Enterprising Developments

Are Insurers Ready for “Lean IT”?

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 5, 2011

“Lean” best practices—doing things faster, better and cheaper through continuous improvement and measurement—have been a staple of the manufacturing world for years, with impressive results for the companies that implemented them.

Now, it's interesting to see Lean principles advancing into the insurance space as well, in which operational efficiencies are applied to carrier's “manufacturing” operations—in this case, the technology.

A recent article describes how Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has gained process efficiencies in its IT operations. The company engaged Wipro, which built the Lean machine for Toyota Motor Co., to apply Lean to 17 projects, from application development, demand management, IT service desk, call handling and application maintenance.

The effort was first launched in late 2009, and Nationwide reports about $2 million return for its efforts already.

Mimi Chizever, VP for claims technology at the insurance company, is quoted as observing that the projects were turned around “three or four months,” and serve as good demonstrations of Lean capabilities for the rest of the company.

Speaking at at the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., Chizever says the ultimate focus of Lean is building work around customer needs.

"Lean does a great job of helping to identify that we're doing the right work with the right way with the right people."

Last year, I published “7 Steps to Lean IT,” reprinted here:

1) Focus on the customer and eliminate waste. “

2) Automate processes.

3) Continuously improve.

4) Empower the team.

5) Build quality in.

6) Plan for change.

7) Optimize the whole

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 (1)

nice article
===========
car insurance quote

Posted by: christina w | May 26, 2011 7:56 AM

Report this Comment

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

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of Enterprise BI

When IT can't deliver, business users build their own applications focusing on agility, flexibility and reaction times.

The IT-Savvy 10%

IBM survey reveals best practices of IT leaders.

The Software-Defined Health Insurer: Radical But Realistic?

Can a tech startup digitally assemble the pieces of a comprehensive, employer-provided health plan?

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.