Enterprising Developments

Nationwide's Secret for Shared Services

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, October 27, 2010

Yes, there is a light at the end of the silo.

At Teradata's annual Partners conference this week, Christine John, systems engineer and Leon Dailey, infrastructure leader with Nationwide Insurance, explained how they were able to build out a shared services infrastructure across the enterprise, and enable five different business lines to tap into common data services supported by a data warehouse.

The initiative came about in 2006, following a spate of claims arising from a stormy year among many policyholders, in which management recognized a need to streamline and optimize its data reporting, John said. The company's P&C, loan, specialized insurance, financial services and consulting previously ran their own operational applications and data, including financials, HR and CRM.

The shared services initiative brought together these functional areas into a single enterprise realm. “Shared services takes the vertical and makes it horizontal,” said John. Additionally, she said her unit provides support for the underlying technical components of the shared services, including tactical operations, including meeting service level agreements, and partnering with networking, backup and data management specialists to address issues that come up.

One of the most popular interfaces among internal business clients, John says, is a “heat map” her unit provides that shows spikes in activities across a given month. The infrastructure is now supported by two development, two test and two production systems, Dailey says.

Getting five different business organizations to come together and agree to a shared services infrastructure is not without its challenges, of course. Aligning and syncing development and resources meant considerable collaboration and communication between these businesses. “Just because you've completed your task on time, you still may end up waiting for another team to complete their task,” John says.

Kudos to the presenters for what was a highly engaging session as well. Knowing it was an end-of-the-day session, they charged things up by presenting in Ohio State University (where else, right?) football jerseys, and throwing out random trivia questions to the audience. Winners had a complimentary Nationwide foam football tossed their way. Yes, they love their football in Ohio.

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

Big Data Is Paying Off

Insurers are getting business benefit out of their big data projects, but these projects alone won't grow their business.

What Can Insurers Learn from Home Depot?

The latest cyber-attack highlights the importance of helping policy holders defend themselves.

Not Your Father’s Insurance Company

Carriers need to look at new and impactful ways to be there for their customers.

How to Attract Top Tech Talent

When it comes to rankings of the best places to work, insurers are few and far between. Here’s what those who make the lists do to appeal to IT professionals.

Watch Out. Apple with Mayo is Heading Your Way

From a health care, health insurance and Internet-of-things perspective, questions still remain.

New Generation of Data and Analytics in Cloud

Cloud-based data and analytics products are becoming more common among technology companies, small and midsize businesses and departments.