete or deficient technologies, and targets emerging technologies in a consistent manner.” In addition the company's EA includes an application rationalization roadmap and project portfolio analysis.

Chubb has seen some impressive benefits as a result of its EA efforts, including “opportunities to share common tools and processes across lines of business, thereby reducing costs.” In one example, EA saved Chubb $600,000 in 2010 by redistributing unused site licenses for software, says Sullivan. Even more importantly, Chubb now has an investment roadmap that provides transparency into IT decisions across the company.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

Driverless Cars: Unintended Consequences for Insurers to Watch

When bad or unexpected or unusual things happen, the computer gives up control and hands it back to the now woefully unprepared occupant.

Why Insurers are Leading on Data and Analytics

A State Street survey finds insurance companies are more likely to be further along in becoming “data innovators” than their financial services counterparts.

The Other Auto Insurance Telematics Shoe Drops

Progressive's decision to charge Snapshot drivers more if their driving data indicates higher risk has started the industry down a road of data-driven adverse selection.

Core Transformation – Configuring in the Rain

The whole point of core transformation is that changes at the micro level can be used as a stimulus for changes at the macro level.

6 Ways to Develop a Productive IT-Business Dialog

Relationship management 101 for keeping IT and business on the same page.

Unified Digital Strategy: Succeeding in the Digital Revolution

A unified digital strategy recognizes that all business strategies and technologies touch the customer in some way and that a one-size-fits-all channel model is obsolete.